The Evolution of the Female Action Figure: A Journey from Doll to Hero

Origins: The History of Dolls

The earliest known doll dates back as far as ancient Rome in 300 B.C. For as long as they've been around, dolls have been inspired by their regional origins, and oftentimes the roles of the women in their respective regions. In a sharp contrast to the modern plastic of the current age, traditional dolls were made from simpler materials, including: wood, clay or leather, to name a few. Much like the dolls themselves, these materials often depended on the region. For example, in South America, corn husk dolls symbolized the yearly harvest as well as the important role of Mother Earth and women in the fields. In Russia, wooden Babushka dolls represented the central role of women as creators of the family, and so on. Dolls always acted as a placeholder for a "female-centric" action figure. 

Dolls were most certainly used as a toy, but also far beyond that, as spiritual or ritualistic objects. Dolls represented seasonal change good fortune or for some cultures, even witchcraft. Indisputably, dolls have always been iconic, setting the stage for their eventual transition into the modern female action figure. For hundreds of years, dolls have acted as a reflection of the society of their creation. Be it the Russia, West Africa, Japan or even the United States, dolls are among the most influential mediums of history to date.

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