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. 

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.

 

  • There should be a Merit Badge for this in Girl Scouts!

    Mark Sunday says:
  • Very good job!! The restyled ones are way more beautiful than these overcoloured ugly grimaces.

    Dirk says:
  • The “standards” of Bratz seem gloomy … great project!

    Fco Abarca says:
  • I don’t really see your point though. You say it’s a “make-under” but legit the eyes aren’t even the same shape anymore. Turning a slanted eye into a circle and then proceeding to size down the lips isn’t really removing makeup, it’s reconstructing the entire face. My thing is: what’s exactly wrong with makeup? When I was younger I adored makeup (although didn’t wear it) and never saw bratz as something I needed to be. Like what beauty standards are they trying to set? They’re clearly very cartoon based dolls considering the big heads and big feet. That brings me to something else: the feet. The tree change dolls lack big feet but have big heads so I’m curious as to why that is? If the big feet are setting bad beauty standards why are the heads any different? Along with this, why do all the tree change dolls have that same perfect skin, 50’s look going on? Half these kids the makers are marketing them towards are surely not wearing polka dot dresses with white collars. Which confuses me as I thought these make unders were supposed to define beauty and gender stereotypes. Why don’t they stick to how the eye and lips shapes were and actually add imperfections like blemishes, marks, acne, etc. Oh and may I finally add, Bratz were never marketed as “kids”. Which is why a seperate bratz kids line was released. They’re supposed to be teens, not kids. If you’re going to bash Bratz and Barbie at least admit where Tree Change doesn’t add up and what they’re actually doing wrong.

    Cosmic says:

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