UN's Equality Line aims to break down gender stereo-types with dolls for boys

Jack Ridsdale

By Jack Ridsdale

April 4th 2017 at 11:33AM
UPDATED April 5th 2017 at 12:21PM
UN's Equality Line aims to break down gender stereo-types with dolls for boys

The Boy Story dolls will launch across North America following a successful Kickstarter campaign.

The UN’s HeForShe Initiative, a worldwide campaign for gender equality, has partnered with Boy Story to launch a duo of dolls aimed at boys.

The first of their kind ‘action dolls’ aim to challenge harmful gender stereotypes where they start: childhood. The dolls aim to encourage young boys to develop emotional intelligence and empathy and break down the harmful stereotype that dolls are only for girls.

Boy Story’s co-founder Kristen Johnson explained their process for understanding the way that children learn.

“Kids learn through play. When we start to dissect how kids learn and what they’re learning, we
see that they gain different skills through different types of play,” said Johnson.

“At ages three to four kids begin learning the skills of human interaction and basic emotion,
five to six, they learn character imagination and empathy. Once they reach seven and beyond, they are learning companionship and emotional intelligence.”

The dolls are available online now and part of all proceeds raised, will go towards UN Women’s programmatic work on women and girl’s employment globally as well on-the-ground efforts to improve gender equality such as the Malawi effort to end early childhood marriage. The HeForShe initiative has garnered support from corporations, universities and even high-profile celebrities including Emma Watson and Anne Hathaway.

“HeForShe and Boy Story had been friends for a while, when we realised that our missions were very much aligned with each other,” Johnson explained.

“HeForShe is all about getting men to participate in gender equality in order to make true strides toward equality. Boy Story is about breaking down harmful stereotypes that tell boys they can’t play with dolls and tell girls that dolls are something only for them. We want kids to be free to be themselves, and for all kids to have the opportunity to learn skills through play with dolls. It’s not fair to any kid to limit their play based on old, outdated biases.”

With the brand’s newfound momentum from the collaboration with HeForShe, Boy Story shows no signs of slowing down, looking ahead to the future of the brand.

“We are definitely hoping to expand our accessories very soon, as well as release another pair of dolls,” added Johnson. “We ship the dolls to the UK via our website but shipping costs can be high. We would love to bring the dolls to the UK retailers, we just have to find the right distributor.”