If you were at the Ninth Triennial Gathering in Charlotte last summer, you might have been among the 700-plus women who attended the screening of the film “Miss Representation” by Jennifer Seibel Newsom. “Miss Representation” shows the role the media play in framing our views that a woman’s worth and achievements come from being young, beautiful and sexy.
The collective sigh of the audience at the close of the film was a sad recognition that, yes, this is what we have allowed the media to do. In the discussion questions that followed, we talked about ways we could respond.
So, enter now a Facebook posting I saw a few weeks ago for Tree Change Dolls. Newly trademarked, Tree Change Dolls™ were born from the creative mind of artist, scientist and young mom Sonia Singh, who lives in Tasmania, the island state that is part of Australia.
The Tree Change Dolls Facebook page and website tell that for several months Sonia has been occupied finding and refurbishing (or “rescuing and rehabilitating” as she puts it) discarded fashion dolls (especially Bratz) to provide a “tree change” new lifestyle for them by “swapping their high-maintenance high-fashion habits for down-to-earth style.”
Under Sonia’s care, the dolls are transformed to beautiful, wholesome, unadorned and wide-eyed toys worthy of energizing the play and imagination of young girls as they dream their futures. As inspiration, Sonia credits her own childhood adventures lived out with second-hand dolls.
Because of the great response she’s received, Sonia now sells the dolls on Etsy just as quickly as she is able to restock them. Most amazingly, she’s not hoarding the secret to her success, but freely offers instructional do-it-yourself videos on how anyone can recycle and repurpose dolls to a new kind of life.
It’s a fascinating story, and there’s a YouTube video if you’d like to know more. I invite you also to follow the dolls on Facebook and other social media.
Just a refreshing reminder of how, one ripple at a time, we can be repairers of the breach in the most unexpected ways.
“Your ancient ruins shall be rebuilt; you shall raise up the foundations of many generations; you shall be called the repairer of the breach, the restorer of streets to live in.” (Isaiah 58:12, theme verse from Women of the ELCA’s Ninth Triennial Gathering)
Becky Shurson, of Yucaipa, Calif., is serving as secretary of the churchwide women’s organization for the 2014-2017 triennium.
Photo by Sonia Singh, the creator and copyright holder of the images on her Tree Change Dolls Facebook page. Used with permission for one-time use.