Creatable World

Mattel’s Answer to Gender Issue


Amanya Gonzales, Writer

Imagine a perfect toy for everyone—one that doesn’t have a limit as to who uses it. Mattel believes it has the answer: the Creatable World doll.

Known for its creation of the famous Barbie doll that has made millions of children happy all over the world for decades, Mattel now believes that this doll is too limited. Thus, it has recently launched a new doll that is genderless. Makers hope that this doll will appeal everyone and allow the player to use his or her imagination more freely.

The doll itself is androgynous—neither too masculine nor too feminine. It has the ability to be changed from a boy to a girl or to neither and is described as “the world’s first gender neutral doll.” The toy is marketed with this slogan: “A doll line designed to keep labels out and invite everyone in.” Mattel is striving to help eliminate those gender-bound aisles in many toy stores and capture a wider market.

By all indications, the dolls are primarily targeted towards the LGBTQ community, as there isn’t a doll targeted for children who identify as non-binary. According to reports, many parents who identify as non-binary believe that a doll like this will encourage their children and others who identify as non-binary to find acceptance through this doll.

The verdict is yet to come in. What is known, however, is that Mattel has had its fair share of difficulty resuscitating life into the dying Barbie brand. Consumers complained that Barbie was not very diverse and did not accurately portray today’s modern woman. Many buyers continue to voice their concern that Barbie is two dimensional and boxes girls in both in occupation and in size. Mattel combated this by releasing a series of dolls over the years that came in all shapes and sizes: body, skin tone, and even ethnic background. Their occupations, too, were as varied as Sea World trainer and paleontologist to game developer and computer engineer. However, the one avenue that they hope will resurrect Barbie is this non-binary version.

Not all are on board, though, with this marketing strategy. Sergio Yanez, 12, is among them. “The idea of the doll is good,” Yanez explains, “but the execution isn’t.” Though the doll is receiving mixed reviews, the amount of conversation it is receiving may keep this doll in the public eye long enough to catch on.

Could this Creatable World doll be Mattel’s new money maker? Or, will this create an end to Barbie’s world forever?