Women have long been misportrayed in media and culture. More recently, however, scientists have been learning the disturbing effects these representations can have on the growing, female brain.
Popular dolls like Bratz dolls and Barbies give unrealistic expectations about beauty and body size. In fact, a 2016 study found that playing with Barbie dolls for as little as three minutes created increased body dissatisfaction amongst girls aged six to eight. To combat these dangerous ideas about beauty, a young Ukranian woman is using art to fight back.
Olga Kamenetskaya is an artist specializing in doll modification and repainting.
In an interview with Vogue, she revealed that she’s loved dolls since she was a kid. Later on, during high school, she became invested in sewing, learning the craft from her seamstress mother. Her turn towards doll repainting originally began as a hobby when she started repainting old Monster High Dolls. Soon, however, her talent earned her a following, garnering over 60,000 fans on Instagram.
Olga takes ‘perfect’ doll faces and gives them hyper-realistic makeovers.
In a world of mass-produced identity, it’s what makes her work truly unique. “I don’t like when the new face of the doll is ideal and perfectly symmetrical, it makes it lifeless,” she said.
“I always deliberately leave some flaw that may not be noticeable to everyone, but [gives] the doll invisible charisma. Perhaps, this flawed beauty is the message that my dolls carry.”
Combining fine details, painted imperfections, and realistic wigs, Olga’s work is truly one-of-a-kind.
Despite her obvious talent, however, she credits her husband with much of her success. “I didn’t believe in myself the way he [believed in me],” she said. “I’m never 100% satisfied with my work; I always think that it’s possible to do better with each doll.” In fact, in an effort to improve her skills, Olga took a makeup class. Now, however, she’s so good, she moonlights as a makeup artist on the side.
As mentioned, Olga’s work has attracted thousands of adoring fans. She’s even started a YouTube tutorial page where she shares videos such as, ‘Tools for working with doll hair.’
This turn towards realistic beauty in toys has begun to gather mainstream steam. After harsh criticisms regarding Barbie’s body proportions, Mattel announced in 2016 that it would be introducing new dolls with a variety of body sizes, including tall, petite, and curvy.
Evelyn Mazzoco, Senior Vice President at Mattel, said:
“We believe we have a responsibility to girls and parents to reflect a broader view of beauty.”
If you’re interested in seeing more of Olga’s work or purchasing a custom doll, be sure to head over to her Instagram page which is often updated with new creations.
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