Posts tagged #acceptance

The Diversification of Dolls

2016 is looking to be a banner year in terms of diversity, at least when it comes to tiny plastic people. 

Mattel has just announced they will be rolling out new Barbie® dolls throughout 2016 that will offer "choices that are better reflective of the world they see today". Each Fashionistas™ doll will come in one of four body types: curvy, petite, tall and original and the line will include 7 skin tones, 18 eye colors and hairstyles.

Screenshot from Mattel.com that displays variety of dolls being released throughout 2016

Screenshot from Mattel.com that displays variety of dolls being released throughout 2016

I applaud this foray into creating playthings that reflect the real world in which we live. By including minorities and different sized dolls, the children who play with them will more likely feel themselves and their friends and family better represented. This can have a beneficial impact on their self-esteem as it relates to their place in the world in general. Like seeing people who are similar to their own physical and racial type such as models in fashion campaigns and actors on the big screen, having toys that reflect an inclusive society will acknowledge the world is a massive place with an endless variety of 'types' and each belongs and is worthy of having and realizing their dreams.  

Barbie wasn't the first doll to come on the marketplace that reflects a real woman. Lammily introduced their dolls last year after a long but fruitful crowd funding campaign. The response indicated how desperately the public wanted a realistic fashion doll and I suppose the powers that be at Mattel took notice.

Last year, Lammily also introduced a 'Period Party Kit' that includes an educational pamphlet, a pair of panties, a calendar with dot stickers and 15 reusable pads and liner stickers.  The goal was to start an open and positive conversations about the often taboo subject of periods. 

Screen shot from Lammily.com highlighting contents of their 'Period Party Kit'

Screen shot from Lammily.com highlighting contents of their 'Period Party Kit'

Not exactly a fashion doll company, but American Girl has been around since 1986 and they've always offered a variety of dolls in different hair, eyes and skin colours that reflect the diversity found within the world. 

A sampling of American Girl's Truly Me™ Doll line. 

A sampling of American Girl's Truly Me™ Doll line. 

This year, for the first time, they are selling a Diabetes Care Kit for Dolls after being inspired by a petition from Anja Busse, now 13, who suffers from the disease and wanted a doll that truly is "like her". This kit has won rave reviews from parents, teachers and health professionals and is a testament to how far the company will go to acknowledge and produce toys that are realistic. 

Screenshot from AmericanGirl.com

Screenshot from AmericanGirl.com

This trend is empowering to all girls as not only can they find a lifelike version of themselves but the diverse selection available in the doll aisle will highlight the diversity of the general population which will hopefully lead to more inclusive and tolerant young women. 

International Day of Acceptance

Today is the 7th annual International Day of Acceptance. 

It all began in 2007 when Annie Hopkins made the above symbol as a tool for others to embrace diversity, educate society, and empower each other to love life. Annie was a vibrant young woman with spinal muscular atrophy but didn't ever want her disability to limit her. Before her untimely passing in 2009 she was an advocate, entrepreneur, artist, and student, who fully demonstrated what is possible when you love life. You can find out more about her life and the social entrepreneurial experiment she started here.

As I mentioned briefly in a previous post, my beloved mother-in-law Carlota has recently been paralyzed from the waist down for reasons unknown. She is still in the hospital but will soon be released to a rehabilitation centre in the Toronto area to learn how best to manage her life to regain as much independence as possible. Carlota is a feisty 80-year-old woman who until this past fall could be found running a large rice and mango ranch in Peru when not in Canada visiting her 5 children and 13 grandchildren. She had so much energy she unintentionally but honestly made me feel guilty sometimes for not being able to match her in vim and vigour and downright lust for life. Whenever we spoke on the phone she was ALWAYS laughing and overflowing with positivity. Indeed, that spirit remains unbroken and her grit and gumption is a testament to her beautiful soul. During the first few weeks in hospital, when her children were understandably devastated and angry, Carlota looked at her new situation as a challenge and an adventure and urged her family to do the same. 

Carlota's first husband and the father of her children died 40 years ago, leaving her a widow with 5 kids age 15 and under (4 of them boys). She found herself in a difficult situation made harder because she spoke broken english and had been living a life of relative luxury prior to her husbands death. She, however, remained undefeated, picked up any jobs she could get and raised those children to all be loving, responsible and successful citizens who love their mother more than anything in the world. She never found any work beneath her saying that "there is no shame in hard work". She has been proof in my life that the power of love is stronger than anything else in the universe. It transcends time and distance and can warm you on the coldest days and give you light and hope in the darkest nights.  I have been witness to it over the years, time and time again, and even more so now that her love is coming back to her through her family. Each of her grown children visits her every single day and makes sure she is being taken care of, has her favourite foods, plenty to read and everything she could possibly need to make her hospital stay as painless as possible. 

It's all too true that many things in life don't mean that much to the average person until they are directly affected by it. That is true for me and my family now that somebody we love dearly is disabled. We have begun to notice the many obstacles in her way (literally, as many older establishments are not disabled friendly) and emotionally and socially. So, on this day, and every day moving forward I hope to find myself more accepting and benevolent to all the brave and disabled souls in my community.

I hope you will too. 

Nobody knows what the future holds for any of us. Let me leave you with the idea that you should embrace what you have for as long as you have it.  Run free while your legs are strong. Enjoy yoga while you body is still supple and compliant. Swim. Give big and hearty hugs to those you love. Appreciate the little things because they truly are the big things and never miss an opportunity to

dance!

Diverse is Beautiful

The current issue of NOW magazine is truly a beautiful thing. It's their 'Love Your Body' issue but it takes the concept to a new and daring level that fills my heart with hope. 

The writers (Sabrina Maddeaux, Jonathan Goldsbie, Susan G. Cole, Glenn Sumi and Natalia Mazocca) don't talk about trying to change people and make 2016 better than the year before. Instead they discuss that "the new year should be a time for positivity and celebration" and that should include celebrating who you are right now, not who you want to be. 

To reach this end, the 13-page spread includes profiles and photographs (all by Tanja-Tiziana) of brave and naked people of all varieties of sizes, colours, age, gender and ability. 

I have always been a proud Torontonian and the staff of NOW have taken that pride to a whole new level. I profoundly appreciate how inclusive and diverse and tolerant the people of this great city are and this exceptional article highlights that proficiently, not to mention encouraging us all to love ourselves right now, as we are, flaws and all.  

If you live in the GTA, I urge you to pick up a copy of this free newspaper, but hurry; this issue will be gone within a day or two. (Sorry for the late notice but I just picked mine up this morning.)

Note - The horoscopes are pretty awesome too, not to mention the always thorough club and concert listings. 

Posted on January 13, 2016 .