It is widely believed that playing with dolls impacts the way that children perceive others and themselves. Arguably, “Barbie” dolls aren’t the best things for little girls to play with, as Barbie’s “body” is something that no young woman could ever hope to achieve or should consider even remotely normal.
Now we have transgender dolls, which in theory should help kids be more understanding and accepting of those who aren’t cisgender. Cisgender, which is often abbreviated as “cis”, refers to a person who has a gender identity that matches the sex assigned to him or her at birth.
As we all know, the world has become a lot more accepting of transgender issues—thanks to people like Laverne Cox and Caitlyn Jenner. They’re both extremely famous and successful, after all, which proves that being transgender isn’t an impediment to mainstream success. Society is becoming much more understanding; fifty years ago, a transgendered person probably wouldn’t have been able to achieve half of what those two have achieved.
That said, the fact that there are “transgender toys” is still met with some controversy. In Argentina, a doll has left parents divided as a result of a mother sharing images of it using social media.
The doll doesn’t really look, at first glance anyway, particularly unusual. It has auburn hair and is wearing a sparkly fairy costume. However, if you lift up the doll’s skirt, you’ll see male genitalia.
I haven’t played with dolls in a very long time; yes, I’m admitting I played with dolls. I have over a dozen female cousins, so I really didn’t have much of a choice in the matter. I was more of a “Ninja Turtle” and “Nintendo” kid than a “Barbie” kid, but sometimes you have to play what the other kids play.
Point is: I always remembered dolls being “smooth down there”, if you know what I mean. Apparently, these days, dolls have genitals. We’re not sure whether or not the design was intentional. Maybe the manufacturer was trying to make some sort of point—we just don’t know right now.
The fact that a doll dressed like a girl also has male genitalia is unsurprisingly igniting controversy, and not only in Argentina. The debate over the appropriateness of the toy revolves around the perceived ability of dolls to influence young minds regarding very serious issues. Could a transgender doll benefit young children struggling with their own gender identities, or could it be harmful?
Of course, there are other transgender dolls available for purchase. If you’re not familiar with Jazz Jennings, she is a YouTube star and LGBTQ advocate. She is considered one of the youngest people ever publicly documented as transgender. You can buy a doll that looks like Jazz. Here’s a link: https://www.woozymoo.com/products/tonner-doll-jazz-jennings-normal
This is the first transgender doll on the market, and guess what?! It’s ME!!!😱😍 @tonnerdoll did a great job of creating this beautiful item! It will be available in July, and I hope that it can place transgender people in a positive light by showing that we are just like all other people💗 For those asking: the doll is considered to be the first “transgender” doll because it’s based on an individual who is trans. Of course it is still just a regular girl doll because that’s exactly what I am: a regular girl!💖
The CEO of the company that makes the Jazz Jennings doll—which by the way doesn’t have any genitalia—says that the doll is transgender because it is based on the appearance of a transgender individual. It is, as he puts it, about who the doll represents, adding that 20 years ago such a doll couldn’t have been made. He’s happy that the doll is opening up conversations.
And it is opening up conversations. One Twitter user wondered if Mattel, the toy company that produces Barbie dolls, had any plans to release a transgender doll.
At this moment, it doesn’t seem as if Mattel has any plans to make a transgender doll. Who knows what the rest of 2018 will bring, however?
Remember how earlier I said that no young woman should aspire to look like Barbie? I stand by that statement; however, there is actually a human being that does, or at least did. Her name is Valeria, but she prefers the name Amatue, and she at one point looked like this.
The young woman from the Ukraine spent five years trying to look like a plastic toy. She received breast implants and exercised a lot. She also applied a lot of makeup. Doing so took her well over an hour.
So I guess it is technically possible to look like Barbie, but I certainly wouldn’t recommend spending five years of your life trying to do so.
As we go forward, it seems quite likely that more companies will release transgender dolls. Are they a good thing for children or a bad thing? Only the child psychologists know for sure.