Marie Curie. Amelia Earhart. Rosalind Franklin. These influential women each changed the world in their own unique ways. And now, University of Illinois engineering students Jenna Eaves and Supriya Hobbs hope to tout these women’s accomplishments and inspire a new generation of girls with a line of dolls and online community called Miss Possible.
“There are a lot of girls who have the potential to change the world around them, but the underrepresentation of powerful women in youth-oriented media limits the paths they see for themselves,” Eaves and Hobbs explained to the website Women You Should Know. “Boys see presidents, astronauts, and CEOs, but girls are seeing more princesses and hypersexualized images. At Miss Possible, we intend to save girls from limitation, one doll at a time.”
The Miss Possible dolls, which are still in development, will be created in the likeness of inspiring, historical female figures. With a target market of girls between the ages of 6 and 10, the dolls will resemble these women as 10-year-olds, in order to make them more relatable. Each doll will come with coordinating accessories — such as a science kit for Marie Curie — as well as a code to access Miss Possible’s online community, where girls can work with one another to play games, solve problems and build the skills they need to succeed. The hope is that the dolls will empower girls to follow their dreams — whatever they may be.
“We’re not just a product. We’re not just selling a doll,” Eaves told The Daily Illini. “We’re kind of representing the whole movement of lifting girls up and exposing them to all of the options that they have.
Eaves and Hobbs came up with the idea for Miss Possible while considering what to enter in the 2013 Cozad New Venture Competition, a contest that encourages college students to create sustainable businesses. After placing in the top eight out of 80 competitors, Eaves and Hobbs knew they were onto something. The pair then submitted their idea to Entrepreneurial Excellence: Student Startup Award for Innovation Celebration in February. They are also in the process of submitting Miss Possible in the 2014 Cozad New Venture Competition in hopes to raise funds for the project.
For now, Eaves and Hobbes are building their team, which has grown to include three designers, two web developers and a marketing specialist, along with developing the prototype for the doll and working on their first online game. In the fall, the pair is planning on launching a crowdsourcing campaign to raise money for the project. And if their Facebook page is any indication, it looks like Miss Possible has already garnered quite a bit of interest.
“What brings strength to what we’re doing is that it’s real women behind it. It’s real women with real stories, and no one can say my life can’t be like that — because someone’s life actually was like that,” Hobbs told The Daily Illini. “We want girls to say she’s done all of these amazing things, and she was once a girl just like me. I can do that too.”