Sadly, Feral Cheryl is no more, but Australians will have another alternative to Bratz and Barbie as of tomorrow – Australian Girl Doll [warning: annoying website sound] is hitting the shelves. It looks like the launch will be at Toyworld Subiaco.
These dolls look like girls. Not babies or late adolescents, but girls. And the business was started by a Western Australian woman, Helen Schofield.
The characters have actual hobbies that don’t involve conspicuous consumption or beauty rituals. Amy plays sports, Belle snorkels at the beach, Jasmine is a muso, and Emily loves animals and is rocking her hiking boots. None of them are “sassy” or “foxy” or “hot”.
It seems they’ve used the same face mould, presumably because they’re not exactly rolling in economies of scale. The colours also look quite pale, so the non-white dolls do look a bit, well, white. From the cartoon illustrations, it seems clear that Jasmine is intended to be Asian (of Chinese origin?), and Amy is possibly Indigenous. Emily is white and blonde, and Belle is a pale, brown-eyed brunette.
My other critique is that most of the clothes involve pink and/or skirts. Maybe the clothing choices will become a little less stereotypically-feminine over time. There are alternatives – I see one jeans-and-hoodie set, and Emily wears adventurer-type gear – so it’s not completely a one-note wardrobe.
They’re about twice the price of a Bratz doll, but, as baroquestar said, probably half as dangerous.
[ObNoConflictOfInterest: I have no connection with this company. Just stumbled across them today.]