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Mattel's new gender-neutral dolls can be a boy, girl, both or neither

CNET logo CNET 9/26/2019 Bonnie Burton
a group of people posing for the camera: Mattel's new Creatable World dolls are for kids who refuse to be identified by specific gender. Mattel © Provided by CBS Interactive Inc. Mattel's new Creatable World dolls are for kids who refuse to be identified by specific gender. Mattel

Mattel's best-selling Barbie has defined beauty to generations of little girls, and in some cases become a symbol of unrealistic beauty standards

Even though Mattel has updated Barbie with STEM-inspired career choices and different body types, one thing Barbie has never been is gender neutral. 

Now Mattel is aiming to be more inclusive with a new line of gender-neutral dolls introduced Wednesday. They're geared toward kids who identify as gender fluid -- meaning they don't identify as having a fixed gender like male or female. 

The gender-neutral dolls in Mattel's new Creatable World toy line let kids accessorize the toy to be a boy, a girl, both or neither. The six dolls have different skin colors, hairstyles and clothing to celebrate "the positive impact of inclusivity." 

a woman wearing a yellow and black hair: Mattel's new Creatable World dolls are for kids who refuse to be identified by specific gender. © Mattel

Mattel's new Creatable World dolls are for kids who refuse to be identified by specific gender.

Each customizable doll comes with long- and short-hair wigs, skirts, pants, shirts, jackets, hats and various shoes and retails for about $30 (roughly £24, AU$44). 

The doll line is "designed to keep labels out and invite everyone in -- giving kids the freedom to create their own customizable characters again and again," the Mattel website says.

Kids can mix and match wigs, clothes and accessories to create a gender-fluid look that best represents them. Mattel © Provided by CBS Interactive Inc. Kids can mix and match wigs, clothes and accessories to create a gender-fluid look that best represents them. Mattel

Mattel worked with experts in gender identity and spoke to 250 families with children of all gender identities to research what kind of dolls to make, according to The New York Times. Mattel didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

Creatable World dolls may be the first gender-neutral dolls sold by a major manufacturer like Mattel, but another smaller company called Tonner Doll Company introduced its doll based on transgender teen Jazz Jennings in 2017. Jennings is an author and star of a reality show about her life on TLC. 

Barbie's careers though the years

a person wearing a hat and sunglasses: Barbie came into the world rocking a stripped bathing suit and looking fabulous. But alas, to keep up this lifestyle she needed to join the working world.

Barbie came into the world rocking a stripped bathing suit and looking fabulous. But alas, to keep up this lifestyle she needed to join the working world.
© Provided by CBS Interactive Inc.
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