Mattel’s Creatable World and other progress towards gender non-comformity and inclusivity: Editors Best of the Year

Cool Mom Picks

it’s time for our annual Top 10 Editors Picks of the Year! To kick things off, I wanted to start with one of the biggest, most positive events that pops out to us as we reflect on 2019: the growing awareness of gender fluidity and gender identity,  and the increasing inclusivity and acceptance of all people, regardless of that identity.

We’ve loved sharing emerging brands like The Phluid Project and Fluide Beauty, and the launch of personalized children’s books with a gender-neutral option.

Billy Porter kicked off 2019 wearing a fabulous ballgown to the Oscars. In June, Queer Eye’s’ Jonathan Van Ness, beloved to all (especially us!), came out as non-binary, GenderQueer, and gender-nonconforming.. Asia Kate Dillon, the breakout star of Billions, introduced their character on the show with “my pronoun are they, them theirs,” and this year was called “arguably Hollywood’s most famous nonbinary actor.” (Also, they were amazing in Guess we’re not the only one cheering our evolving views on gender and inclusivity; Merriam-Webster named the non-binary pronoun “they” their word of the year.)

In July, Jenna Karvunidas,  the mom blogger who popularized gender reveal parties., expressed regret about the entire premise, acknowledging that her own views on sex and gender have changed since having a daughter who is growing up in a gender non-comforting way.

Then in September,  we knew the times really were a-changin’  when Mattel launched Creatable World, the first gender-neutral dolls and accessories for kids.

The tagline: All Welcome.

For years on this site, we’ve been talking about getting rid of the outdated boys toy aisles and girls toy aisles and discussing how boys like baby wearing their dolls, and how a gender-neutral clothing company isn’t “removing gender,” but allowing kids to just be…kids.

As I wrote back in September, “the anecdote in the Time article about 8-year-old Shi’a jumping up and down when he first saw this doll that finally looks and feels more like him than his sister’s dolls reminds us all of how valuable it is for all kids to see themselves reflected back to themselves in culture.”

While big change like this comes, predictably, with big backlash, is why I think this is such a noble, and commendable effort on the part of Mattel. No matter how many people this makes uncomfortable, it doesn’t add up to even a single child who may feel seen and valued for the first time because of dolls like this.


Of course we’re not the only one cheering our evolving views on gender and inclusivity; Merriam-Webster named the non-binary pronoun “they” their word of the year.

By the way, while this is particularly important for non-binary people, there’s one more group jumping up and down: writers like me who have railed against the lack of a gender-neutral singular pronoun in the English language for years.

If you have a baby, he or she will grow up to reach his or her potential one day, if.only he or she… no. No more of that.

Liz Gumbinner