It seems like the toys kids play with look vastly different from the kids themselves. It's no secret that dolls are abnormally skinny, primarily white, and uphold beauty standards that are unrealistic. Though we all know about Barbie's unnatural dimensions, a new movement within the toy industry is looking to push awareness even further.
People from all over the world have taken problems with the toy industry into their own hands. Buzzfeed reported on a mom who realized her oldest daughter (at the age of 3!) was already talking about how she wanted straight hair and lighter skin; abandoning her own kinks and curls, facial features and skin tone for what she saw on the shelves.This mom decided to make a doll her daughters could identify with.
As a hobby, another mom in Australia started creating a more natural version of the overly made-up Bratz dolls. Australia Her "Tree Change Dolls" have since gone viral.
Like these moms, a popular campaign known as "Toy Like Me" is looking to toy makers to make realistic toys, ones that celebrate human difference.
Parents of kids with disabilities have also made great strides to create dolls that actually looks like their child. A handmade NG tube taped onto a store bought doll and dolls propped onto remote-controlled cars (to mimic a wheelchair) are seen on the "Toy Like Me" Facebook page.
While the majority of current toys have an unrealistic and abnormal standard, London based Makie dolls aren't following that trend and are totally on board with the "Toy Like Me".
Makie dolls are completely customizable. They are the first 3-D printed toys (fully certified for safety) and are mailed all over the world.
The personalized dolls are made to order, not stocked on shelves waiting to be purchased. Through an app or online, you can change skin color, eye shape/size/color/tilt, eyebrow shape/height/thickness, hair style and color to find your own unique look (among other customizations).
Accessories are also a way to help your Makie look just like you. Glasses, tennis shoes and headphones are just a few available, but Makie is also making their dolls relatable to those with disabilities. Makie has already produced cochlear implant and walking cane accessories and also have a doll available that can mirror your birthmark.
The support for Makie has been incredible, seen on their Facebook page and Instagram account. Their staff is friendly and open-minded, working towards cost reduction and listening to us all on what to work on next. Their audience has some great ideas, asking for bald dolls with wigs for kids going through chemo treatments and service dog accessories. Makie is actively working on an insulin pump and wheelchair accessory, both of which should be available soon.
While their fans and approach to the toy industry are inspiring, Makie may have said it best on their blog, that they "reckon Mums and Dads both like Makies because Makies are action dolls who stand for creativity and making rather than ... er, whatever other dolls stand for. Kapow!"
Emily is putting her English and Humanities degree to use editing and writing all over the world. Trying to see all 7 world wonders (while visiting as many countries as she can in between), Emily loves wandering alleyways, beautifully photographed food, stumbling upon impromptu flea and food markets. She can usually be found camera in hand, munching on a street food and never has her headphones out of reach.