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A new company combines action figures with dolls, and boys love them.

A new toy company can be a game-changer for young boys.

A new company combines action figures with dolls, and boys love them.

When mom and psychotherapist Laurel Wider heard her young son say boys aren't supposed to cry, she knew she had to do something.

Laurel Wider believes we need to flip the script on how we talk to boys. Photo from Laurel, used with permission.


It's no secret that the way we use our emotions to empathize, solve problems, and relate to others is extremely important in terms of living a happy and successful life.

Our daughters have received that message for generations, but what about our sons? How can we teach boys to empathize, solve problems, and relate to others in a healthy way while they're young?

Wider thought we should start with the things they spend the most time with: toys. She wondered why toys that encourage friendship and empathy are usually marketed to girls.

"The lack of dolls for boys sends the message to our sons that this kind of play isn't for them," Wider said.

So Wider created a company to smash stereotypes about boys and dolls. And people are loving it.

Who wouldn't love to have a dinosaur explorer as a buddy? All photos are from Wonder Crew and used with permission.

Enter Wonder Crew, a new line of dolls inspired by boys. The premise is simple: Each 15-inch soft-bodied doll, known as a Crewmate, combines the adventure of an action figure with the emotional connection of a stuffed animal.

When playing with Crewmates, the goal is to have boys realize that the dolls are just like them instead of idolizing action figures for superhuman strength and other unattainable abilities. A successful Kickstarter campaign proved the idea had merit.

"Kickstarter not only funded our first production, but it's proven that there is public interest," Wider said. "We're thrilled to get the opportunity to make a difference."

Parents can purchase a Crewmate and various interchangeable packs for different adventures. The cool part? Each pack includes gear that a child can wear to be a part of the action.

"That helps form the teamwork vibe and brings kids further into the imaginative play experience," Wider said.

Transform from a superhero to a chef just like that.

This is a cool concept, and all — but will boys really want to play with dolls? Is society ready for this?

We just might be.

Recently, a Super Bowl commercial featuring grown, muscular men who violently run into other on a football field for a living, used their hands to style the hair of their young daughters.

The response to the ad was overwhelmingly positive. Why? Because people love seeing men with a sensitive side.

In order to grow into a man with a sensitive side, it helps if our boys start by embracing theirs at a young age.


Quality time between a boy and a doll may not be a bad thing.

"Boys have feelings, and it's time for their toys to catch up," Wider said. "Why wouldn't a boy want a friend or little one to take care of, nurture, adventure out with?"

Having boys who learn to embrace their emotions properly is serious business — especially since a recent study found that over 80% of men were uncomfortable sharing their emotions and problems with others. Surely it's not a coincidence that 3 out of 4 suicides are committed by men. It's hard to seek help if you're not willing to talk about it.

And if you think this is another toy company that lacks diversity, think again.

An African-American Crewmate named Theo is in production this year, and there are female Crewmates on the horizon as well. Wider and her team want to ensure every child feels represented.

Girls can join in on the fun too.

Girls dig Wonder Crew as well.

But to start, she wants to focus on boys.

"Let's give boys the option to create a play experience that resonates," Wider said. "Human connection is not gender-specific."

A group of very happy boys.

From the looks of it, Wonder Crew is delivering on that message.
Photo courtesy of Macy's
True

Did you know that girls who are encouraged to discover and develop their strengths tend to be more likely to achieve their goals? It's true. The question, however, is how to encourage girls to develop self-confidence and grow up healthy, educated, and independent.

The answer lies in Girls Inc., a national nonprofit serving girls ages 5-18 in more than 350 cities across North America. Since first forming in 1864 to serve girls and young women who were experiencing upheaval in the aftermath of the Civil War, they've been on a mission to inspire girls to kick butt and step into leadership roles — today and in the future.

This is why Macy's has committed to partnering with Girls Inc. and making it easy to support their mission. In a national campaign running throughout September 2021, customers can round up their in-store purchases to the nearest dollar or donate online to support Girls Inc. and empower girls throughout the country.


Kaylin St. Victor, a senior at Brentwood High School in New York, is one of those girls. She became involved in the Long Island affiliate of Girls Inc. when she was in 9th grade, quickly becoming a role model for her peers.

Photo courtesy of Macy's

Within her first year in the organization, she bravely took on speaking opportunities and participated in several summer programs focused on advocacy, leadership, and STEM (science, technology, engineering and math). "The women that I met each have a story that inspires me to become a better person than I was yesterday," said St. Victor. She credits her time at Girls Inc. with making her stronger and more comfortable in her own skin — confidence that directly translates to high achievement in education and the workforce.

In 2020, Macy's helped raise $1.3 million in support of their STEM and college and career readiness programming for more than 26,000 girls. In fact, according to a recent study, Girls Inc. girls are significantly more likely than their peers to enjoy math and science, to be interested in STEM careers, and to perform better on standardized math tests.

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Screenshots via @castrowas95/Twitter

In the Pacific Northwest, orca sightings are a fairly common occurrence. Still, tourists and locals alike marvel when a pod of "sea pandas" swim by, whipping out their phones to capture some of nature's most beautiful and intelligent creatures in their natural habitat.

While orcas aren't a threat to humans, there's a reason they're called "killer whales." To their prey, which includes just about everything that swims except humans, they are terrifying apex predators who hunt in packs and will even coordinate to attack whales several times their own size.

So if you're a human alone on a little platform boat, and a sea lion that a group of orcas was eyeing for lunch jumps onto your boat, you might feel a little wary. Especially when those orcas don't just swim on by, but surround you head-on.

Watch exactly that scenario play out (language warning, if you've got wee ones you don't want f-bombed):

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