Barbie manufacturer Mattel launches 'gender-inclusive' toy line
Barbie manufacturer Mattel has launched a new line of dolls that are "gender-inclusive" and "free of labels".
The Creatable World doll kits come with clothing options, accessories and wigs. Mattel says they have been designed to allow children to style them with short or long hair, and in a skirt, trousers, or both.
The manufacturers worked alongside a "dedicated team of experts, parents, physicians and, most importantly, kids" to create the six different kits in a variety of skin tones.
Each kit includes one doll, two hairstyle options and "endless styling possibilities".
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Designers hope the toys will help down gender barriers when it comes to play.
Kim Culmone, senior vice president of Mattel's doll design, said: "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.
"Through research, we heard that kids don't want their toys dictated by gender norms. This line allows all kids to express themselves freely which is why it resonates so strongly with them.
"We're hopeful Creatable World will encourage people to think more broadly about how all kids can benefit from doll play."
The doll kits come at a recommended retail price of £34.99 and can be purchased at major retailers online including Amazon, Smyths, Argos and Very.
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Barbie dolls have faced criticism in the past for a lack of inclusive body types, so many parents will be pleased with Mattel’s latest unveiling.
Back in June the American toy brand launched a black Barbie with natural hair who uses a wheelchair.
The brand has also released a hijab-wearing Barbie, as well dolls who reflect a variety of body types.
Last year, to celebrate International Women’s Day, Barbie honoured accomplished female role models with their very own dolls.
From British boxing champion Nicola Adams to US film-maker Patty Jenkins and prima ballerina Yuan Yuan Tan, the dolls were all inspired by brilliant women from diverse backgrounds and careers.
It has not avoided controversy however. Earlier this month, Mattel was accused of “cultural appropriation” after releasing a Day of the Dead Barbie doll complete with a flowery dress and a skull pattern painted on her face.
The doll proved hugely popular and quickly sold out, but some Twitter users called the doll “a bad joke” and “cultural appropriation at its worst”, criticising Mattel for profiting from the Mexican festival.