When I was a kid, I always tried to move away from the "girly" stereotype - somehow I felt it was repulsive. I wanted to be known as the "tomboy" of any group - the easy-going, chilled out, "one of the dudes" kind of person.
I didn't understand it then - but I do now - the connotations of being a "girly" girl were that I was a tantrum-throwing, clingy, fragile person. And I knew I was none of that so I just chose to steer clear of that entirely.
I rarely did things girls my age were expected to do. I wore "boys" clothes, had a "boy" cut, didn't cry when I was hurt and I always preferred playing with the boys. I remember my friend called me to her house, as she did for every other girl friend she had - to play with barbies.
My first reaction was an instant "ew, that's so girly", and the second "I have just one barbie." I never asked for barbies as many young girls would, I picked out Beyblades and pokemon cards instead. I had just one barbie, which was a gift from my aunt that I had ripped apart three days into her existence.
I cut off her hair, inked her clothes, drew on her face and then threw out one shoe. I thought I was "edgy" and "cool" but honestly, I just ruined a perfectly good present. My mum was tired of my shenanigans with the barbies, so she just stopped buying them and warned others not to gift me them either.
Basically, the edgy kid that I was - I hated barbies because they were "girly." An association we often make with barbies - dolls are for girls and cars are for boys. This strict division is what put me off I guess - the thought that I had to fit into this identity if I played with a doll.
Barbies were always these pale-skinned women with the standard Ken doll - the one dude who was the man of any girl's dream. Debatable, but let's forget about that for a moment.
The Ken doll was just a tag-along "romantic interest." If any boy ever got his hand on one of these dolls - poor kid's social life would be in rips. I never understood that - incorporating gender roles to toys?
They're just inanimate objects, how do they define the gender identity of a person? But apparently, it was an unsaid rule - just like most other gender norms. I always wished that I could play with barbies without all the stereotypes - I wanted to know why everyone else enjoyed it.
And now, almost 10 years later, there's finally a way for me to figure it out. Well, not me, but a lot more kids who are inquisitive about why dolls are fun.
Mattel, the company that manufactures barbies has finally come out with gender-neutral barbies. "In our world, dolls are as limitless as the kids who play with them. Introducing #CreatableWorld, a doll line designed to keep labels out and invite everyone in. #AllWelcome" they posted on twitter.
Labels are what put off most people from playing with dolls and taking away that element is so essential to allow children to explore what they like. A lot of parents feel that their kids would be bullied for playing with dolls, they ingrain into their minds that dolls are a girl's toy.
But many young boys seem to enjoy the factor of dressing up a doll, and making up parties and events their doll can host. It's an important part of enabling a child's creativity, so why limit it to just girls?
Our gendered existence begins way before we understand the concept, it's almost predetermined. Barbie may be just another toy for some, but the elimination of the gender roles that came with it is a huge step I know my 10-year-old self would appreciate.