Dolls for Transgender Children

All children need to play with dolls, no matter their gender identification.

For the youngest children, dolls provide cuddle and comfort. For toddlers, dolls make great ‘security objects’ — that touch of the familiar that they can carry with them as they start to explore the world around them.

But most importantly, dolls help children to learn to nurture; they become your child’s own ‘children’ to love and to care for. It’s one of the first skills a child learns.

Make no mistake — the best mothers and fathers 20 years from now, are the ones learning how to nurture today… by way of doll play.

This is as true for little girls as it is for little boys. Neither nurture nor love is dependent on a child’s ‘gender.’

Fritzi Doll

Fritzi, a gender neutral doll for boys, girls and transgender children.

This is also true for transgender children. Sometimes, God puts the mind and the soul of one gender into the body of the other. Sometimes it is temporary, and you get the ‘tomboy’ girls and the ‘princess’ boys. Sometimes it is permanent and in adulthood they will undertake the transition. But regardless of any label, children need dolls to love and nurture.

Recently we started carrying a new kind of doll. A gender neutral doll. Neither ‘pink aisle’ nor ‘blue aisle,’ Fritzi is the perfect doll for boys, girls, tomboys, princesses, gay, lesbian, or transgender. Whichever gender role that child needs their doll to fill, Fritzi can be that doll. The child can project a gender onto the doll, or leave it ambiguous, or even change it from one to the other as he or she sees fit. The name is gender-neutral, the clothes are gender-neutral, the doll is gender-neutral. Imagination is the key determiner.

Unfortunately, dolls need to be placed in one aisle or another in the toy store. But for the parents who are willing to think outside of the ‘pink aisle is where you find dolls’ mindset, we are happy to present an alternative. A doll that any child can identify as being of the ‘right’ gender.

Why I Don’t Like Lamilly Dolls

Lammily Dolls at Toy FairI admire and respect Nikolay Lamm. He’s an entrepreneur and creative who successfully launched his own company making dolls. Good for him.  I just don’t like his dolls.

Lammily Ethnic dolls

Lamilly dolls were designed using the average proportions of a 19 year old American girl.

Why?

Because there are people who believe that somehow the proportions of a doll affects a child’s self image. The example most often used is Barbie – somehow, by playing with a Barbie when she is young, that girl’s self image/body image will be skewed as an adult.

I don’t agree.

Lamilly Acne

But Lammily dolls go even further… Lammilly marks. Stickers that children can put on the dolls to make them even more real. Like acne (pictured above). And moles and stitches and glasses and stretch marks.

In my opinion that goes beyond wrong, and verges on hurtful. Do real 19 year olds have acne and stitches and stretch marks? Yes… but I have never met a single woman in my whole life who hasn’t done her absolute best to hide those marks.

I don’t think playing with a Barbie will make a little girl hate her body when she grows up. But I do think that a little girl who is given a Lammilly doll with an acne sticker is going to hope to God she doesn’t look like her doll when she’s 19.

I don’t think Barbies or Bratz or Monster High dolls can make a child fearful of her future, but I think a Lammilly doll could.

Based on a song: the ‘One Love’ doll

One Love DollFor the past two weeks we’ve been posting on ‘where dolls come from.’
In honor of Valentine’s Day coming up this week I’d like to mention one of my favorite
exceptions: the One Love doll.

 

Most dolls start in a doll manufacturer’s design studio, first as concepts and then drawings and designs.

 

Another common start for a doll’s journey is in the pages of a book… think Winnie the Pooh, Raggedy Ann or Peter Rabbit as examples.

 

But what makes the ‘One Love’ doll so unique, is that as far as I know, she is the only doll whose origins were inspired by the lyrics of a song!

 

The song was ‘One Love’ by Bob Marley. Bob Marley’s daughter then wrote a sweet little children’s book based on her dad’s song, and it was illustrated by Vanessa Brantley-Newton.

 

And that’s how this adorable little doll came to be. Song lyrics!

 

As you can see, she has a Valentine’s Day red dress decorated with polka dot hearts and  the words One Love. Want to get a ‘One Love’ doll for someone you love? click here to go to her page on our site.

Christmas Decorating with Dolls

'The Grinch' doll by Manhattan Toy

‘The Grinch’ doll by Manhattan Toy

Before you groan and moan about how ‘early’ I am –posting about Christmas and Dolls — I would like to gently remind you that The Pattycake Doll Company is an etailer of dolls, and as such, our Christmas Sales period starts in October.

I don’t mean that we decide to have sales in October, I mean that we see a huge uptick in business starting in October, and in the next eight weeks we will sell more dolls than in the preceding 44 weeks!

And about 10% of our customers are already buying our ‘Santa’s Sack’ gift wrapping service as well. So it’s not just us… our customers are ‘there’ too. Christmas has started at the Pattycake Doll Company!

 

Perhaps you’ve never considered dolls as ‘Holiday Decor,’ perhaps you’ve only thought of dolls as gifts for children or collectors.

But for our family, when the holidays roll around, we decorate the office with Christmas Themed dolls, and our favorite is The Grinch!

Just about everybody who walks into our office goes over and picks him up or has a comment. He’s really popular. The UPS man bought one (at a discount of course), a couple of visiting sales ladies asked if they could ‘get themselves a Grinch,’ and of course I get asked a bazillion times if I have him out as a warning that I’m some kind of a Grouch/Grinch myself!

I’m not trying to suggest that you rush right over to our site to buy one, (although I wouldn’t complain), but just wanted you to think it over… Would you decorate your house for the holidays with dolls?

PS: We carry Max the Dog and Cindy Lou Who as well, but we don’t put them ‘out.’ They’re popular with the kids as dolls, but not really popular as decor.

Breaking the ‘Doll’ color barrier

There’s no really nice way to say it, so I’ll just blurt it out: It’s a crying shame that with 50% of American kids now ‘non-white’ ethnically, it’s still about 100% White in the children’s doll design and manufacturing world.

The numbers are a lot better in the ‘Art Doll’ world, but the Toy Industry as a whole is still pretty much ‘lily white.’

There are exceptions of course, and one, ‘The One World Doll Project,’ is the subject of today’s post.

the Doll designer Stacey McBride

Me with Stacey McBride

The One World Doll Project makes dolls of color. Beautiful Dolls. They’re a young company as far as how long they’ve been in production, so currently there are only two dolls available: Lena, an African American doll, and Valencia, an Hispanic doll (whose back story has her hailing from Mexico City.) In the pipeline are dolls from Africa and India.

Prettie Girl Doll Lena

Prettie Girl Doll Lena

Prettie Girl dolls are built to the 11½ inch fashion doll scale, so there are literally thousands of additional outfits and accessories available for them.

What makes the Prettie Girls special is that they are designed by a woman of color, to represent women of color – for little girls. They have individual personalities and ‘ethnic looks,’ as opposed to the mass produced Barbie Dolls® and her cloned sisters. No one in their right mind would ever expect to meet a woman who looked like Barbie on the street. I see women who look like the Prettie Girl dolls every day. That’s huge in my book.

Seriously, walk down any major Toy ‘Big Box’ retailer… you’ll find plenty of Black  Barbies and her clones. But they all look alike. Prettie Girls look only like themselves, and are beautiful at that. I sincerely hope that this new doll company becomes a tremendous success. Absolutely nothing against Barbie mind you… I’m just a little tired of her ‘look,’ and ready to see real ‘Dolls of Color’ and especially ‘Doll Companies of Color’ take the stage.

Prettie Girl Doll Valencia

Prettie Girl Doll Valencia

Disclosure Notice: The Pattycake Doll Company, as of the date of this post, does carry and sell Prettie Girl dolls. We were not paid nor asked to do this review. It is as the largest Ethnic Doll site on the internet, and as authors of this blog about ‘Dolls and the Doll industry,’ that we wrote this post as a comment on the industry.

Doll Review: Hot in the wrong way

I saw this story about a recalled doll today: Wal-Mart Recalls 174,000 Dolls Over Burn Risk.

And pardon the pun, ‘it burned my butt.’ You see I think Barbie dolls are great, and totally disagree with the feminists and other carpers who insist that playing with a Barbie Doll is harmful to a little girl’s psyche.

And then I see this doll, which is a Walmart exclusive and sold 174,000 in two years.

To quote the article: The 16-inch doll is packaged with a toy medical check-up kit. The doll babbles when she gets “sick” and her cheeks turn red and she starts coughing. Using the medical kit pieces cause the symptoms to stop.

recalled wal-mart doll

recalled: UPC Code: 6-04576-16800-5 Date code on tag: starts with WM

A doll that heats up? Whose cheeks turn red? Who can be ‘cured’ by playing using the medical pieces? In my humble opinion, this doll is much worse than a Barbie.

First of all, (And I am guessing here) this doll apparently only came in ‘white.’ I make that assumption because there is only one UPC code being recalled. If there were a Black version of this doll, it should have had a different UPC. If I am guessing correctly, I find that kind of insulting.

Second: The package is marked ages three and up. Which means the accessories are going to get lost. Which means at some point you’re going to have a doll that can never be cured? Coughs until her batteries run out? What kind of message does that send to kids?

Don’t get me wrong… I know this is commenting on someone else’s misfortune… and of course I am writing this post ‘in hindsight.’ I am not a Walmart hater. I know that as a professional retail doll buyer, if I had been shown this doll, I might have said ‘great idea’ too. (Although I would have wanted the ethnic version, because that’s what we sell at The Pattycake Doll Company.) I know darn well that the buyer at Walmart would never have knowingly wanted to potentially burn a child.

To paraphrase Kermit the Frog “It’s not easy being a doll buyer.”