I was always confused about my limited choices as a kid. Growing up with boy cousins, I remember wondering why I always had to be the pink Power Ranger, or the human girl from Ninja Turtles when we played with action figures. The only playscape I felt included in was Legos, and even still the main characters were mostly male, and they have become gendered in a way that limits the stories girls can tell during imaginative playtime. Where are the super powers? Where are the ass-kicking female action figures for young girls to play with, to create their own versions of stories, so they can be their own heroes?
That is the exact dilemma I Am Elemental is aiming to satisfy. Started by two powerhouse NYC ladies, Julie Kerwin and Dawn Nadeau--both terribly intelligent and successful Wellesley college grads with a myriad of accolades under their belts--the women were fed up with the lack of choices in the toy aisle for girls, and they decided to use their own superpowers and do something about it. From their blog:
"Go into a toy store anywhere in America and count the number of shelves dedicated to action figures marketed to boys. Then, try counting the number of shelves dedicated to action figures marketed to girls. In many cases – actually, in most cases – there will be rows and rows of action figures for boys, but there won’t be even one shelf devoted to action figures for girls. For, despite the fact that both Mattel and Hasbro have recently realized that the key to reversing their declining sales lies in the girl toy market,* neither have filled the gaping hole in the female action figure category. Apparently, girl toy shelves are for dolls, not for superheroes."
Kerwin and Nadeau are sure to state that this is NOT and anti-doll, anti-princess movement, but rather a movement to add option into the lives of young girls, for they believe "if you give a girl a different toy, she will tell a different story."
This is pretty powerful stuff.
Watch the KickStarter video for a full explanation of this incredibly thoughtful and totally exciting endeavor:
Could this BE any better? The dolls are molded after Joan of Arc, they are purposefully elemental to avoid being made into stereotypes or caricatures, they resist overly gendering the figures (especially avoiding over-sexualization) and to top it all off, the entire premises of the line is that we all have super powers, and the potential to be super by just being ourselves.
The project has 29 days to go, and has already raised over $7,000 of its $35,000 goal on KickStarter. I have a pretty strong feeling you'll want to be able to say you were a part of funding this movement. I don't want to sound overly-optimistic, but this could really be history in the making.
Be sure to visit their website for more info, images, blogs, and more and of course visit their KickStarter page and contribute what you can to this amazing endeavor!
Images via I Am Elemental