Propaganda directed at children? Toy company giant launches a gender neutral doll
One of the world's biggest toy companies has launched a gender"inclusive" doll. Mattel its producer, says the Creatable World Doll is designed to have a short or a long hairstyle and can be dressed in a skirt or trousers— or both. The creation of this new toy, however, prompts probing questions. How politically correct is this concept? Are "inclusive" toys something that our children really need? More importantly, are we experiencing a clash of values even in the toy industry?
One of the world’s biggest toy companies has launched a ‘gender-inclusive’ doll. Mattel Fashion Doll Design says the ‘Creatable World’ doll can be customised to be either a boy or a girl and can be dressed in a skirt or trousers. Indeed, the child can even leave the doll’s gender undefined.
They say the dolls represent anyone outside of the traditional genders of male and female and allow children to create characters with whatever gender variant they most identify with.
Kim Culmone of Mattel, states: “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.” He also claims that through research, “we heard that kids don’t want their toys dictated by gender norms.” Culmone forgets, however, to give specifics about the research and the data that has been collected.
Jeff Ingold, Head of Media Engagement at Stonewall, a leading LGBT charity, says: “Toy companies and shops have been criticised for making toys that are gender-specific or that reinforce gender stereotypes” and thinks that “taking action to create toys that help young people challenge gender stereotypes is a welcome step towards building a more inclusive society.”
It would be interesting to see how many parents have criticised shops or companies for toys that “reinforce gender stereotypes” compared to the still vast majority of parents who are happy to see the traditional “gender-based” dolls in the hands of their children.
Ingold added: “We know how damaging gender stereotypes can be to the way young people, particularly LGBT young people, see themselves and this can prevent them from reaching their full potential as they grow up.”
Mattel says the new dolls have been designed by parents, children and a team of experts.
In the terminology of current liberal vocabulary “gender-inclusive” means accepting everyone, regardless of their identity or how they express their gender. It’s being open to everybody, and speaking and writing in a way that doesn’t discriminate against anyone because of how they view themselves compared to their original biological gender.