Imagine a world where women’s bodies were accurately reflected in the world around them.
This is the mission behind Abby Apple and Penelope Pear, two new dolls designed by Melbourne mum-of-three Amanda Stokes.
Any mum who has doll-loving daughters and sons know just how exclusive the plastic doll party really is. If you’re not super skinny with lean legs and perky boobs, you’re pretty much an outcast.
And don’t even think about trying to squeeze into those itty bitty Barbie outfits and shoes!
Sure, there have been some welcome steps for body aware dolls in the past, including Tree Change Dolls and Barbie’s line of Fashionista Dolls and ‘Sheros’. But many toy makers are still missing the mark.
‘These dolls are unlike any other doll’
This is why Amanda designed her Positive Body Image Dolls. After a conversation with one of her daughter’s about body image, Amanda set out to create a line of dolls that reflect real women’s body shapes.
“With so many children wishing their bodies were smaller, wouldn’t it be incredible to hear children proudly proclaiming in playgrounds around the world that they have a body like Abby Apple, who despite her roundedness, lives her life with laughter and love!,” she says. “It’s time we learnt to be proud of our shapes.”
“You can’t have a fruit salad with only one fruit, nor can we have a society that only represents one main body type, especially when it comes to our children.” – Amanda Stokes
Amanda, who battled bulimia for 20 years, says children need to understand that “we don’t all have to look the same and that you can be healthy and fabulous in more than one size”. And that’s what her Positive Body Image Dolls aim to do.
A fruit salad of healthy body types
At this stage there are two dolls to choose from – Abby Apple and Penelope Pear. Both dolls are made from soft vinyl with minimal makeup and come with three different outfits each. They’ll have different faces from the prototypes shown here.
Abby Apple has a larger upper body, whilst Penelope Pear has a smaller upper body and wider hips. Amanda hopes to add more dolls to the range, including Brittany Banana and Georgia Grape.
“Ultimately I would love to have a full range of dolls represented by varying shapes and sizes of different fruit,” she says.
Another unique thing about the Positive Body Image dolls is that they come with a cute backstory. Abby, for example, is a teacher but also loves Zumba and playing soccer.
Positive body image starts in the toy box
Amanda has seen the damage that poor body image can have on young girls. Her hope is that her dolls will “break down the stereotype that there is only one way to look when you lead a healthy life”.
“As a long-time educator and counsellor working with primary school kids and adolescents, I’ve seen girls, even as young as 5, talk about being fat,” she says.
This needs to stop. One way we can help our daughters and sons overcome these thoughts is by choosing toys that accurately represent all body shapes.
Where to buy
Positive Body Image Dolls started as a dream for Amanda but is quickly becoming a reality. The project is now on Kickstarter and supporters can order one doll plus three outfits for the early bird price of $25. Delivery of the dolls is estimated for November 2018.
Amanda, who founded Mirror Movement to help mums and their pre-teen daughters shape a positive body image, hopes that her dolls help children understand to love their body shapes.
“Raising strong daughters is not easy. At a time where society is so focused on external appearances, where images are photo shopped, and where fake is the new normal, we want to make sure our girls grow up with a positive relationship with food and their body. We want them to have self respect and love who they are,” she says.
For more about how mums can affect their daughter’s body image, take a look at our article about the bikini selfie every mum needs to see.