More than just play things, the toys that children interact with help to shape their sense of identity as they grow up. Particularly relevant are the dolls that little girls (and boys!) have access to, so it’s been wonderful to see the development of an alternative toy market with dolls like Baby Thando and Momppy Mpoppy hitting the local market. In America, artist Crystal Kaye has once again highlighted the importance of representing diversity and showing how beauty comes in a variety of packages, not just the blonde haired, blue eyed Barbie dolls that many of us grew up with.
Kay Customz aims to educate children about skin color in a positive way, selling hand-painted dolls that have varied pigmentation. Kaye has created dolls with red hair and freckles, others with albinism, with many of her dolls painted to imitate vitiligo, a long-term condition caused by the lack of melanin, where pale white patches develop on the skin. Kayes dolls are truly beautiful, showing every little girl how to see the beauty in themselves! Let’s hope that the big toy sellers pick up on these trends that may seem a bit trivial, but in reality are so very important for the healthy development of our children!