So many children grow up with a cherished toy that is a source of comfort and joy. The idea that these playthings can play a role in the development of our identity is something that artist Wendy Tsao chose to explore by remaking a series of manufactured dolls into portrayals of inspirational real-life women. Through her work in Child’s Own Studio, Tsao is familiar with the ins and outs of the toy industry, and was motivated to start this venture after coming across Sonia Singh's Tree Change Dolls, a collection of Bratz dolls reformed into more natural and realistic models (previously featured here).
What little girl doesn't have a beloved doll that they spend hours dressing up and talking to? Yet so many of the dolls that are currently available are overly sexualized, unrealistic versions of what a women really is, or instead are modeled after Disney characters and Hollywood actresses that “capitalize on the pull of fantasy and fiction to young consumers.” Tsao opted to create figures inspired by real women with stories of intelligence, strength, and courage. The idea behind the project is to emulate a woman who has made a difference in the world, simply by being themselves, proving to be a much better role model for little girls to strive for.
What inspiring figure would you like to see in doll form?
Above: Malala Yousafzai, 1997-, Pakistani activist, youngest Nobel Prize laureate
“We must tell girls their voices are important.” ~ Malala Yousafzai
Frida Kahlo, 1907-1954, Mexican painter
“I paint my own reality. The only thing I know is that I paint because I need to, and I paint whatever passes through my head without any other consideration.” ~ Frida Kahlo
Jane Goodall, 1934- , British primatologist, UN Messenger of Peace
“I thought my life was mapped out. Research, living in the forest, teaching and writing. But in ’86 I went to a conference and realised the chimpanzees were disappearing. I had worldwide recognition and a gift of communication. I had to use them.” ~ Jane Goodall
Waris Dirie, 1965-, model, author, social activist
“If you can survive in the desert, you survive anywhere. I know more than anything life in desert. You can tell by looking at the dirt how long ago it rained, how hard it rained, how much water came through. You can (know) by looking at a plant, a tree, from an animal’s look. I can read the desert like I read my hand.” ~ Waris Dirie
Roberta Bondar, 1945- , first female Canadian astronaut
“To fly in space is to see the reality of Earth, alone. The experience changed my life and my attitude toward life itself. I am one of the lucky ones.” ~ Roberta Bondar
J.K. Rowling, 1965-, British novelist best known for Harry Potter series
“It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all, in which case you have failed by default.” ~ J.K. Rowling