Dr. Stephanie Samar, a clinical psychologist at the Mood Disorders Center of the Child Mind Institute, said Mattel’s gender-neutral dolls are part of a “positive movement” in setting the tone for toymakers to be more inclusive.
“It’s helping provide options to those who don’t feel entirely connected. This is important with race and ethnicity and these dolls seems to have this [element] as well, not just the gender piece,” Samar told “GMA.” “Having a doll that feels more connected to their identity can help build more self esteem.”
Samar said doll play builds communication skills, empathy and compassion.
“Dolls that are diverse and representative of these kids’ identities can help build these skills, so they’re not [only] empathizing with this singular person, but with more diverse backgrounds,” she added.