A few years ago, I was part of a group in charge of choosing teddy bears to sell at the Moebius Syndrome Conferences. We found that it was actually really, really difficult to find a non-smiling teddy bear! Finally we found a neutral-mouthed teddy bear that we chose.
Makies, a British company, is among a group of advocates and manufacturers embracing the #toylikeme movement – offering customizable 3D printed dolls for sale. I’m actually not really a fan of the heads they use (those eyes are kind of creepy!) but I love the concept.
I probably would have loved more dolls with differences like mine growing up – I was always playing hospital with my Playmobils and loved it when my American Girl dolls came back from the “hospital” (aka with a new head after the hair was beyond repair!) wearing hospital gowns! I don’t think I was necessarily harmed by not having toys that looked like me, but would have loved to have this available to me.
I like that companies are embracing both diversity and customization at the same time – with the advent of technology like 3D printers I really see things like dolls with more involved facial differences being available very soon.
I hope next time I’m seeking a non-smiling teddy bear the toy landscape will be kinder to children with visible differences.