A few weeks after Poppy was born I saw the viral video of #likeagirl, it was an upsetting realisation that Poppy would be growing up in a world where being a girl is still a negative and that girls and women are still fighting for equality.
A world where media portrays an image that girls should look perfect all the time and worst thing is that the media creates the false and unattainable image of this perfection.
I remembered my insecurities as a teenager, being desperate to hide or change them before I came to accept my features and be ok with them. It filled me with incredible sadness that one day she might feel the same insecurities because the media is telling her that she isn’t perfect just the way she is. That she must change the way she is in order to be successful and for her peers and boys to like her.
I know that gradually this is changing but it will be a long struggle. It needs children to be taught that being themselves is ok, in fact it’s more than ok. That’s where your strength lies no matter what people tell you.
As Poppy is becoming more and more aware of the world around her and is absorbing every single bit of it, I am so conscious of how experiences will shape who she is and my responsibility to that growth.
I can of course control most of these influencers at the moment and one way that I intend to do this is through her play. She is now at the stage where she properly plays with toys, ploughing the sitting room floor with her favourite red tractor for hours or feeding her dolly a bottle. When I was little I had a fabulous collection of barbies that I would play with for hours. Playing house with Barbie and Ken, hosting wedding ceremonies and parties, dressing Barbie up in all manner of outfits and driving Barbie and Ken around in their soft top car. Looking at Barbie now I think what a gross version of a woman she is. Plastered in makeup and in a perpetual tip toed state, not to mention her ridiculously proportioned figure. This really isn’t the kind of message I want to start my daughter off with but I truly loved playing with dolls. So I started searching for dolls that accurately reflect a normal woman and stumbled upon Ruthie Dolls on Facebook.
The dolls are all upcycled from their pretty grotesque initial creations and have new, natural faces re-painted by supremely talented portrait artist Katie Chappell and sweet clothes made for them by seamstress Ruth M.
Katie has such an incredible eye for detail and breathes wonderful personality into the dolls. Each being totally different with individual characteristics. I have found many other upcycled dolls during my searches but these are truly the most beautifully and accurately re-painted.
Here are some of the transformations…
The outfits on the ‘Before’ dolls are pretty scary aren’t they? The ‘After’ images are almost unrecognisable! It just shows what the manufacturers are choosing to sell rather than what they responsibly could produce.
I love that these dolls are given a new lease of life instead of being thrown away.
This is the doll that I decided to get for Poppy. We have called her Evie…
Unruly dark hair, bushy eyebrows and green eyes. Just like Pops.
Ruthie Dolls are sold through Etsy and start at £18.99.
I hope this little gesture will go a little way to help my daughter grow into the confident, incredible person I know she will be.
Love you Pops x
These are great! I have a little girl too and she loves playing with dolls so I have the same concerns. I’ve been looking for something like this for a while. Thanks!
A great post and I love those dolls! I only have a boy so far but often think about women and our role in society when I see so many women on telly opting for plastic surgery or struggling with their body image. You’re right, we’re moving in the right direction but there’s a long way to go. With my son, I’m going to try to do my part by educating him as best I can re equality and by teaching him to be a respectful, fair man.
PS Have you seen these dolls? http://lammily.com/
Thanks so much butterflymum83.
I was thinking the other day how much harder it is to be non-steriotypical with toys for boys without drawing nasty comments e.g. Giving your boy a doll to play with might encourage the more small minded in our society to joke about sexuality! What you’re doing with educating your son is brilliant. I’ll definitely be remembering that if I have a boy in the future (fingers crossed!).
Those dolls are brilliant! I’m hoping they sell them in the UK too x
My son actually does have a baby doll and he loves it! 😀 Even my hubs was a bit sceptical when I suggested it but now he sees how cute/funny my son is feeding, cuddling and burping him he’s really on board. I’d be worried about the looks we may get if he took it out in public though! But happy to cross that bridge if it comes to it x
This has literally made my day. I’ll definitely be doing this too for future boy bubbas!! A friend voiced her concern about this with her son but if she knows other people are introducing dolls to their boys then I’m pretty sure it will encourage her to do the same!! xx
Those dolls are awesome! Such a great idea. I have two little girls, aged 1 and 3. My 3 year old isn’t a huge fan of dolls – she has a very plain looking rag doll and a cabbage patch kid but a friend just bought her Elsa for her birthday and she loves it (and I have an aversion to merchandised toys!). It’s such an interesting thing watch how they interact with their toys isn’t it? #twinklytuesday
I am so the same with merchandised toys! Thankfully Poppy is a little too young to be into Frozen yet but I know the demands for Elsa will come. Sob.
Arrr, I know! Would love to know what goes in their minds when they start to interact with toys. Yesterday I found every stuffed toy lined up on the sofa. Love it. xx
My 3 year old Billie is really into ‘cooking’ in the kitchen – could spend hours in there. And I much prefer to buy the wooden kitchen toys (she even has a wooden coffee machine) than the plastic merch!
That’s so sweet! I’m with you on preference for wooden toys, my daughter is now playing with wooden toys that my parents had when they were little. Longevity you would never get with plastic toys xx