Each year at the Women and Girls Foundation, we recruit one hundred high school girls to become trained activists and future leaders through our GirlGov program. One of the most beautiful aspects of GirlGov is the diversity of the participants. They represent forty-four different schools and neighborhoods and attend public, private, and charter schools.
If you were to peer into a GirlGov classroom you would see a full spectrum of skin tone and hair styles. Girls with box braids and nubian twists sit alongside young women with hijab, natural hair, and pink hair. The group includes snapchat girls and star basketball players; violinists and poets; our country’s future members of congress, engineers, and Pulitzer Prize winners.
The girls are beautiful and brilliant and completely different from one another. And yet, as a mom, when I walk through the toy aisles, and when I stand in line at the grocery store perusing the covers of fashion magazines, the representations of what a “girl” or “woman” looks like are sadly still extremely limited.
That is why I have been thrilled to see a trend in the creation of dolls for children that represent more realistic, robust, and dynamic ideas of being and beauty.
The most recent of these, is a new line of dolls created by fashion designer and social-impact entrepreneur, Múkami Kinoti Kimotho, called Royelles.
I especially love the name of the collection – Royelles. Unlike the Disney and fairy princesses of the past, Royelles not only redefines what it means to be female royalty, but also serve as a reminder that many young African American women descend from royalty. Royelles can help girls connect to their inner beauty and pique their interest in their families’ heritage.
And not only do young women need to feel more comfortable with their own bodies, they also can use more positive messages representing the diverse beauty of the adult women around them; Mothers, grandmothers, and Aunties who also have echoes of royal lines in their elegant necks and majestic hips. That is why I also appreciate that the Royelles line includes dolls representing girls and mothers.