when journalist jill lepore wrote an article for the new yorker investigating the recent legal spat between barbie and bratz she probably didn’t expect an 11-year-old to respond, exposing a pretty fantastic way young girls are interacting with their toys. DIY doll construction, AKA doll hacking, sees the faces of bratz dolls repainted in a ‘down-to-earth-style’, taking control over the beauty standards sold to young girls in the form of barbies and bratz. 

doll hacking redefines beauty standards of barbies and bratz

image courtesy of sonia singh, creator of tree change dollsvia instagram



11-year-old violette skilling defines the process in her response to the article: ‘I never wanted a barbie or a bratz doll until I discovered doll reconstruction. what you do is erase the features of the doll with nail-polish remover, and then remove the hair and make other body modifications.’


then you give the doll a new face, new hair, and new clothing. (my favorite part is ripping out the hair, which is very therapeutic.) what I like about doll reconstruction is that I am in control. I can make them pretty, or not‘, she continues. ‘the two dolls that I have reconstructed represent two parts of me: one nerdy and very unfashionable, and one strong and cool. I make up their stories, and they represent my passions, my hopes, and my feelings.’


video by the feed



beyond apparently very intelligent young girls doll hacking is actually a thing. ex-scientist sonia singh has made quite an impression doing it, recycling, repairing and upcycling often forgotten and discarded dolls in way that redefines their well manicured beauty. displaying the results on her blog, a profile of singh on youtube has been viewed more than 20 million times. she sells a pdf guide to doll re-styling on etsy, and you can find tutorials for removing your doll’s ‘factory paint’on youtube.