By Shelby Brooks
SICK of seeing young children play with glamorous, unrealistic looking dolls, two Loch kindergarten teachers decided to do something about it.
Inspired by Sonia Singh’s Tree Change Dolls in Tasmania, Diane Wilshaw of Leongatha and Sandra Morton-Pedersen of Outtrim decided to give Bratz dolls a make-under.
The dolls, which are no longer produced, have high-fashion looks with heavy makeup, but once Sandra and Diane are done with them, they look more child-like and down-to-earth.
“I saw Sonia on the TV and approached Diane about doing it for our kinder kids to play with,” Sandra said.
Sandra re-paints the dolls’ faces to look simpler and more homely and the dolls get new outfits, crocheted by Diane.
A hit with kids and parents alike, Diane and Sandra decided to sell their dolls to the wider community.
After working the market circuit for about a year, Diane and Sandra mainly sell the dolls through their Facebook page, Village Dolls.
“The dolls come really dressed up and unrealistic. We want children to play with dolls that look like them,” Sandra said.
“Children don’t see it as wrong when they are as Bratz dolls but when they see the more relatable dolls, they connect with them more.”
“The kids play with them differently than when the dolls are glammed up like a teenager. It really dictates the way they play,” Diane added.
“The dolls have started bigger conversations about body image.”
The pair think they’ve transformed about 200 dolls in the three and a half years they have been doing it, mainly sourced from donations, scavenged from op-shop or bought in bulk from eBay.