When I came across Sonja Singh’s Tree Change Dolls™, the controversy of a certain line of dolls being overly sexualized, I wanted to explore further the idea that toys or playthings could have an impact on one’s identity.

Through my work in Child’s Own Studio, I am familiar with the notion that toys can become a source of comfort, pride and meaning for a child (and even adults). The dolls we find in toy stores today are often licenced Disney™ characters or the heroines of Hollywood blockbuster movies that capitalize on the pull of fantasy, fictional characters to young consumers. But there are real-life people who are heroes too, with inspiring stories of courage, intelligence, strength and uniqueness.  Could children learn about and be inspired by them through toys?

In this project, I repainted and reclothed the manufactured dolls into the likeness of real, inspiring women – as young girls. As a parent, I’d love for my child to play with a young J.K. Rowling or Malala and have conversations about them. What inspiring person would you like to see as a doll?

More info: wendytsao.wordpress.com

Malala Yousafzai

1997-, Pakistani activist, youngest Nobel Prize laureate

J.K. Rowling

1965-, British novelist best known for Harry Potter series

Waris Dirie

1965-, Somali model, author, social activist

Roberta Bondar

1945-, first Canadian female astronaut

Jane Goodall

1934-, British primatologist, UN Messenger of Peace