Gender-neutral Barbie dolls will allow children to 'express themselves freely'

Barbie and Ken are universally known as the male and female dolls created by Mattel.

The American toy manufacturer has helped to define gender norms for decades through their dolls, but that's about to change with the release of gender-neutral dolls.

The dolls figures do not match a man or a woman's and are a blank slate.  Which means no broad shoulders, no full hips and no long lashes.

Mattel said in a statement today the toys are a reflection of the culture of inclusivity.

"As the world continues to celebrate the positive impact of inclusivity, we felt it was time to create a doll line free of labels," it said.

"Through research we heard that kids don't want their toys dictated by gender norms.  This line allows all kids to express themselves freely," the statement said.