Sonia Singh is an artist from Tasmania who was troubled with how Bratz dolls looked. These dolls are marketed to young girls, but have a glammed up look that is usually sported by adult women. So Sonia decided to change things herself and began modifying these dolls, giving them a child-like, innocent quality that she believes they deserve.
Remodeling the dolls
“These Bratz dolls have been rescued and rehabilitated from op-shops and tip shops around Tasmania. These little dolls for girls have opted for a ‘tree change,’ swapping high-maintenance glitz ‘n’ glamour for the down-to-earth style. I repaint the dolls faces by hand, mold new shoes, and my Mum sews and knits their clothing… I love the satisfaction of repairing and reusing discarded, though still cute, dolls to give them a new lease on life,” Sonia says, as reported by Bored Panda.
Sonia notes that she and her sisters grew up with homemade and second-hand toys. She likes the satisfaction she receives from repairing discarded dolls and making them usable, essentially giving life to things that would have been left as waste. Sonia began remodeling the dolls as a private project. But after she posted some images of her work online, she became instantly famous and found that the social media attention was a bit more than what she could handle. However, the Tasmanian artist did learn something crucial — that you can actually end up influencing the world even if you have no intention to.
In a TV program that covered Sonia’s work, one kid notes that the original dolls kind of looked crazy from the dark makeup and giant lips. Another girl found Sonia’s remade toys nicer to play with and thought that the dolls actually looked like they were the same age as her. Sonia began recycling dolls after losing her job at CSIRO. Her hobby soon grew to become a decent source of income. She started selling her dolls through the online marketplace Etsy. In 2015, Sonia won the community choice prize at the Etsy Awards. Sonia does not have any plans for turning her hobby into some kind of big business. However, she does admit that she would be happy if her work makes the toy companies rethink the design of their dolls.
Bratz is an American line of dolls created by Carter Bryant and manufactured by MGA Entertainment. Introduced in 2001, there were originally four dolls named Yasmin, Jade, Sasha, and Cloe, each of them featuring lush lips and almond-shaped eyes. By 2006, the company had captured around 40 percent of the fashion dolls’ international market, posing a big threat to the domination of Barbie dolls. One factor that contributed to the immense popularity of the Bratz dolls was that the lineup featured all types of ethnicities — Caucasian, Latin, Asian, and African.
Shortly after their introduction, the dolls attracted negative attention from several quarters. Some parents thought that the dolls were too raunchy for young girls, especially due to their revealing clothes and luscious lips. In 2007, the American Psychological Association actually raised concerns about Bratz dolls causing body image issues among young girls as well as oversexualizing them. The original version of these dolls was 10 inches tall. Following the success of the dolls, the company introduced 6-inch versions targeted at kids.