March 10, 2015

Desexualizing Dolls to Protect Minors

Sonja Singh, 34, loves dolls. As a hobby, she visits thrift stores to find disheveled Bratz dolls, sometimes with missing feet. She removes their overly sexualized eyes and lips with nail polish remover and paints on new, more natural looking features. Singh’s mother completes these Tree Change Dolls’ new look by fashioning them with hand-knitted modest clothing and swimsuits.

Even the kids can see there is a difference with these dolls.

In a focus group, one young Australian girl said Tree Change Dolls are “nicer to play with… you can kind of think they are the same age as you.” Other young girls from the group remarked that certain dolls resembled their friends; whereas, traditional Bratz dolls do not resemble real people.

Sonja Singh's transformation of Bratz dolls to "Tree Dolls."
Sonja Singh’s transformation of Bratz dolls to “Tree Change Dolls.”

After Singh completed her first round of desexualizing dolls in her home, she posted her creations on Facebook. Immediately, she received requests to purchase the dolls, yet she only had twelve. She did not intend her idea to help desexualize dolls to go viral, but rather hoped to be a source of positive influence.

“I’m not a doll manufacturer, I don’t want to be. But if what I’ve done does influence some of the big toy companies out there and make them rethink the kind of dolls they are putting out on the market, I don’t think that would be a bad thing at all.”

Singh has recently added DIY videos to her Tumblr and Facebook pages, so that anyone can replicate what she has done.

Another Austrailian mother, Cindy Miechel, and her daughter, Paris, also took on the challenge to “makeunder” their own dolls.

Before the transformation, the dolls “are usually adult dolls, [with] lots of make up, not usually dressed up well,” Cindy said.

Her daughter Paris added,“sometimes the clothes are too short.”

“[They are] sort of revealing and that’s not what sort of example we want to show to… that’s not what we want our girls to be like,” Cindy.

“Because when [girls] grow up they end up being like those type of dolls,” Paris said.

Singh is making a large impact in fighting objectification of women.

 Help us urge Cosmo to protect minors from sexualization by visiting our Cosmo Harms Minors project.


Further Reading