Mattel, the creator of Barbie, launched brand-new Creatable World dolls that can have short or long hair and wear skirts or pants to put gender stereotypes to rest.

By Jessica Hartshorn
September 25, 2019
Courtesy Mattel

In the year that Billy Porter showed us how gorgeous a man in a ballgown can be, we’re ready for dolls that shatter the myth that sex must dictate what anyone wears. Mattel, the maker of Barbie, launched Creatable World today, a line of six dolls whose hairstyles and clothing don’t have to be based on gender norms. Kids can style each doll with long or short hair, a skirt or pants, and accessories like shades and shoes.

While adults seeing a doll might be tempted to ask, “Is that a boy or a girl?” that question is increasingly irrelevant for children. Yes, they might imagine a doll to be male or female, but they could also want the doll to be non-binary, and what's the difference?

Children have total freedom to style each Creatable World doll in any way they choose using wigs and clothing, and then, of course, can endlessly change things up. It reflects the real world, where classmates try different styles of self-expression before settling on what feels most right to them.

“These kids are going to be amazing when they grow up,” says Monica Dreger, Vice President, Global Consumer Insights for Mattel. “I feel more confident and optimistic that they’re going to teach the older generation to be more inclusive, to be more understanding, to not be so confined in their labels.”

“Kids do not want to be dictated to,” says Kim Culmone, Senior Vice President of Mattel Fashion Doll Design, who worked with physicians, parents and children while creating the line. Creatable World won’t be marketed to girls or boys but rather will be targeted to all children in an effort to invite more people to the play table, so to speak. While the dolls are somewhat similar to Barbie in height, they have a tween-type body rather than Barbie’s curves or Ken’s broad shoulders.

Each doll kit, for ages 6 years+, is $30 and includes one doll, two hair options, and some half-dozen clothing pieces plus accessories. Creatable World is out now at Target, Walmart and Amazon and creatableworld.com.

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