Why I Think You Should Ditch Bratz For Tree Change Dolls


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tumblr_niiyz6DAQ11u8oyeuo1_r1_1280I stumbled across a post on Tumblr this week and immediately knew that I wanted to share it with you all. Tree Change Dolls.

tumblr_nikqhfn4eb1u8oyeuo1_540It 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 KGOYKids Growing Older Younger. It is discussed here by Kay Hymowitz, author of Ready Or Not: What Happens When We Treat Children As Small Adults.tumblr_ni71pgaMd81u8oyeuo3_540

“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.tumblr_nianihXYdz1u8oyeuo1_1280

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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  1. The first time I saw a Bratz doll I was shocked and angry. I’ve also seen the Monster High dolls as my granddaughter loves them but where Barbie had unrealistic proportions the Monster High dolls are so tiny (skinny) I have a hard time working to make them new clothes, which I can do for the Barbies.

    Tree Change dolls are so beautiful. I will definitely be looking at purchasing one or two for my granddaughters. Thanks so much for sharing this story.

  2. I’m a thirteen year old , and I like barbies,bratz,and monster high. I also really like tree change! I dont have one but they make me feel all warm, and I like who I am. I also like the fact that they were recycled and there is happiness in someone else’s garbage.And Lois I know how u feel because I always try to make my dolls clothes because I feel like some of their clothes are a bit inappropriate. But anyway I really thought that this was a very helpful article and I definitely will not be buying any Mattel dolls any time soon

  3. I’m 20 and have a 7 month old daughter, this article really made me think about the dolls we give our children…I was definitely over sexualized as a child, especially into my teens. I grew up way too fast and I would hate to see my daughter go through the same thing, I want her childhood to last as long as possible. I know first hand that childhood goes by way too fast and once it’s gone, there’s no getting it back.

    1. Thank you for commenting – such personal reply. It is good to stop and think about the things that we give to our children, and potential harm that we could be causing.

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