University of Wisconsin–Madison

Girls and Co. Redefining Doll Culture

While scrolling through News articles during dull periods at work, I came across this one titled “Meet Girls & Co, Building Dolls to Become the Role Model for Every Girl”. The article discusses how founder, Neha Chauhan Woodward was frustrated with the fact that most dolls she grew up playing with were not a true reflection of her and her friends. To this day, most dolls are not very diverse and contain a majority of superficial characteristics. She created Girls and Co. as a brand of dolls to provide more positive role models for girls. These dolls are characters who aspire to be educators, engineers, politicians, and more. They focus on the brains, talents, and leaderships that girls around the world possess, instead of beauty and appearance, like the traditional dolls young girls are presented with.

In the Keywords Essay, ‘Girlhood, Jacqueline Reid-Walsh discusses girlhood and the different possibilities of what could be used to define this broad and general word. She poses the question, who is a girl, and what makes someone a girl, living in girlhood. Is it clothing, biological sex, gender identification, a state of mind, participation in “girl” culture, or anything else? What the company Girl and Co. is trying to do is define ‘girlhood’ as any of these possibilities. Through their dolls and their stories, the brand shows that girlhood can be anything from learning to making jewelry, having sleepovers with your friends, to aspiring to become a politician or an engineer. This brand is redefining girlhood to prove to girls that they can define this word for themselves and live their own definition of girlhood.

A common theme in the American Girl Doll books, such as Sunlight and Shadows, a Josephine Classic, is to teach a lesson and inform the girl readers about what it was girlhood encompassed during the time period that the story takes place. Girlhood plays a large role in the Josephine story, as Josephine learns the role she is meant to have from the adults around her after her mother dies.

As I searched around on the Girls and Co. website, I noticed that they, like American Girl Doll, were creating short stories for their dolls. Chapter 1 of the first book Brookies Build a Business is featured on the website, so I decided to give it a read. I found it interesting that like the American Girl Doll books, this story is meant to teach girls from the adults around them. The little girl has a very strong role model in her mother, who is an engineer and the main provider in their family. The little girl is gaining valuable lessons from her mom each day that she can take any path she wants in life, and her mother is leading by example to give her the skills she needs to do so.

Here are the links to the original article, the Girls and Co. website, and chapter 1 of the first book:

http://www.forbes.com/sites/alextaub/2017/02/16/meet-girls-co-building-dolls-to-become-the-role-model-for-every-girl/2/#6604d27a28ea

https://girlsand.co/

https://girlsand.co/chapter1

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