Editorial for Portfolio – Valcom

Are Gender-Neutral Dolls Causing Controversy?

Mattel, the company behind the world pronounced Barbie and Ken doll is moving its toy line to be more inclusive with a rapidly changing world by announcing a gender-neutral line of dolls, as it must. The Mattel company, is one of the many companies leading a change in the labeling of toys and products, as Target and Disney have removed “for boys,” and “for girls” tags and replaced it with “for kids.” So, with so many companies changing labels, what is the controversy behind it all?

Mattel claims after 18 months or research and many designs, these toys represent what the new era of children would want. A way for boys to not be stereotyped into playing with cars and girls being told to play with dolls. However, the fight for gender-neutral toys is not a new thing, as approximately eight years a petition was created to make LEGO an all gender toy as many claimed it was marketed towards boys with masculine sets and colors.

Many companies do not want to dive into their political stance for toys and equality, but say the reasoning behind it is to promote positive play. Mattel is not the first toy manufacturer to introduce this type of toy. Three years ago, Tonner Doll Company also introduced a gender neutral doll set. The people of America saw this as a positive move in toy manufacturing industry.

However in the most recent presidential election, the withdraw of support from the Trump Administration has not helped clear the situation for support behind all of the new toys. Reversing laws once created by the Obama administration to protect transgenders and laws stating how they can publicly use restrooms has caused more trouble within many states. But many toy companies, despite lack of support from the Trump Administration, have continued to proactively move away from gender based tags and toys.

Doing so families question whether or not having toys as this such would bring up the situation that parents would need to talk to their kids about what the meaning is. But toy companies and most Americans see it as a step towards preventing these types of talks from happening.

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