This little girl does not let stereotypes define her or limit her imagination. And her mother is in full support.
When Rebecca Millar started making female superhero dolls, she just wanted to make her daughter Abigail happy. Now her work is resonating with superhero-loving women, children (and men!) around the globe.
“I simply want her to be empowered enough to proudly like the things she likes, even if it's not the same as what a lot of her female peers like,” Rebecca Millar, Abigail’s mom, emphasized. “I want her to know that girls can like Marvel and superheroes, just the same as boys can like 'Frozen' and princesses and that both are totally fine.”
Abigail has loved superheroes, especially the Avengers and Spider-Man, since two early reading books piqued her interest. Abigail began assembling her collection of superhero toys and eventually started asking for a Black Widow doll. Millar said that after looking in stores and online, she realized that her only options were too expensive. While out buying her daughter a Thor action figure, an idea flashed into her head.
“I walked past a red-haired Sparkle doll on the way out and on a total whim decided to give her a makeover,” Millar recalled. “I’m not an artist, just a mum that was frustrated over the lack of Widow merchandise.”
Millar posted a picture of her personally made Black Widow doll on Twitter with no agenda. However, to her surprise, it was re-tweeted more than 2,000 times and favorited over 2,500 times. She explained that she’s only doing what any mother should do: loving her child for who they are.
“As parents it is not our job to condemn our children, or treat them like they are simply an extension of our own personalities. Embrace the child you have, not the one you think you want,” she said. “Don't try and force gender stereotypes on them, and give them the freedom to develop their own likes and dislikes themselves.”
Since then, she’s refurbished about 30 dolls, from female superheroes to other strong female characters, and plans to continue making them, proving that female characters matter, even if they’re not as well represented. Millar hopes that her creations will prove to her daughter and other children that they shouldn’t feel bad for liking what they want to like, and to aspire “to more than just marrying Prince Charming,” unless that’s what they want to do — whatever makes them happy.
“Toys and clothes don't have a gender, and I find it a bit silly that people still assign gender to those things,” Millar declared. “Her superheroes make her happy, which makes me happy.”
And, the dolls are easier to make than they look! Millar has posted several tutorials on Facebook and continues to take requests for more how-to explanations, hoping to encourage creativity, empowerment and imagination among others. However, she will also make the dolls for people in exchange for the necessary materials to do so.
Millar expressed that she truly enjoys how relaxing painting the dolls can be. She plans on creating and selling original characters to offset the cost of materials, with the help of her daughter’s imagination, of course.
“Abigail is helping, so it's great fun,” she exclaimed. “She's great at coming up with names and back stories for them, so I'm really excited to see what she comes up with and work with her to turn them into dolls.”
Arella, an Abigail original, is from “the stars. She was banished and exiled so she looks after Earth now. Her spots are magic, like Iron Man!” according to Abigail. Her magic markings allow her to become invisible and fly. Apparently, she also likes cream-colored lace and the color violet.
People have been inspired and encouraged by the supermom’s posts online. One young girl’s comment particularly stood out to Millar. Her parents told her she would "turn into a boy" if she liked superheroes, but seeing all the pictures of Abigail’s dolls and superhero dresses has motivated her to be just as supportive when she is a parent.
On several occasions, Millar explained that she and Abigail have also received a number of negative comments themselves while out in public. Strangers have laughed and condemned Abigail for playing with toys for “boys” and wearing a Captain America cape and Thor helmet instead of an Elsa dress.
“She's just a little girl,” Millar explained. “She doesn't need to be hearing negativity like that or being made to feel that she's anything less than awesome just because her favorite baby to carry around is a Hulk action figure instead of an Elsa doll.”