Mum creates stretch marks on Barbie doll to normalise them for her daughter

Mum creates stretch marks on Barbie doll to normalise them for her daughter
Mother creates 'stretch marks' on Barbie to normalise them for her daughter

A mum has gone viral after modifying her little girl’s Barbie by adding stretch marks to the doll to normalise “tiger stripes” – using nail varnish.

Kate Claxton hit the headlines earlier this year after sharing her experience with maternity leave, which led to her quitting her job as a marketing manager.

The 35-year-old mum from Swindon is married to husband Tony, 35, with whom she has a three-year-old daughter.

Kate, now a children’s author, has written a book about her “tiger stripes” – and is taking to Instagram to reveal why she drew these onto her child’s doll.

Sign up to our free Indy100 weekly newsletter

“We're really open with our daughter about the ways bodies are different and I'm keen for her toys and books to reflect this,” the mum told .

Jam Press

“She loves Barbies and while we do have a diverse mix of dolls, there were none with stretch marks, so I decided to decorate my own!

“We'd had a long day of crafts and play to avoid the rain and I needed the chill time.

“Once she'd gone to bed, I spent maybe an hour or less making the marks with nail varnish actually.

“It dried quickly and I put the Barbie's vet outfit back on to go in the toy box ready for the morning.

“I bought a new doll to do this with, just in case I got told off for marking a favourite!”

Kate says she approaches conversations with her daughter around beauty and body positivity “honestly and openly” but “worries” about the future.

She said: “I don't force it on her but if she ever has questions about bodies, or if I notice her watching or playing with something that allows us to bring it up naturally, I'll always do my best to make it normal.

“I think representation is getting much better, but you have to seek these things out for yourself a lot of the time.

“I do worry for my daughter heading into a world that still judges girls on how they look and pits them against each other.”

Kate was inspired by her own children’s book, My Mum’s a Tiger, and hopes that her creation might inspire Mattel, the brand that owns Barbie, to create a similar doll.

She said: “I hate that new mums in particular are faced with the negativity around skin and body changes at a time when hormones and sleep and responsibilities are all over the place.

“People have loved the reel on Instagram and lots of people are asking how I did it – I hope that means there will be lots more DIY dolls popping up in toy boxes.

“I'd love if Barbie could bring out their own permanently-marked version to show children it's normal and nothing to be worried about.”

Social media users have come out in droves to praise the mum for her DIY doll.

Jam Press

A subtracted version of her post reads: “… [my daughter] is SO into dolls and getting them dressed and undressed at the moment that it was important for me to make some modifications to this gal and give her the stripes so many of us cover up.

“Let's take what makes us different and instead of trying to hide, let's be more like animals and wear our marks with pride.”

“My little girl asks me about my ‘tiger stripes’ every time I have a shower or get changed,” said Sammy.

“Love this!! Just genius!!!” added someone else.

Ella Lucie said: “Really love this.”

“Great idea,” added another person.

“Love this! I am one of those who are guilty of hiding my stretch marks but your wonderful book and posts always remind me of why I’ve got those tiger stripes,” said Jessica.

“I have SO much love for this and totally agree that @barbie should add them to some of their dolls,” said someone else, tagging Mattel’s brand.

Have your say in our news democracy. Click the upvote icon at the top of the page to help raise this article through the indy100 rankings.

The Conversation (0)