Culture

Barbie Introduces Gender-Inclusive Line Of Dolls And Stan Twitter Is Here For It

We’ve all heard something or another about how Gen Z is changing the world. And one of the generation’s biggest fights is for a non-binary future. They’re leading the change in the way we think about gender. Young people are creating new vocabularies and taxonomies, and older generations are playing catch-up. 

Mattel, a 74 year old company is trying to stay up to date. The maker of hyper-feminine Barbie doll, has announced the launch of ‘Creatable World’ the first series of gender-fluid dolls. These toys differ from the classic gendered Barbie and Ken, in subtle yet significant ways. Children of any gender identification are welcome to play with them. The slogan reads, “A doll line designed to keep labels out and invite everyone in”, a clear nod to trans and nonbinary identities, the company is betting on where it thinks the country is going.

All ‘Creatable World’ dolls look like a 7 year old with short hair, and each comes with a wig to switch up the look.

The doll can be either a boy, a girl, neither or both. Carefully designed, the gender-neutral doll has features that betray no gender. The eyelashes are not too long or fluttery, the jaw not too wide. It doesn’t have Barbie-like breasts or Ken-like broad shoulders. All of the ‘Creatable World’ series dolls look like a 7 year old with short hair, and each comes with a wig of long locks and a wardrobe fit for any fashion-conscious kid; hoodies, sneakers, t-shirts and tutus and camo pants. 

Kids don’t want their toys dictated by gender norms, Mattel wants kids to express themselves freely.

“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,” Mattel said in a statement. “Through research, we heard that kids don’t want their toys dictated by gender norms. This line allows all kids to express themselves freely.”

Younger generations are challenging the constraints and traditional meanings of gender and toy companies are actively repackaging their products to align with the shift in representation, inclusion and diversity that Gen-Z children are largely responsible for. 

Toy companies are trying, sometimes too hard: Hasbro and Mattel have been accused of attempting to profit off culture wars.

For years, consumers have pushed back against “pink aisles” and “blue aisles”, in the name of exposing children to whichever toy they may like regardless of their gender-identification; like girls playing with building blocks and boys with dolls. In 2015, Target eliminated gender specific sections, and Disney got rid of “girls” and “boys” labels from its children’s costumes, inviting anyone to dress as Captain America or a princess if they so choose to. Just this month, Hasbro released Ms Monopoly, where women players earn more than men. Mattel launched culturally diverse Barbies not long ago (Including “Día de los Muertos Barbie” which garnered them some accusations of cultural appropriation).

The response has not been completely positive. Hasbro and Mattel have been accused of attempting to profit off culture wars. 

The range of ‘Creatable Worlds’ has won the heart of some members or the LGBTQ community who are happy to see such inclusion.

Mattel’s gender neutral doll has won over some members of the LGBTQ community. “So many children and parents never saw themselves represented in toys and dolls, but this new line raises the bar for inclusion thanks to input from parents, physicians and children themselves,” the LGBT advocacy group Glaad wrote on Twitter.

The toy-makers however, have made it clear that they do not have a political stance; “We’re not in the business of politics,” Mattel’s president told Time Magazine, “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.”

Earlier this year Mattel made another attempt at inclusivity launching a black Barbie doll in a wheelchair as part of their ‘Fashionista’ range.

Mattel has been attempting to widen its scope on representation by creating more inclusive toys for a while. Earlier this year, the toy company announced the launch of a black Barbie doll, who wears her hair natural and uses a wheelchair, the launch sent the internet into a frenzy. 

The doll, which comes with a ramp so that she can access Barbie Dreamhouses, was received with much praise on Twitter. Users were loving everything, from her natural hairstyle to the design of the wheelchair, which is an everyday chair rather than those commonly used in hospitals.

Mattel will launch ‘Creatable World’ exclusively online for the time being, in part to better control the message.

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Mattel Debuts, and Quickly Sells Out Of, Maya Angelou Barbie Doll

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Mattel Debuts, and Quickly Sells Out Of, Maya Angelou Barbie Doll

Photo via Barbie/Instagram

Barbie lovers and Maya Angelou-devotees rejoice! Mattel recently debuted a truly iconic new collector’s doll: a Barbie® Inspiring Women™ Maya Angelou Doll.

The doll comes dressed in a colorful floral dress with matching headwrap. It also comes with a miniature version of the Angelou’s classic and highly lauded memoir, “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings”.

According to Mattel, the doll is part of the company’s efforts towards greater diversity and inclusion in their products–a commitment that they made in 2020 at the height of the Black Live’s Matter movement.

“Our efforts include a commitment to spotlight more Black role models who are female,” they wrote in a recent press release. “And now, we are introducing a doll that honors Dr. Maya Angelou, author and activist who used her voice and unique writing style to connect with people and inspire generations.”

According to Mattel, they plan on making 50% of their “Barbie Role Models” to be “Black, Indigenous and women of color.”

Maya Angelou’s son, Gary Johnson, said that he was “delighted” at the decision to craft a Barbie in his late mother’s likeness.

“My mother, Dr. Maya Angelou, was a pioneer and an activist with an invincible spirit for justice,” he said in a statement. “Through her words and actions, she developed a unique ability to create deep connections with people around the world. She used to say, ‘I write from the Black perspective, but I aim for the human heart.'”

This isn’t the first inspiring woman that Mattel has crafted into a collector’s doll.

You may remember, in 2018, the company created a very popular (and very controversial) Frida Kahlo doll. They’ve also created dolls honoring Rosa Parks, Florence Nightingale, and Sally Ride, among others.

Mattel explained what inspired them to create a Dr. Maya Angelou doll, as well as their myriad of other “Role Model Dolls”, saying “it’s important that all girls not only see themselves reflected in product and content, but to also see role models who’ve come before them.”

According to Mattel, their Inspiring Women™ series “pays tribute to incredible heroines of their time; courageous women who took risks, changed rules and paved the way for generations of girls to dream bigger than ever before.”

Based on the sales of the Maya Angelou doll, Mattel truly appears to be onto something.

According to their website, the Maya Angelou doll was so popular that it quickly sold out. In fact, there are a few disgruntled would-be-customers who are none too happy that they missed the opportunity to buy a mini Maya.

“It’s ridiculous that a doll released just a week ago is not available on your site but can be found in great supply in eBay for 3 times the price!” wrote one angry customer.

Well…you can’t win ’em all.

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Fans Think This Photo Of Barbie Is Proof She’s An Out And Proud Lesbian

Entertainment

Fans Think This Photo Of Barbie Is Proof She’s An Out And Proud Lesbian

The fact that the early days of Barbie were not quite so inclusive to all of us comes as no surprise. The blonde, impossibly figured doll with a penchant for similar-looking friends is a far cry away from the Barbie of today who has friends of all shapes, races, sizes, sexual identities, and abilities. Even better, today’s Barbie crew includes dolls who give queer children a broader playgound for their imagination.

Recently, Barbie has added a new addition to her friend group whose bringing more power to her LGTBQ fans.

Social media has dubbed the LGBTQ positive Aimee Song doll Barbie‘s girlfriend.

Twitter’s latest excitement is about a theory that Barbie and Aimee Song are dating. Photos of Mattel’s doll Aimee Song doll show her wearing a “Love Wins” T-shirt that supports LGBTQ+ rights. The Mattel doll was inspired by fashion blogger Aimee Song and recently caught renewed attention in a viral post shared to Twitter.

The “Love Wins” photos are only now going viral but were actually released in November 2017.

The photos of Barbie and the Aimee doll were shared to Twitter last Monday by user @kissevermore and now has Twitter debating whether the two are dating.

The pictures of Barbie and Aimee show the two dolls eating avocado toast. petting a dog, and smiling at each other. The images have fans questioning when Barbie came out and how she managed to nail a hot girlfriend before they did.

Even REAL Aimee Song weighed in on the images to confirm the relationship.

“I am the girlfriend,” she tweeted with a photo of herself and the Aimee Song doll. 

While Mattel has yet to officially identify Barbie as a lesbian, the original Instagram posts related to the Love Wins Barbies are proof that she is at least an ally.

Confirmed or not, true or not, one of the best parts of Barbie is that she is meant to be whoever her fans want her to be.

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