When I was a girl it was either Barbie or Sindy. They were tall and leggy with long blonde hair. They were good wives and enjoyed cooking, ballgowns, children, make up, holidays, animals and parties. That’s what I aspired to, to be a stay at home glamorous mother, swanning around in my jeep with some dogs and my Ken. Reality has been hard to adjust to, but I’m getting there.
I was hoping for my daughter that dolls would be different, although I do enjoy the nostalgia of the toys being similar to mine, part of me wants her aspirations to be different. More realistic? I’m not sure whether giving her an overweight doll with roots and scrappy hair, bags under the eyes wearing leggings and flip flops and a feral child hanging from her hip is a good idea either, play is supposed to be fun after all and we use escapism all the time as adults too so what’s the harm? I did think that until for Phoebe’s birthday this year she got given a doll that was unbranded, but was meant to be…
A Vet. Seriously. She’s tango-tanned, her hair is so long and not tied back, she has full make up on, high heels and a dress so short it’s indecent. I was appalled – not really at the doll itself, but the fact that she’s portraying a medical professional but dressed for a summer party (OK she’s got a white coat on, I’ll give her that). Shorter hair, better clothes, maybe tunic and trousers, a pen and a stethoscope would be better accessories. And flat shoes. Don’t get me wrong, I love make up, high heels, all things girly but I think when you’re doing a job like that you should be professional and realistic. I am grateful for the gift and I don’t blame the mother who bought it, but I really thought things would be a bit different these days.
I do have some hope for the future of dolls, we were given Ember Evergreen to look at, from Project Mc², a TV series on Netflix which aims to encourage and empower girls in the areas of S.T.E.A.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Maths). The Project Mc2 brand believes “Smart is the new Cool” – and they want girls everywhere to celebrate it. Our Ember doll came with her own Terrarium and pipette so that we could grow our own seeds with it. You don’t get any seeds with it, but it’s easy enough to get the soil and pebbles – fortunately for us my husband has a collection of unplanted seeds that I raided, so we’re eagerly awaiting our sweet peas to appear.
Ember is fully poseable, with knee, elbow and wrist joints. She has sensible cowboy boots and her skirt is a decent length. Her features are pretty but not overly unrealistic and she does have some rather glorious eyelashes. She comes with a backpack that you can open. I love her, and Phoebe does too. We took her out shopping and found a couple of her friends too – we didn’t buy them (but psst, they’re on sale at Asda). She loves to be outside with nature and watch the flowers grow. I like the fact that she comes with an experiment instead of make up and she’s relatable. All the dolls are feminine without being over the top. It’s definitely a step in the right direction.
Disclosure: we were gifted the doll for the purposes of this post, all opinions are my own.
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