Today I have a guest review, written by Kathie from Hungry Sauce. Kathie and I both LOVE Lottie dolls, but my youngest daughter is 11 and Kathie writes a food blog, so we teamed up, getting Kathie’s young daughter Em to put Lottie to the test.
Have you seen Lottie? She’s lovely.
She’s a doll, but get this – she’s a girl. A girl, with a girl’s body, no boobies, no make-up and no weird teeny, tiny, foot-binding feet. And what’s even more amazing is she’s a girl who – and I know you won’t believe this – sometimes wears trousers. And trainers.
I’d read about Lottie before I met her in the flesh (or in the plastic I should say) and thought, ‘how refreshing, how cool; a dolly that does things that little girls do, one that’s not all ‘sexy’ and ridiculous – how innovative’. So, I that’s what thought my review would focus on – how Lottie isn’t vacuous and disturbing, how she isn’t basically a mini blow-up doll. But here’s the thing that really struck me when Em started playing with Lottie… not ‘how cool’, not ‘how innovative’, but how NORMAL! A little girl, playing with a doll that looks like a little girl. Em didn’t miss the daft shoes and highly-restrictive, overdressed-for-any-event frocks, and within five minute her Pirate Queen Lottie was ‘going to do pirating’ and saying ‘arrh, me hearties’.
So, here’s what’s great about Lottie, without too much focus on what’s so rubbish about so-called ‘fashion dolls’:
Lottie (like most little girls) has broad ranging interests
Lottie dolls don’t promote one, narrow view of being a female. Her life is not just about shopping, getting married and fashion. You can get ballet Lottie, robot girl, karate, pirate queen, lighthouse keeper, pony rider, festival Lottie (AKA Glastonbury, cool-parents Lottie). And you can buy clothes including footie kit, a sensible UV beach suit thingy and a onesie. THAT’S more like it, isn’t it?
Lottie can stand up
She wears flat shoes, does Lottie – rather like most little girls. And, with a bit of balancing, she can stand up. Dolls that can’t stand up are annoying. As Lottie’s makers say, ‘’being able to stand on your own two feet is a useful skill for any girl’.
Lottie is adventurous
I remember a crushing moment when my little girl pointed out that her doll didn’t have any clothes she could wear for going camping. That’s because she was attempting to take her princess-dress-clad, high-heeled, corseted Disney Belle on a camping trip and Belle has no wellies. A low moment for a mummy who considers herself a feminist… Lottie has clothes you could wear for camping though, you can even get a Lottie who wears a coat, and a hat – radical, hey? Barbie must be blooming freezing most of the time.
Lottie is still a dolly
She has lovely long, brushable hair and you can buy a ballet Lottie and pretty dresses and all that. Which is nice, because the hair brushing and gown donning is one of the bits of dolly-play that my daughter loves – but she also wants the option to have her dolly climb a tree, swim in a rockpool or go on an epic rescue space pirate monster adventure mission too.
Lottie is bright
Em’s Robot Girl Lottie has just made a robot to enter into the school science fair. Like lots of the other Lottie Dolls, she is inspired by real women. In this case by both Erin Kennedy and Kathy Ceceri. The Pirate Queen Lottie is inspired by Grace O’Malley, in fact Em has called her doll ‘Grace’. You can print out certificates on the website for your girl for bravery, excellence, times tables, swimming, karate, football, being a good sister, shoelace tying, maths, science, reading. There are mazes too, times table charts, a biography of Marie Curie, how to build your own robotic hand. No ‘Great Shopping!’ certificates here, just a gentle reminder that girls do maths, girls do science…
So, I could spend I long time bemoaning the fact that Lottie isn’t (yet) the norm for little girls and that we are, we really are, crushing our daughters with stupid, restrictive dolls who have their dead, plastic eyes trained only on shopping and pink stuff. Dolls that forget that girls like science and can read, that ignore the fact that girls find bugs and dinosaurs interesting, that skirt over girls doing sport and that blank out the broad and fantastic range of things that interest and inspire our daughters. I could rant about body image and skinniness and too-much-too-soon and the womanifying of young, young girls. But I won’t, because I want to go and play Lottie with Em.
If you fancy a Lottie you could buy one OR enter the awesome competition they run every month on their website – you design a Lottie doing something awesome – a recent winner was Fossil Hunter Lottie. Em wants to enter and design a musician Lottie who plays the drums, maybe I should show her some videos of Evelyn Glennie. So, what else could Lottie do? Just ask your daughter.
What do you think of Lottie? Is it important that little girls have toys like these that reflect themselves, or do you believe there is nothing really wrong with dollies with unrealistically tiny ankles? Kathie and I would love to know what you think!
Disclosure: Kathie and Em were sent two Lottie dolls for the purposes of this review.