It’s a tough world for Barbie-maker Mattel. The 74-year-old company is finding it increasingly difficult to market a physical toy to a generation that is becoming more and more obsessed with the digital world.
According to the New York Times, Mattel is expected to make only $4.5 billion this year instead of $6.5 billion in 2013, and their stock is down 73 percent.
Under the direction of a new CEO, the toy maker is turning to Barbie video games, TV shows, and movies to try to gets kids interested in playing with dolls again. The dolls themselves aren’t selling well, even though Mattel has tried giving Barbie new jobs, like beekeeper, pizza chef, paleontologist, and farmer, among others.
But they’re also considering another drastic move: making a fundamental gender change to Barbie’s world — or rather, a “gender identity” change.
According to FOX Denver, Mattel is meeting with a same-sex couple who is engaged to be married. The couple bought an extra Ken doll so they could have two Ken dolls in a wedding set they gave their 8-year-old niece as a thank-you for being their future flower girl.
“So we bought another Ken, who was in a tux, and took out Barbie and added another Ken in, tied it together and gave Natalie the gift and her reaction was priceless,” said Matt Jacobi, according to local NBC affiliate KPNX.
Then they decided to pressure Mattel to make a same-sex wedding set available for all their potential customers in hopes of normalizing same-sex relationships in the minds of children. They sent the toymaker a photo of the set they made with a message saying, “I hope this inspires you.”
Jacobi’s partner Nick Caprio explained: "We just want every family to be reflected within the toys.”
“They’re a big part of our culture and it’s something that if kids are always exposed to this and they can see their own family,” he continued. “It gets rid of the question of what is this and this explanation and long story you have to go through, because it’s something that will just be what it is and it’s just people that are in love."
From Mattel’s reaction, they appear ready to immediately cave.
"For them to reach out and take to social media shows the power of your voice on social media. It was great to be able to contact them and we’re really excited to see where this goes and work with them," said Caprio.
Jacobi hopes Mattel is just one of many businesses to go this direction, saying, "We hope that other companies follow suit and continue to think not just of the social norm but of every family."