Gender-neutral Dolls Are The Future For An Accepting Society


Bruna Vila Artigues, Assistant News Editor

When I was around four years old, my mum knitted a blue and yellow dress for me. The day she told me to put it on I threw a temper tantrum and hid behind a mirror refusing to wear it out. I also remember my parents “leaving without” me, as a mind game for me to give up. I did eventually, but definitely not with a smile on.

I guess I could say that I have been defying gender roles since a very young age. I hated dresses, skirts and jeans. I used to wear sporty clothes three times the size needed and carried a basketball with me at all times.

Maybe that is why I never bothered paying the Barbie doll someone gave me any mind.

Barbies. One of the most and iconic, well-known and profitable dolls’ ever made. Everybody has a clear picture of what the classic Mattel toy look likes: beautiful, Caucasian, thin well-dressed dolls with long blonde hair.

The “stereotype” of a Barbie has changed over time, adding new skin tones, haircuts, clothes options and roles, such as a registered nurse in 1961, a game developer in 2016, or one with a wheelchair in 2019. However, these dolls have been the subject of multiple controversies because of the bad impacts they can have on body image and diversity.

With “more than 100 dolls sold every minute [and] a total of 58 million sold annually,” as the official Barbie site states, they are for sure a big influence to kids around the world.

Children, especially girls, look up to these renowned dolls and compare themselves to them. The thoughts of ‘why isn’t my hair blonde and straight?’ or  ‘why isn’t my waist smaller?’ Even ‘why isn’t my skin color like hers?’

If young females are constantly bombarded with the same body types, faces and roles, they might end up thinking that this is the way they should look like and become.

My younger self-portrait was never a style for Barbie dolls. Did that mean I wasn’t acting appropriately as a girl? Wrong!

Finally, 60 years after the first Barbie doll was created, Mattel has brought to life the world’s first gender-neutral doll kit called “Creatable World.”

These dolls have a gender-neutral appearance. That is each one comes with two different wigs (long or short hair), as well as pants, skirts or both. They are available in different skin tones and hair lengths, reflecting and exemplifying the actual diverse world we live in.

Society is evolving. Nowadays, there is more than “females” and “males” in the world. In today’s culture, females are not the only ones wearing skirts and males are not the only ones wearing short hair; young girls play with cars and young boys play with dolls.

Companies need to keep up with society’s changes and reflect these in their products. No one should be excluded, and this is a message that should is very important to share at a young age.

Gender-neutral dolls are a big step towards accepting people no matter what they look like, helping society evolve from traditional stereotypes and put aside judgement and discrimination.

I hated dresses, dolls and makeup, but that did not make me less of a woman. It made me real.