A Barbie commercial that encourages gender-neutral play? Yes, indeed: There's a boy featured in a Barbie ad for the first time ever. The video in question is for Moschino Barbie. In the ad, a young boy plays around with the decked-out, designer-clad doll along with two girl pals. "Moschino Barbie is so fierce!" he proclaims with a grin; later in the ad, he answers Barbie's minuscule cell phone, saying, "It's for you, Moschino Barbie." (He also happens to look just like a pint-sized version of Moschino's creative director, Jeremy Scott. Coincidence?) The limited-edition Barbie, offered in both light and dark complexions and accessorized in a very bling-y manner, debuted on October 30 (exclusively on Net-A-Porter) and sold out in less than one hour.
The ad has struck a chord for validating that Barbies are fair game for everyone: "This almost made me cry! I used to play with my sister's Barbies and felt such shame afterward. I'm so glad we can just let kids be kids. Thank you for this! Boys like dolls, too!" one YouTube commenter wrote. Other recent pushes toward non-gendered kids' playthings include Target's decision to remove gender-specific signage in certain toy aisles. Of course, this power move added fuel to the conversations that were already happening on the popular topic of how rigidly defining "acceptable" toys for boys and girls can negatively impact children.
This Barbie commercial makes a really progressive statement for a doll that's arguably the most gender-siloed toy on the shelves. That said, it would be a bit more impactful and accessible if the doll in question was within the usual $15-ish price range of most Barbies, instead of promoting a souped-up iteration that retails for 10 times that. Nonetheless, the message is positive, and it could help deplete the stigma surrounding boys and certain toys, at least on a small scale. Check out the full ad below.