Dressing Down the Stereotypes

As part of a ninth-grade English honors project, Elwood-John H. Glenn High School freshman Mary Zabransky created “make-under” dolls for each of her classmates to communicate a message about societal stereotypes.

Along with reading the play “A Doll’s House” by Henrik Ibsen, students in Jennifer Cusano’s class explored different texts to analyze the opinions and arguments that addressed the unit’s theme of communicating beliefs in gender barriers and stereotypes in the 21st century. One article that resonated with the students was about Sonia Singh, an Austrian woman who buys Bratz dolls and gives them a make-under. Singh removes the heavy makeup and scandalous clothing from the dolls to give them a more natural appearance. Inspired by this innovative idea, Zabransky created make-under dolls for her classmates and distributed them during her final presentation.

“They are all unique, beautiful, happy, and certainly do not follow the rules and regulations that are meant to define every single stereotypical, standardized person on this planet,” Zabransky said to her peers. “I want you all to be yourselves.”