Proud2Bme | #GirlsLikeMarvelToo: Inspiring Mother Creates Superhero Dolls for Daughter

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#GirlsLikeMarvelToo: Inspiring Mother Creates Superhero Dolls for Daughter

By Michelle Zaydlin--“We all have the capacity to be a superhero. In order to become one, you just have to find your unique power or ability and exploit it for the greater good. The cape and mask are optional accessories, but a kind heart is essential” –Robert Clancy

I recall walking through the toy store as a kid with a smile on my face as I got to pick out a new toy for my birthday. Even at a young age, I knew that the pink section with the dolls and jewelry making kits was for girls, and the blue section with the superhero’s and action figures were for the boys. Even though it has been years and much has changed, walking into a toy store still makes me cringe at the gender roles and stereotypes that are taught to children from a young age. While we are moving towards a society where it is more acceptable for boys to play with Easy Bake Ovens and for girls to enjoy playing with Nerf guns, toy stores are far from gender neutral.

Rebecca Millar, an Australian mom, has been experiencing this first hand as she tries to find superhero dolls for her 3-year-old daughter Abigail. While her little girl loves playing with these dolls, they are hard to find, often have to be ordered from specialty websites and can be very expensive. Instead of giving in and just buying the gender-stereotyped dolls found at most toy stores, Rebecca took matters into her own hands; she decided to make her superhero loving daughter the dolls she wanted.

Recently, Abigail asked her mom for a Black Widow doll to add to her set off action figures, but sadly the options were limited as stores didn’t carry this doll and it would cost over $80 to purchase and ship the doll. So, instead Rebecca bought a red-haired doll, cut her hair, tossed her sparkly dress, took some paint and gave the doll a complete makeover, turning the sparkling princess doll into the superhero that her daughter wanted.

Through making her daughter this doll, Rebecca is modeling an important lesson, that anyone can be a superhero. So often society sets stereotypes and roles that we learn to conform to from a young age. Girls are taught to play with dolls and boys are taught to enjoy video games and often when children want toys that cross gender roles, finding these toys can be nearly impossible. Yet, we are all capable of doing the impossible when we put our minds to it, sometimes it just takes motivation, courage and a little bit of creativity.

Superheroes can be important role models for girls as well as for boys. In fact, Wonder Woman, a personal favorite of mine, has served as motivation and inspiration for me by standing for courage and strength. Throughout my life and my journey there have been highs and lows and moments in which I was about ready to throw my hands in and give up. I couldn’t tell you the exact moment or the circumstances in which it began, but one day my dietician looked at me and encouraged me to put on my Wonder Woman suit and to keep fighting even when the battle seemed impossible. Since then, when I face obstacles or feel defeated, I remind myself that I can be like Wonder Woman and am capable of putting on my suit and cape and that I also have the ability to achieve anything I put my mind to.

Throughout creating her own superhero dolls, this is the message that Rebecca sends to her daughter and other girls like her. She teaches them to follow their passions and to not let society dictate how they should think, feel and behave. She teaches them to approach situations from a perspective of creativity and with courage and strength, creating solutions when the obvious answers are far from ideal. Most of all, she teaches them to just be themselves and to embrace that, because, like the superhero dolls they play with now, they are able to achieve and succeed when they put their mind to it. After all, anyone can be a superhero.

About this blogger: Michelle is a graduate of the University of Michigan and is currently a first year medical student at the San Juan Bautista School of Medicine in Caguas, Puerto Rico. Her interests include painting, running, being outdoors and being a student of life. She hopes to pursue a career in pediatric psychiatry with a focus on therapy and a speciality in developmental disabilities and eating disorders. She also strives to change the conversation about mental health and create a supportive environment where people can feel free to express themselves, love themselves and feel confident in their own skin. 

Image courtesy of Twitter/Rebecca Millar

More by Michelle:

The Body Hair Project


Parents and Eating Disorder Recovery

#Don’tJudgeChallenge Does Just The Opposite

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