In a nutshell, Girlactica was born because I want my daughters to see a toy and not think (or be told): "That's a boys' toy." I also want them to have strong female role models and learn about all the incredible achievements of women today and in history. There are so many stories, yet they can be hard to find.
Girlactica shares true, inspiring stories of girls and women from NZ, Australia, and beyond who have made a positive difference to the world. We also list clothing and toys that we think are cool and that feature astronauts, dinosaurs, diggers, and more. While we appreciate that many girls enjoy pink princess products, we feel that these items are well-represented elsewhere. Our listings also contain affiliate links, so if you click the links and purchase something (e.g. from Amazon), we receive a small percentage of the sale to help keep this website up and running.
The story behind Girlactica
I was a child of the '80s, the decade of the vague but energising mantra 'Girls Can Do Anything'. My mother was (and still is) a proud feminist, a campaigner for women's rights. From a young age I was allowed to choose my own clothes, as well as the colour of my bedroom walls (result: fluorescent lime).
Skinny, blonde Barbie was frowned upon in my house, but I eventually procured one from a grandparent: Day To Night Barbie (pink executive by day and fairy queen after dark, thanks to a reversible skirt). But Barbie quickly took a back seat when Jem dolls hit the market: sassy rockstars with their own cassette and theme song! I picked the silver-haired Roxy, member of Jem's nemesis band The Misfits.
Roxy may have been ahead of her time, but fast forward 30-odd years and children's toys haven't changed all that much. Strawberry Shortcake, My Little Pony and Star Wars are all represented in toy stores. The marketing hasn't changed much, either: so-called girls' toys = predominately pink, sparkles, princesses. And witch hats for Halloween. That's fine to a point, but I get sensory overload from all the cute pink stuff. What about robots, astronauts, dinosaurs, and diggers? My girls enjoy those things too, but I often have to head to the boys' section to find them. (And I feel the same way about boys having to head to the girls' section for a wand or a doll, but because I am female and have two daughters, this site focuses on the female perspective.)
So imagine my delight when I stumbled across US website A Mighty Girl, which celebrates strong, confident girls. Their Facebook page has 1.5 million likes, which suggests others are equally delighted. There is a strong need for such inspirational websites and I wanted to create my own, but from an Australasian perspective. We have some pretty amazing stories to tell, too.
Girlactica was born in late 2015 and is very much a work in progress. Any feedback, ideas or questions are welcome - visit my Contact page.
My name is Shona Riddell. I've been an established writer since 1984, when I penned the award-winning 'A Day in the Life of a Peanut Butter Sandwich' (Miramar Central School, Wellington). As a grown-up I've worked as a journalist, blogger, web content writer, and author. I've written for the NZ Herald, Sunday-Star Times, NEXT, Trade Me, StarNow, Xero, The Mighty, and many others. My books include 'Accidental CEO of Baby Town', 'Sleep, Interrupted', and children's book 'The Tale of the Anzac Tortoise' (here's my author page on Amazon).
I live in Wellington, New Zealand, with my husband and two young daughters. They like (in no particular order): Frozen, Wall-E, Toy Story, Inside Out, Sesame Street, Peppa Pig, Snow White, and diggers.