Why Do Girls Love Dolls That Look Like Them?
Inspired by this piece about one writer's emotional attachment to her American Girl dolls, we got to thinking about how and why girls choose the dolls they do. Does every little girl just want to play with a miniature plastic version of herself, or does she relate to a doll's "character backstory"?
In the latest edition of the Work Wives podcast from Glamour, we dig into doll culture and, as cohost Laurel Pinson puts it, the idea of a doll's making a young girl feel seen in the world. Want proof? Watch her favorite Internet tearjerker video, featuring a young girl receiving a modified doll with a prosthetic leg.
Is that not the best thing?
The market for "specialty" (a.k.a. non-cis/het/white/thin/able-bodied) dolls has exploded in recent years as more parents demand doll diversity for their kids. At Glamour magazine's Women of the Year summit, Barbie gave model Ashley Graham a custom doll with her own body proportions. Naturally Perfect Dolls, founded by Angelica Sweeting, makes dolls with a wider variety of hair styles and textures than you might find in your average toy aisle. Kateri Benjamin spoke to Sweeting about the company, who said it was important for girls to be able to play with hair that felt like their own and see facial features that looked like their own. The original Angelica doll is modeled on Sweeting's and her daughter's own; it's not just a "white" face dyed darker. Naturally Perfect is continuing to expand its line by offering more textures, more features, and more skin tones, and next year the company will also make available dolls wearing hijabs.
To hear all about dolls, then and now, check out "The American Girl, Today," the latest episode of Glamour magazine's podcast, Work Wives, in which we host a team party to discuss our own experiences. Guests include Anna, who had every single American Girl doll; Lizzie, who can't get rid of hers; Aminata, who ended up grappling with her racial identity at Christmas thanks to dolls; and Jenae, who wasn't allowed an American Girl doll at all but was half-traumatized by the opening chapter in Addy's first book.
More From Glamour:
• Amy Schumer Responds to Trolls Who Think She's "Too Fat" to Play Barbie
• I Still Love My American Girl Dolls. It’s Fine.
• Ashley Graham's Barbie Doll Is Here, and It's Too Perfect for Words
• Listen to "Glamour" Magazine's "Work Wives" Podcast
Photo Credit: MAKERS