Step aside, Barbie. Mattel is launching its first line of gender-neutral dolls.

via Mattel

As the world slowly becomes more inclusive about gender expression, so is the toy aisle.

Last year, Mattel, the creators of the ultimate gendered toy, Barbie, did away with "boys" and "girls" toy divisions in favor of non-gendered sections such as "dolls" or "cars."

Target has also been moving away from gendered toy aisles. Last year, it announced it would phase out gender-based signage from a number of departments, including toys.

While it may appear as though manufacturers and big-box retailers taking a progressive stance, their choices are in total alignment with the market. Millennial parents have a growing interest in purchasing toys and clothing for their children that are gender-neutral.

RELATED: Mattel adds two Barbies with disabilities to its new line of dolls


via Target Corporate

"As millennial parents start families of their own, we see them reconsidering some of the more traditional elements of parenting," said Dana Macke, associate director of lifestyles and leisure at Mintel, told Market Watch. "As such, brands are trying to bridge this divide by developing toys that meet both kids' and parents' gender expectations," Macke continued.

Mattel has responded to this change in cultural and market norms by launching the Creatable World series of gender-less dolls.

via Mattel


via Mattel


via Mattel

The dolls, which cost $29.99, don't have broad shoulders like Ken or breasts like Barbie. Creatable World dolls can be played with as a boy, a girl, or neither. They're slim with androgynous faces and short hair and can be fitted with wigs and a wardrobe consisting of sneakers, graphic tees, hoodies, tutus, or camouflage pants.

RELATED: Barbie's awesome new career is a welcomed sign of the times

"Toys are a reflection of culture and as the world continues to celebrate the positive impact of inclusivity, we felt it was time to create a doll line free of labels," Kim Culmone, senior vice president of Mattel Fashion Doll Design, said in a press release.

Mattel's president Richard Dickson insists the Createable World dolls aren't a political statement.

"We're not in the business of politics, and we respect the decision any parent makes around how they raise their kids. Our job is to stimulate imaginations. Our toys are ultimately canvases for cultural conversation, but it's your conversation, not ours; your opinion, not ours," he told Time.

Creatable Dolls are a welcome addition to the toy aisle because they give children what we all need: more choice and freedom.

Children growing up today are at a wonderful advantage over older generations because they have greater freedom to express themselves however they choose and to feel comfortable and safe doing so. Mattel's new dolls give them one more way to express themselves and to better relate to those who are different.

popular

There's nothing like a good reunion story to get you misty in the ol' tear ducts. Kate Howard, the managing editor of Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting, shared a story of randomly running into the dog she used to foster on Twitter. You know all those dog reunion movies? The ones with names like A Dog's Hope and A Dog's Sloppy Kiss? The ones that make you cry buckets no matter how hard you think your heart is? Well, this is that, but in real life.

Keep Reading Show less
popular

The great thing about American democracy is the separation of powers. The federal government has rights, states have rights, counties have rights, cities have rights, and we, as people, have rights, too.

Heck, even animals have some rights in the good ol' U S of A.

The president of the United States is not a king or a dictator so a team of U.S. mayors, led by Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, are asking to go over his head to negotiate directly at next month's UN climate change conference in Santiago, Chile.

Keep Reading Show less
popular
Instagram / James Van Der Beek

About one in five pregnancies end in miscarriage, although it is believed the number might be higher because many miscarriages occur before the woman knows she is pregnant. Miscarriage is actually quite common, yet many people who've had one feel alone, partly because there's still a taboo around talking about it. In order to reduce the stigma surrounding the loss, James Van Der Beek opened up about the struggles him and his wife, Kimberly, experienced.

The Van Der Beeks, who have been married since 2010, have five children and one on the way. In a pre-taped segment on "Dancing with the Stars," Van Der Beek announced that his family will be welcoming a new baby. But the segment gave us a more personal look as Van Der Beek revealed they've experienced three miscarriages as well. "We've had five kids and three miscarriages," Van Der Beek told his dance partner, Emma Slater. "Miscarriage is something that people don't really talk about, and we wanted to recognize that it happens to people. We wanted to destigmatize that as much as we possibly could."

Keep Reading Show less
popular
Courtesy of Capital One

It was around Christmas 2018 and Jean Simpkins, 79, was looking out the window of her new three-bedroom apartment. Eleven floors above Washington, D.C., the grandmother of two gazed out at the lights of the city and became overwhelmed with gratitude. "The only thing I could say," Simpkins remembers, "was 'Thank you, Father.'"

Almost a year later, Simpkins still can't help but look at the apartment as a miracle — one she desperately needed. Fifteen years ago, when her grandson was born, she became his primary caregiver. Six years later, when her granddaughter was four, Simpkins was awarded full custody of her, too. She's spent the time since trying to give her grandchildren the life she knows they deserve, which has been difficult on a fixed income. On top of that, Simpkins worried that the neighborhood the family resided in wasn't the best influence on her kids. Something had to change.

Then she learned about Plaza West, a new development created by Mission First housing that would reserve 50 of its apartments specifically for families in which a grandparent or other older adult was raising children who were related to them. The waiting list, Simpkins says, was daunting. There are a great deal of grandfamilies in the D.C. area and she was sure it might be years before she got the call. But soon after applying, she was offered a choice between a two-bedroom and a three-bedroom apartment. She accepted the latter, sight unseen. She knew that each of her grandchildren needed space of their own.

Keep Reading Show less
Future Edge
True
Capital One