I made peace with Barbie quite a few years ago. She was banned from my childhood – instead my mother steered me toward the less anatomically extreme Daisy doll. My own daughter went through a very short Barbie phase, and while I let Barbie and her many pink accessories into our home, I drew the line at Bratz dolls.
When it comes to toys in general and dolls in particular, my theory has always been that I like them to have as many possibilities for creative play as possible. So I was never that keen on toys connected to a movie, because what else can you play apart from games connected to that particular movie? Apply that to Bratz dolls with their scary make up and miniscule clothes and I’m not quite sure what games they were meant to inspire. So I was pleased to be introduced to the Tree Change Dolls movement.
Australian Sonia Singh gives a major ‘makeunder’ to dolls (mostly Bratz) that she finds at second hand stores. She cleans off their makeup to give them a more natural appearance and swaps their skimpy outfits for ones hand-knitted and sewn by her mother. The before and after images on the Tree Change Dolls Tumblr pages are amazing.
“I encourage others to recycle and upcycle old dolls and toys,” says Sonia. “There are so many plastic dolls already made that could still be played with and could inspire the creative minds of children with a little attention and creativity. Plastic toys will be around for hundreds of years. Much better they are being played with than in landfill.” Even Bratz dolls deserve a second chance!