Challenging Gender Stereotypes, Showing Greater Empathy

April 27, 2022 Author: Mario X. Carrasco

After taking a Behavioral Economics class at Florida State University, Lauren Triplett knew she had found her passion. Marketing bridges the gap between brands and consumers by helping marketers understand why people do what they do and purchase what they purchase. Lauren found this fascinating and spent the next few years building her expertise, including starting her own digital marketing agency and working for less to gain experience.

Fast forward a few years, amid a global pandemic, Lauren landed a job at one of the most beloved brands in the world, Mattel.

As Associate Marketing Manager of the Barbie Global Brand at Mattel, Inc., Lauren’s team is responsible for the strategy behind the Barbie family segment, including Barbie, her sisters, pets, and the Netflix series. And they have harsh critics – Generation Alpha.

This young consumer group, powered by the pocketbooks of their Millennial moms and dads, represents a treasure trove of revenue for the brand. Like their predecessors, Gen Z, these "mini millennials" also challenge the brand to address societal stereotypes, particularly around gender identity. Mattel has released inclusive product lines like Barbie Fashionista featuring dolls of varying body shapes, abilities, hairstyles, and gender-neutral dolls.

“The more multifaceted we can make characters, the more kids will be interested and build empathy naturally because they see people that look different on the shows and products they like,” says Lauren. The intention is to take inclusivity from being a checkmark in a box to a storyline featuring loveable characters kids will be interested in regardless of background.

Tune in to the latest episode of The New Mainstream podcast as Lauren Triplett, Associate Marketing Manager, Barbie Global Brand at Mattel, Inc. and founder of BiteSized Consulting discuss the evolution of gendered toys and how inclusivity leads to greater empathy.