Walk into almost any toy shop in the UK, and you’re bound to see a clear gender divide; bold primary colours, remote-controlled cars, superheroes, Lego, train sets, and action heroes teach boys to break, to build, and to follow their dream, whatever they may be.
Little girls, on the other hand, are touted bright pink wares, with a plethora of dolls, tiaras, and cuddly toys on offer. From an early age, they are taught to care for things – and that they should look a certain way. Even Barbie, who enjoys over 180 different careers (including computer engineer and veterinarian), is high-heeled and hyper-sexualised.
So it’s unsurprising that feminist action figure Lottie has been nominated as Toy of the Year 2017.
Read more: Are you ready for the realistic Barbie?
Lottie has been designed to look like a real, nine-year-old girl, and, more importantly, to act like one.
“When we worked up Lottie, we didn’t want her to be just another doll – we wanted her to be a positive role model,” Arklu’s co-founder Ian Harkin told The Journal.
“The brand is quite pro-girl, we’re showing girls that they can do many different things – you know, we have traditional pony-riding and ballet, but this year we’ve also done a partnership with the European Space Agency.”
The result of that collaboration was a “stargazer” edition, complete with realistic telescope, solar system collector cards and a sheet of paper featuring profiles of famous female astronomers. She promote science to little girls – and she has, most deservingly, been nominated as Best Doll of 2017.
Fossil Hunter Lottie, meanwhile, has received a nod in the Best Action Figure category – no small feat for the brand, which was launched just a few years ago.
While the sales figures for Lottie are just a drop in the ocean compared to the estimated 10 million Barbies sold each year, the inspiring toy brand continues to flourish – and has earned the respect of many, particularly parents searching for an aspirational toy for their daughters.
After all, Lottie doesn’t wear high heels – which means that she can literally stand up on her own two feet.
“At the moment there’s a culture of perfection out there, with Lottie we want to show that it’s OK to fail, it’s OK to make mistakes as long as you learn from them,” said Harkin.
Lottie has so many choices available to her; she can be a butterfly protector, a lighthouse keeper, a pirate, or a karate expert; she can delve headfirst into scientific pursuits, is based on real-life feminist heroes (think Ada Lovelace, as an example), and still boasts a range of ‘pro-girl’ accessories.
Most importantly of all, however, is the fact that Lottie is completely #unapologetic about following her dreams. And that’s why we’re such big fans of them.
She’s definitely got our vote in the Toy of the Year Awards.