Toy companies have faced a lot of pressure recently to make products that are more representative of real people. Mattel, for instance, recently released 33 new looks for its iconic Barbie dolls, featuring a wider array of body types, skin tones, and hair styles.
But if you've ever doubted that it's important for kids to have toys that look like them, all you need to do is watch this video.
In the video, 10-year-old Emma Bennett of Texas pulls open the flap of her new American Girl doll box — and sees that the doll has a prosthetic leg, just like Emma does.
She gasps. "You've got to be kidding me!" She laughs out loud, pulls the doll out of the box, hugs it to her chest, and then starts to sob out of what looks like pure joy.
"It's got a leg like me!" she says. "I love you!" she says to her mom, Courtney Fletcher Bennett, who posted the video to Facebook.
Fletcher Bennett tells Emma that she sent the doll off to A Step Ahead Prosthetics, which made the leg. Then she reads a letter from the company about the doll:
After she arrived, she was given a room to stay while her new leg was being made. She was fitted with a leg in her favorite color, pink, and started walking on it right away. After a few weeks of training to walk and run in her new prosthetic, she is ready to go home and live her life without limitations with you.
"What do you say to the people?" Emma's father asks off-camera.
"Thank you!" Emma says. "Thank you for making a doll like me!"
Earlier this year, a campaign called #ToyLikeMe took off when parents of disabled kids realized there were almost no toys out there to represent their children's experiences.
And some companies have responded beautifully. Lego released a new young character in a wheelchair, in response to complaints that it was playing to stereotypes by featuring elderly characters in wheelchairs. And the British toy company Makies has created 3D printable dolls with hearing aids, scars, walking aids, or birthmarks.
It's encouraging to see, and it makes a huge difference for kids like Emma.