By Sarelle London —
First they toned down Barbie’s hyper femininity. Now Mattel has launched dolls that are “gender neutral.” That means, you can’t tell if it’s a boy or a girl.
Creatable World is a series of six dolls that have interchangeable hair, clothes that could be either for boys or girls, facial features and body types that are not readily recognizable as either masculine or feminine. The $30 doll, the toy maker says, can be male, female or neither. They are “non-binary.”
Bible-flouting political progressives are delighted, while Christians who adhere to the Bible’s account of the genetic separation of the sexes are dismayed that another potshot is being fired at vulnerable children.
Maybe Creatable World should be rebranded “Confusable World.” This is the latest salvo from “woke” culture, liberal progressives who are “aware” of current trends and sensitive to everyone’s feelings except God’s.
“There were a couple of gender-creative kids who told us that they dreaded Christmas Day because they knew whatever they got under the Christmas tree, it wasn’t made for them,” says Monica Dreger, who worked on Mattel’s test-marketing of the dolls. “This is the first doll that you can find under the tree and see is for them because it can be for anyone.”
But Christians who monitor culture are concerned that the toys represent another attempt to confuse kids about the God-ordained order of male and female. Already, liberals have infiltrated heavily public schools where they are pushing LBGT agenda through books and teaching.
“These are dolls created by adults for adults to make them feel good about their radical gender theories,” said Focus on the Family’s Glenn Stanton in Baptist Press. “You’re going to be able to find these toys on the discount table in about four months, after Christmas. Parents are not clamoring for this. Kids are not clamoring for this.”
Indeed, while Time Magazine, the New York Times and a slew of other progressive media hailed the dolls as “ground-breaking,” USA Today noted that a mere 5% of consumers, according to a survey, considered buying them just before Christmas when they were launched.
“While people are open to it, it shows that fundamental things that are instilled in us are hard to move,” said Karen Van Vleet, vice president of strategy at Horizon Media’s WHY Group in USA Today. “It’s hard to go against what they were brought up with their whole lives.”
Toy stores and toy aisles have been shifting away from the pink and blue aisles. As part of a push to steer girls into STEM, science kits and cars are not just pushed on boys. Girls are encouraged to play sports and boys aren’t discouraged away from nursing.
But Mattel’s move is on a whole other level and lines more up with Drag Queens reading stories to children at the library. Conservative Christians fear they aim for more than just tolerance of all kinds of people – they are cultivating aberrant lifestyles on impressionable children.
“Children can be notoriously fluid in many of their choices,” said Bob Stith, a Southern Baptist gender issues expert. “So why would we blur the boundaries on something so significant [as gender]? That is the height of irresponsibility.”
Mattel’s bold move may be more than just pushing a political agenda. It may be a move of desperation to resuscitate its slumping stock. According to a report in Investopedia in June 2019, Mattel is wringing its hand over declining sales, down 4% in the first quarter of 2019. The maker of Barbie and Ken is losing to Hasbro, the manufacturer of G.I. Joe.
So while Creatable World may be controversial, it may be seized upon by progressives. While they represent a small market share, they may enthusiastically embrace the produce and buy in a frenzy. Nike saw a similar uptick in sales after featuring Colin Kaepernick, who kneeled controversially during the national anthem during NFL games, Time says.
In recent years, Mattel updated Barbie’s unrealistic model-perfect proportions by developing a chubby and a slim doll. She’s been cast as a working woman, person of color and even disabled — all of which to shatter stereotypes and represent evolving views of femininity. The latest iteration, however, seems more like pushing transgenderism than accepting people.
“Mattel is confusing our innocent children by attempting to destroy very definitive gender lines,” conservative website OneMillionMom says. “Why can’t the toy manufacturer let kids be who God created them to be instead of glamorizing a sinful lifestyle?”
Sarelle London studies at the Lighthouse Christian Academy in Santa Monica.