A toy brand has caused controversy among parents who claim it promotes gender stereotypes with its range of ‘fashion dolls’ with interchangable wigs and accessories.
Swiss brand I’M A GIRLY launches in the UK this month, and claims its mission is to ‘create strong role models and inspire children to live out their individual ideas and fantasies’.
However, blogger Donna Wishart from Surrey was not impressed, tweeting: ‘More like it reinforces and already existing massive gender stereotype that we’re trying to steer away from.’
‘Whilst they may wish to empower girls, calling the doll I’M A GIRLY is not going to cut it I’m afraid,’ another added of the range that’s supposedly aimed at both boys and girls, aged four to 16.
The range includes five fashion dolls such as Jasmine who is a ‘full-time dreamer and adores everything that glitters’, and children can change their doll’s look with a range of wigs, outfits and accessories, with new products available every season.
A spokesperson for the brand told MailOnline: ‘I’M A GIRLY believes it is important to work with children of both genders in the design of the dolls to express how they want to play.
Swiss doll brand I’M A GIRLY launches in the UK this month featuring five fashion dolls whose hairstyles can be changed with wigs, with new clothing collections dropping every season. However, some parents have claimed the brand promotes negative gender stereotypes
I’M A GIRLY launched two new dolls with darker skin earlier this month, and has been praised by parents for promoting diversity in the toy industry
‘The products and designs across the I’M A GIRLY range were developed by a “Kids4Kids” team – a design panel made up of girls and boys aged 9 to 13.
‘The fashion dolls have been created with natural proportions and varying skin tones, encouraging inclusion and creative play for children up to early adolescence, therefore moving even further away from the gender stereotyping of previous fashion dolls.’
Despite concern expressed by some parents, the brand has endeavoured to balance a love of fashion with ambition in the dolls’ characters.
For instance the brand’s website states that fashion doll Lucy, who is passionate about music and can also speak four languages, would one day love to write her own music or be an astronaut.
Despite the brand’s mission to ‘create strong role models’, some critics have claimed that the name and aesthetic promotes gender stereotypes
The brand is also keen to champion diversity and introduced two new dolls with darker skin last month, Jasmine and Kayla.
An Instagram fan commented: ‘LOVE what your brand is doing, we need more of these examples in the toy industry! #diversity’.
The brand also strives to be eco-friendly and has designed its packaging so that it can be re-used as a wardrobe for the doll’s accessories to minimise waste.
However, some critics claim the brand doesn’t go far enough to challenge gender stereotypes by creating a range of dolls so focused on fashion.
‘I know there are children that would love it and I didn’t expect it to be gender neutral, but they could have a less ‘girly’ name and dolls who strive for more than clothes and make-up, that’s all,’Donna said.
The brand releases new clothing collections to coincide with the seasons for times a year, with more than 150 new accessories in each drop.
However, another mother a
Some of its recently launched ranges include unicorn pyjamas, metallic swimsuits and fluffy backpacks.
Theresia Le Battistini, founder of I’M A GIRLY, said she set up the brand after having her daughter as she realised there wasn’t much variety in the doll market or products that kept up with the latest trends.
‘This is when I decided to bring to life my vision of I’M A GIRLY and bridge the gap between childhood and adolescence, with the aim to empower and inspire children to express their creative and individual ideas and expand their imagination.
‘We’re so excited to have finally launched in the UK and can’t wait to continue to launch with amazing new dolls, clothes and accessories that we have in the pipeline for 2019.’