More and more, people are becoming comfortable in their own skin. Plus-size model Natalie Hage shut down a fat-shamer who ridiculed her on an airplane. While the confrontation was awkward, it needed to happen. And anyway, who isn’t in love with their own curves? It’s 2018. Then again, it’s safe to say body positivity still isn’t present everywhere, especially for younger girls.
To combat this, Artist Kay Black is inspiring vitiligo sufferers, specifically, by creating dolls with rare skin conditions.
[Kay Black] began making the dolls as a hobby alongside her “normal” job. She said, “I’m motivated by everyday people I see walking up and down the streets.”
The dolls with vitiligo are made special for each customer and have been praised by a number of celebrities. But Black isn’t after fame — she just wants her buyers to feel appreciated.
“People are literally in tears when they get their dolls. I want to create dolls everyone can relate to.”
She also creates a plethora of other dolls that break the rather dangerous standards set by certain world-renowned toy companies. Other than the dolls with vitiligo, Black customizes ones with realistic features such as freckles or curly hair. This makes them super relatable for young girls.
In line with Black’s advocacy, a model with the skin condition even spoke up regarding her own life. Attached to a selfie showing Winnie Harlow’s whole body is her inspiring message.
“The real difference isn’t my skin. It’s the fact that I don’t find my beauty in the opinions of others. I’m beautiful because I know it. Celebrate Your unique beauty today (& everyday)!”
Making friends with your flaws isn’t the easiest — but it certainly is a step in the right direction. Thanks to people like Black and Harlow, young girls may be motivated to discover how to sincerely love themselves.
Slowly but surely, the world of literature and television is finally becoming more diverse. People from marginalized populations are now gaining some representation, especially in global mainstream media. Last year, for instance, Sesame Street introduced their first Afghan member Zeerak. But things are also at work internally. The Middle Eastern comic book world is not far behind with Sarah, a female Pakistani superhero.
The creator, [Hassan Siddiqui], of the English-language comic says he hopes the superhero will give young girls across Pakistan a role model and embolden them to fight corruption and violence in a country where crime is rife in major cities and corruption is the norm.
It’s a step towards abolishing gender discrimination in a country where honor killings are frequent. The comic does not only tackle crime and corruption, but even zooms in on gender-based violence and domestic abuse, shedding light on very important issues.
But while the online community has received “Pakistan Girl” with open arms, local readership could be a problem. Illiteracy rates are at an all-time high. However, believing in its significance, schools across the nation are now implementing the comic into curriculums.
“I think we should be teaching them through this kind of literature because that’s actually the tender age when they are building their own images of their future life,” said [new comic book fan and school principal Saadia Adnan] after browsing through a bookstore copy.
Siddiqui’s previous works include “The Burka Avenger” and “Pakistan Man”, with both titular superheroes combating the crisis of corruption. But as “Pakistan Girl” targets gendered issues and provides a different representation, I hope that Sarah, the female Pakistani superhero, becomes to young women all over the region a great figure to look up to.
With the future of this world in the hands of young ones, inspiring respect and dignity seems the way to go.
Since young model Joseph Hale proved he was more than his Down’s syndrome, others with the condition are following suit. Mikayla Holmgren is now making headlines as the first contestant with Down’s syndrome to compete in Miss USA.
“It was clear to us from the very beginning that Mikayla was uniquely special,” [said] a representative for Miss USA… “Her energy, confidence, and attitude are contagious, and we felt very confident that this experience would be a perfect fit for Mikayla.”
The 22-year-old previously snatched the title of Minnesota Miss Amazing Junior Miss in 2015. As expected, fans of Holmgren have been praising the American beauty for breaking stereotypes all over social media.
“My plans for the future are to graduate from Bethel University and then open an art studio for kids with disabilities to come and learn how to dance and create art,” Holmgren said.
Providing a platform for other women, Holmgren has evolved beauty pageants beyond looks. Anyway, it’s all about heart these days.