There has been much debate around toys recently. I’ve seen debates around why Lego has nice pink, flowery sets for girls but the characters who are off on space adventures and saving lives are clearly marketed at the boys section. There has been huge discussion about gender-specific play, about the difference in messages between boys and girls clothing, about gender-stereotyped marketing aimed at children and about which subjects children are encouraged in during school.
A few years ago, a new brand of dolls popped onto the toy shelves. The Bratz doll is a collection of All-American girls. These girls have sky-high heels, fishnet stockings and feather boas. Crop tops are the norm as is a thick layer of eye makeup and glossy must-have-been-botox lips. These dolls were aimed at the under 10s toy market. The dolls shocked a lot of people, clearly very sexualised and very image conscious, these dolls even have shallow, ditsy personalities created for them by the manufacturing brand.
This tapped back into the issue of exposing children to overt gender stereotypes and overly adult images far too early in their childhoods.
Luckily, a wonderful artist from Tasmania in Australia, Sonia Singh has been seeing the inner beauty in these dolls. Transforming them into dolls that look age-appropriate and much like the children that might pick them up. You can imagine these dolls having adventures climbing trees, camping and exploring nature. As opposed to applying more hair extensions and shopping. One day I hope that I have children of my own and I know which doll I’d rather they played with.
(Video credit: SBS2 Australia)