I can’t tell you just how much I love this story that SBS ran a few weeks ago about the Tasmanian couple Sonia and John, who founded Tree Change Dolls and, without ever intending to, started a conversation about changing the face of girls’ toys.
Watch their story here:
Sonia started ‘rescuing’ second hand dolls from a local thrift shop and uses eucalyptus oil, nail polish remover, and dish soap to remove the original paint/makeup from their faces. She then repaints the faces to make them look more realistic and natural.
Her mother, “an expert knitter”, knits and sews gorgeous new outfits for the dolls, and sends them by post:
The result: dolls that are more realistic, less sexualised and would be soooo much fun to play with!
Some of my favourite quotes from this story:
The [original] dolls – when they’re incredibly made up – look like they’re doing it for every one else, where Sonia’s dolls look like they’re doing it for themselves… The photos show what these dolls are, and what they could be – and that’s a choice by the toy manufacturer.
Then, from one of the children:
These would be more fun to play with… You can kind of think they’re the same age as you.
That’s right… as opposed to ten years older and ready to go to a club and hit on/be hit on by some boys.
Perhaps one of the things I love most about this whole story is that neither Sonia or John set out to change the world or even make a statement about the hypersexualisation of children’s toys. Sonia was made redundant and spent some of the time at home making-under these second hand dolls. It was never their intention to go viral or to have SBS, Babble or Buzzfeed, or international news publications pick up the story. But here they are, a few months later, and the world loves them for what they’ve done, and I couldn’t be prouder of their humble story.
I mean, look at these gorgeous pictures!
I really wish I was fast enough to order one of these dolls for my nine-year-old niece’s birthday… but I think it’d be awesome to make-under one of her dolls as a project together. Fingers crossed we make it happen!
What do you think? Would you buy one of these dolls if they were on the shelf at Target or Kmart? I certainly would!