The toy and game industry isn’t exactly a widely representative industry. There are a number of campaigns to remove the gender distinction from toys and to represent children’s interests, which are deeper than “boy” or girl.”
But another issue with today’s toys is that they don’t represent the multitudes of differences between individual kids. Toy Like Me, a Facebook campaign in the UK recently called for greater representation of children with disabilities. In response, the UK doll-maker Makies began producing accessories for their dolls, including hearing aids and canes, and developed a special doll with a birthmark.
Makie dolls are made-to-order dolls designed to look like their new owners and are available in both girl and boy characters. Gift givers can enter “Advanced Mode” to customize the doll down to the “ferocity” of its eyebrows (naturally the doll I created had incredibly ferocious eyebrows).
According to an article in Metro UK, Makies is currently developing a character with a wheelchair and hopes to develop a system for creating custom facial characteristics—meaning parents will soon be able to create a doll with the same birthmarks as their children!
While this is a victory for many, the Toy Like Me campaign is continuing to push for companies like Hasbro, Mattel, and other big companies to step up their representation, too.