In the messed up world we live in, the ideal of perfect skin is shoved down our throats. From a young age, when we played with Barbie, we saw that white, spotless skin was the epitome of beauty. Racial diversity significantly lacked, with the closest to diversity being the '90s' favourite (but also pretty creepy) doll range, Cabbage Patch Kids. Aside from that, white, thin and beautiful were the prevalent ideals on the toy market, sending the message to kids the world over that unless you looked like that, you didn't make the cut.
Fast forward to 2017, where toy companies are becoming more progressive in terms of ethnicities, shapes and sizes, but even then, there are children missing out on feeling like they look like anything available on the market. But not for long.
Doll designer Kay Black and founder of Kay Customz is making dolls that have otherwise never been seen before on the toy market. Most notably, she's creating dolls for children who live with rare skin conditions, such as vitiligo, and the Internet is going crazy for them. Vitiligo is a skin condition whereby the pigment-producing cells die or stop working properly, which makes the skin appear to change colour. Black has been creating custom dolls to identically match the beautiful patterns created by the condition on their bodies, encouraging children to glorify and celebrate their difference, rather than being ashamed of it.
It's scary to think that kids can't escape the beauty standards that us adults put up with and try to break out of on a regular basis. The toys, games, TV shows, and even people, that they engage with from a young age sculpt their mindset, which means that it's important for them to have access to more that celebrates diversity and presents beauty as more than a single packaged ideal. Kids should feel represented properly and shouldn't have the dolls that they play with serve as a constant reminder that they're different. This is something that the toy market as a whole is working on, with companies designing dolls that reflect the true diversity of society, and the progress that it's making is vital for the way that children grow up feeling about themselves.
The toy industry still has a long way to go to ensure that all children feel included, but this is a pretty great start.