Why This Old Man Had To Make Custom Dolls For Little Girls.
João Stanganelli Junior is a Brazilian grandfather who has vitiligo, which is a discoloration of the skin in blotches. And do you know what the one thing is that he has noticed over all his years. Those with his same skin condition are not represented in pretty much anything. Like dolls.
Even Mattel, which has made the famous, gold-standard Barbie doll for 60 years now, has never produced a doll with that type of skin coloration. Although Barbie, through all the many years she has been around, has been produced with several uniform skin tones. Yes, the skin condition is rare, with only 1 to 3 percent of the world’s population having it.
But, still, one would think it could be represented in some way. So Joao decided to do something about that. When he retired awhile back, he took up crocheting to keep himself busy. And he crochets dolls. And now he crochets dolls that appear to have the same skin condition as he and many others do. They don’t have that “perfect skin.” They have vitiligo.
The skin imperfections are very much the most notable thing of the dolls. He wants to show young people with the skin condition that it’s ok to be the way they are. Joao has produced quite a few of the dolls, but there is actually a great demand for them. Fortunately, he has plenty of time on his hands to make as many of them as possible.
Joao made his first doll with vitiligo for his granddaughter a while back. That way, she would always have a momento of him. But he quickly realized the importance of dolls like that, so he started making more. And then more.
He has even made a few dolls where there is also little to no representation, like a doll in a wheelchair and a doll in dark glasses with a cane to represent a blind child.
When Joao was in his 30s, he vowed to himself not to let his skin type get him down, and now he wants to do all he can to spread awareness of the skin condition, and to let everyone know that it’s ok to have it.
It looks like his message is definitely being made.