Even as society wakes up to body positivity and inclusivity, if you walk into any toy store, you will still see rows of Barbies, Bratz dolls and Polly Pockets.
However, one mum is breaking the mould with a beautiful set of inclusive dolls that reflects diversity and disability.
Clare Tawell, 39, felt inspired to start her range in honour of her daughter so that little Matilda, aged four, could see herself represented in her toys.
Matilda was just six weeks old when she was diagnosed with severe bilateral hearing loss, this means she is deaf in both ears and wears hearing aids.
Despite her best efforts to find a doll that her daughter could identify with, Clare was disheartened when she failed to find a toy that was truly like her little girl.
Instead, she got to work herself and created a doll with hearing aids to mirror Matilda’s.
Speaking about her designs, which she began back in 2017, Clare explained that it was important to her that her youngest child felt recognised in order to feel confident.
Clare said: “When I couldn’t find any dolls that came with hearing aids, I felt really deflated. To me, it was like society was saying Matilda wasn’t important enough to be recognised.
“Now, I want to empower children and give them the confidence that comes with seeing themselves represented.”
When Matilda was diagnosed, Clare and husband Miles initially felt panic for their daughter about what stigmas she might face compared to her big sister Evelyn, now eight.
However, when she was fitted with a pair of pink, glittery hearing aids at just eight weeks old, her cutely nicknamed ‘magic ears’ have been a blessing ever since.
And Matilda has access to not just one doll, but a whole variety thanks to mum’s Etsy shop.
Named in honour of her daughter, Bright Ears UK sells inclusive dolls and accessories, from toys with hearing aids to feeding tubes to colostomy bags to cleft lips.
There are also a few familiar faces, with Toy Story’s Woody and Jessie wearing hearing aids too.
We hope to see these in every nursery one day soon!
For more info, or to grab a doll, click here: Bright Ears UK.