The artist and mother stepped up because ”educating children is the way to erase the stigma behind it.’
Though Barbie’s a cherished and iconic toy the world over, its status as such has prompted many to demand that the doll’s manufacturer get with the times. The doll is and continues to be an aspiration for many girls, and though Mattel has addressed that idea somewhat, it’s clear they still have a long way to go to reflect the realities of being a girl or woman in today’s world.
To the company’s credit, they’ve made an effort with their Fashionista line which presents Barbie as women present themselves in the world: in different shapes, skin tones, hairstyles, and clothing. That said, many claim that the line is a half-measure, kept distinct from the more traditional Barbies so as not to tarnish the brand of the towering, skinny blonde that the name has come to represent.
Though Barbie has had many jobs and undertaken many roles over the years, Mattel has failed to acknowledge that Barbie could one day become a mother who breastfeeds. Upset with the glacial pace Mattel has undertaken to get with the times, Australian mom and artist Betty Strachan has taken it upon herself to show Barbie breastfeeding.
For the past four years Strachan has repainted and modified Barbie dolls as a hobby, making them more realistic and human. Now, she’s creating a one-off line of pieces that she calls “Mamas Worldwide Barbie,” and people are applauding the effort and the product.
Here are just a few of the dolls in the project:
You can see countless more, as well as representations of girls that include some with braces, acne, and most every other aesthetic annoyance people face in their adolescence, on her bountiful Instagram feed.
Says Betty to The Huffington Post about her most recent endeavor, "The decision to make a breastfeeding doll didn’t come consciously. I’m a member of a mothers’ group that’s comprised of very lovely and supportive women. I remember one day, I was drawing the new face on a Barbie doll, and she just seemed to be the embodiment of the entire group."
Though she might not be a full-fledged factory (though a glance at her Instagram pics shows how prolific she really is), it sounds like her work is reaching her target audience. She says, "Most of the sales I’ve made have gone to mothers with children, and I’ve received a few pictures of happy customers playing with their dolls."
To that point, if you’d like to acquire one of these creations, you can support Betty by visiting her Etsy shop where she offers the Mamas Worldwide and other dolls for sale.