As individuals have more options of where to shop and what to support, increasingly, they are looking to purchase from brands they feel reflect who they are and the values they support. And companies are taking notice. Now, more brands are creating product and service options that answer to consumer demands and mirror the society we live in – including eschewing traditional gender definitions. Case in point: the company behind Barbie – one of the most iconic, and gendered, toys in recent history – is breaking gender barriers in the name of inclusivity.
Recently, toy giant Mattel launched what it calls the world’s first line of gender-neutral dolls. The doll can be presented as a boy, a girl or gender non-conforming and includes clothing items that let children embrace different gender expressions. The dolls, part of the Creatable World line, encompasses the slogan, “A doll line designed to keep labels out and invite everyone in.” Mattel is banking that the line is more reflective of society’s changing norms – and before launch, went through testing with 250 families across seven states. The move also ladders up to other recent decisions by the brand, including eliminating “boys” and “girls” toy divisions. To explain the shift, Kim Culmone, senior vice president of Mattel Fashion Doll Design, explains, “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.”
With our latest research revealing nearly three-quarters (72%) of Americans say they feel it is more important than ever that the companies they buy from reflect their values, the mandate for companies is clear. Today more than ever before, consumers are asking companies to create products and services that not only better reflect the world we live in, but also embrace inclusivity more fully. Mattel is taking one step forward on this path, providing a vehicle for kids to imagine and express their own identities.