Words by Honor Tuttiett
Children’s toys have long been a contentious subject. They can have influence in gendering children, creating a divide between boys and girls from the very start of life. Barbie and Bratz dolls have repeatedly had to defend themselves after accusations of them sexualising children’s toys. Toy shops must be a mine field for parents trying to give their child an unbiased play experience, but fear no longer! A lovely woman from Australia has by accident created a revolution in doll toys.
She calls them Tree Change Dolls and this week they have gone viral.
Sonia Singh was made redundant from her usual career and consequently decided to return to something she loved as a child; dolls. She was just experimenting with making-under the dolls she rescued them from the dump and charity shops. Removing their make up with nail polish remover and dressing them in wholesome, knitted clothes curtesy of her mum. She re paints their faces with more size accurate eyes and lips, creating a naturalistic style children can relate to easily. They are styled as hikers, gardeners and generally more normal images that you would be happy for your child to play with.
Her husband persuaded her to share these experiments with her Facebook friends of about 200, and from there, fame struck! The reaction has been overwhelming as globally people are seeing these dolls as a relief to their issues with toys. She says in her delight that she believes that young people would rather play with a doll they can relate to or see a resemblance in, rather than being encouraged to lust after hyper sexualised ideals. The world is already full of adverts asking you to be different, why should that have to be in child’s play too?
It is a shame that the statement didn’t come from the manufacturers themselves, but hopefully this will be the beginning of a new craze. Her Etsy shop is just around the corner, but she has stated that she is not a manufacturer and therefore the incredible demand for her dolls with take time to fulfil. Nevertheless the video I have linked to this piece shows you a bit about how she makes them, so you can have a go yourself! Try making-under your dolls and feel comfortable with your children’s toys! Hats off to Sonia Singh!