I stumbled across a post on Tumblr this week and immediately knew that I wanted to share it with you all. Tree Change Dolls.
It is a blog following the work of talented Tasmanian artist Sonia Singh, who has been rescuing second hand dolls and giving them a taste of childhood. I was captivated by the images, they are spread throughout this post – I would love to hear your thoughts on them too.
Sonia gives the dolls a new lease of life by removing the make-up and tarty, glitzy clothes. She hand paints the faces, creates new shoes and dresses them in hand stitched and knitted clothes. It is when you look at the before and after pictures that you can really question the thoughts behind marketing such brash, inappropriate toys at young impressionable girls. They call it KGOY – Kids Growing Older Younger. It is discussed here by Kay Hymowitz, author of Ready Or Not: What Happens When We Treat Children As Small Adults.
“Marketers make it sound like “KGOY” is just a fact of nature. The truth is, they have played a central role in making it happen They want to sell products; they know kids who are independent and “empowered” are more likely to tell their parents to buy those products and that the way you seize kids’ attention is to make them feel older, more glamorous — and sexier.”
So it is certainly not a new concern. The worry about the lasting negative impacts of over sexualising young girls has been the theme of a number of studies, looking at body image, career aspirations, academic performance and overall wellbeing of girls that played with sexualised dolls, such as Barbie and Bratz. Results have shown that there are negative consequences and the UK and US are classing this as a major public health issue. However, no action is being taken at this stage, besides calling for further more in depth research.
Dr Jean Kilbourne, author of So Sexy, So Soon: The Sexualisation Of Childhood says: “Children learn to associate physical appearance and buying the right products not only with being sexy, but also with being successful as a person. These lessons will shape their gender identity, sexual attitudes, values and their capacity for love and connection.”
I would imagine that most parents looking at Bratz dolls, with slip on high heels, make up and sexual slogans on tiny outfits would choose another option for their children. But unbelievably, Bratz have taken a 40 per cent chunk of the £100m-a-year UK doll market, outselling Barbie by two to one. Why are we buying them?
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