Dolls That Do Good
Little girls love to play with dolls, but many moms worry what kind of message they’re sending their daughters when they take trip down the toy aisle and the faces staring down from the shelves represent conformity, sex appeal, and an ideal of beauty that is literally impossible to attain. One Canadian artist is combating this norm with some inspiring creations of her own.
Wendy Tsao is a Canadian craft artist whose newest project takes Bratz dolls, notorious for their heavy makeup, unrealistic proportions, and sexual smolders, and transforms them into some of history’s most influential women. She calls them her Mighty Dolls, and she’s made dolls in the likeness of Malala Yousafzai, J.K. Rowling, Jane Goodall, and more.
Tao said that she was inspired to start this project after reading a children’s book about Jane Goodall, when she began to wonder why these positive role models weren’t as visible to children as superhero’s and princesses. She also drew inspiration from Sonia Singh’s Tree Change Dolls, which are also Bratz dolls given transformations to represent what real-life girls look like.
In an interview with Bored Panda, Tsao explained why she thinks her dolls carry an important message. “The dolls we find in toy stores today are often licensed Disney characters or the heroines of Hollywood blockbuster movies that capitalize on the pull of fantasy, fictional characters to young consumers. But there are real-life people who are heroes too, with inspiring stories of courage, intelligence, strength and uniqueness.”
“As a parent, I’d love for my child to play with a young J.K. Rowling or Malala and have conversations about them,” Tsao continued. “What inspiring person would you like to see as a doll?” One day, maybe we’ll see dolls like these on the shelf in front of the princesses and pseudo-prostitutes.