How Boy Dolls Could Change the Face of Babysitting
Imagine how much different (and possibly better) the world might be if teenage boys were given opportunities, or perhaps even expected, to babysit children at equal frequencies to girls. Society seems to rarely give boys a shot. Is it because they’re perceived as more aggressive, less responsible, and less nurturing? Is all that fueled because doll toy makers don’t market their products to boys or even create boy dolls that would appeal to them?
Thankfully, there is one company helping to foster the babysitting mindset at a young age. Boy Story launched in 2016. It offers high-end 18″ poseable action boy dolls, plus a book series, built to last and blast through modern-day stereotypes.
Think American Girl Doll finally meets boy – similar to how Barbie has Ken – an idea by design to ensure Boy Story dolls are fully make-believe compatible with other equivalent girl dolls. The concept is so trendsetting that the much larger and recognized American Girl Doll has since copied the idea.
“We want to make it easy for boys to feel comfortable playing with dolls and get rid of some of those gender stereotypes that we see as harmful,” said Kristen Jarvis Johnson, co-founder.
The concept arose through a Kickstarter campaign and has blossomed into a full-fledged boy doll company that made some serious noise at the New York Toy Fair in February, as well as through a partnership with the UN Women’s solidarity movement, HeForShe.
“We haven’t seen (a boy doll) partially because society, for a long time, said we have women in the home who took care of that turf,” Johnson said. “And boys weren’t really considered to be in the home and nurturers – and the toy market catered to that, and that developed over time that boys don’t play with dolls. But we’ve seen that boys play with dolls when you give them dolls.”
Boy Story is also unique in that it’s one of the few toys on the market which allows boys to embrace and grow their natural desire to become nurturers. Girls have plenty of feminine baby dolls to make-believe being a mother, but boys have nearly nothing by way of masculine toys that allow them to mimic being a daddy.
Boy Story now fills that void.
“Moms love it for the most part, and grandmothers love it,” Johnson said. “A lot of dads like it, but a lot of them are skeptical about it. When they see it in person, they think, ‘That’s so cool.’”
As its users grow, Boy Story might help make male teenage babysitters seen as more conventional.