By Priscilla Wiredu
Posted on August 26, 2021
Representation is important for today’s youth. Seeing someone like them excelling in mainstream media is pivotal in encouraging the future generation to continue to enhance their skills and creativity. Thanks to a Hamilton, Ontario mom’s desire to have representation for her daughters, a toy line was launched to give Black children a face to relate to in the toy aisle.
Herstory Doll is a line of Black, biracial, and African descent dolls catering to Black and brown consumers. They are articulate,18-inch figures with defined facial features, textured hair of different types and different brown skin tones.
Queen Cee, the creator of Herstory, resides in Hamilton, Ontario, and is a mother of five. She first got the idea to create her own doll line after a frustrating trip to the toy store, where she failed to find a doll that resembled her daughter. She states that she tried to teach her daughter about diversity and culture, but found that the Black dolls in stores had a generic look about them, as opposed to the white dolls with various hairstyles, facial features and accessories.
As a singer and community activist, Cee rightfully understood the importance of representation and diversity. She states that every girl should have the option to have a doll that resembles them and to create its identity; one generic doll for every race simply cannot do. Cee believes that diversity is much more complex than having one Black doll represent an entire race, as there are multiracial and biracial girls who are often underrepresented. The point of Herstory is to offer customizable dolls to appeal to its owner, whether they are a Black Canadian, an African-Canadian, a Black European, etc.
Why Herstory dolls are special
Aside from offering an array of different skin tones, hair styles and other niches, Herstory differentiates from the rest of the mainstream doll lines in a unique way. Herstory allows girls to decide what is beautiful to them and gives them a way to counter normative beauty standards in society. Black girls are usually ridiculed for their dark skin, but Herstory allows them to embrace their melanin. Herstory also allows children to use their creativity and imagination to further add character and personal touches to their doll. As children develop a sense of self, they are able to showcase this in how they adapt their dolls to represent them. By doing so, children are allowed to reflect and identify with this doll, having a sense of pride at the representation.
Each doll comes with its own notebook and pencil (tools that can be used by the child to write their own creative ideas), DIY crafting and design ideas, and access to other projects posted on the Herstory website for customers to download and work on. The website also has a gallery showcasing projects made by kids. These projects include sewing projects, crafts, doll photography, stories, and many other forms of media. Herstory provides monthly themes to help kids brainstorm new ideas and projects they can do with their dolls and other accessories. This line has a wide, engaging online community that encourages artistic skills and creativity for those who join. It allows youth to experiment and take on imaginative challenges.
Cee’s main goal was to create a doll line that allows the consumer to build the doll’s identity. Unlike other doll lines, Herstory dolls encourage Black girls to build a character using their imagination. Cee is in the middle of creating a third new doll, set to be released soon.
Herstory dolls are more than just beautiful representations of Black children, they strive to put creativity into the hands of children and encourage them to be fearless about exploring their creativity. Herstory encourages children to showcase their uniqueness through their dolls any way they want and share their ideas with other like-minded children, creating strong friendships, relationships and a loving, welcoming artistic community.
With this doll line garnering a strong Instagram following, Cee hopes to expand her market globally. She wants her dolls to give Black girls a sense of beauty and belonging.
“You may be the darkest of browns, you may be so fair that your skin might have you pass for being white. The fact is that this just shows you what the human race is,” Cee stated. “This is what shows you who people are … That is the beauty, and it’s OK for us to celebrate it through dolls.”
Find updates on Herstory Doll, its club, and other events on the Herstory Instagram page.