'Toy Like Me' Dolls From Makies Are Wonderfully Inclusive, Plus Four More Dolls That Actually Look Like Real Girls
With an eye towards body positivity, the time to reinvent the doll has come, and a few great companies are jumping on board. British doll-making company Makies, for example, just released an extension to their line of "Toy Like Me" dolls, which features customizable options that are more inclusive to disabled children. Things like bright pink hearing aids, walking aids, and bespoke facial characteristics such as burns and birthmarks can be 3D-printed along with the dolls themselves. These are certainly not the Barbie dolls that I grew up with — and they're absolutely fantastic.
It's no secret that Barbies, despite their cultural prevalence, represent an impossible standard of beauty. Barbie's body physically would not work, with a waist that small and breasts that large. As a short, brunette little girl with no breasts to speak of (of course, most seven year olds don't have breasts but even now I definitely don't have boobs like Barbie's), I played with dolls that looked nothing like me; so did all my friends. My dolls were impossibly beautiful and aspirational — but why was I aspiring to look like a doll that I biologically could never look like?
Makies expanded its line of doll accessories in response to a social media campaign spearheaded by parents of disabled children who took matters into their own hands, painting the dolls to look more like their own children. The photos of the doctored dolls soon went viral, and the company responded in the best possible way: By being inclusive. Here's a list of other doll companies that are being awesome and selling (at least somewhat more) realistic dolls.
Lammily is billed as "the realistic Barbie," and is built according to the dimensions of an average, actual woman. You can also get stickers for Lammily that look like acne, stretch mark, cellulite, tattoos, mosquito bites, and more to really customize her.
Yeah, the name is definitely questionable, but Mixis is on to something with their multi-racial dolls. According to the Mixis website, their mission is to focus on "the blending and fusion of races, ethnicities and cultures, encouraging a dialogue between children and their families that explores the richness and diversity of their individual backgrounds."
3. Feral Cheryl
Created almost 20 years ago now as a tongue-in-cheek response to Barbie, Feral Cheryl is a bohemian doll with dreadlocks, piercings, tattoos and a "bag of herbs." She's pretty gorgeous, honestly, although some parents may not relish the opportunity to explain to their children why Cheryl walks around with herbs in her bag.
4. Groovy Girls
It's hard to argue that Groovy Girls are built proportionally (their noses are like little upside down half circles and they're made of fabric instead of plastic), but what's nice about these dolls is that they come in a wide variety of skin tones and hair colors/ styles.