Saturday, November 04, 2006

The Grand Caucasian Doll Experiment

Okay. Go to your local toy store, Target, Walmart, whatever. Go to the doll aisle. Attempt to find at least two different dolls that are NOT caucasian.

How did it go?

I spent hours trying to find a non-white doll for the Bambina. ANY doll at all, didn't even have to have any special wetting/bottle/feeding/crying features. Just a single, solitary non-white d*mn doll so she can have at least one in her collection that actually has her skin color. Took me hours, to the point that she was so over the whole "let's go looking at toys!" thing. So I bought the one African-American doll at our local Target and went home.

I'm certain Bambina is not at the stage of development where she can understand race or ethnicity. But there is nothing wrong--and everything right--with making sure she has a variety of dolls to play with. My goal was to make sure that she never gets the unspoken message that white is the only color dolls can be, that they don't bother making dolls who might look like her. Whoops! Apparently, that is precisely what the message is: we don't make dolls with olive skin and almond eyes who just happen to reside on the same shelf as all the porcelain blond ones. Well, I for one am not havin' it. That Target had three full shelves of dolls, one of which was Black and none of which was Asian. That is totally f'ing unacceptable. I don't need them to institute some kind of quota system for doll ethnicity, but is it too much to ask that more than .05% of their doll selection not be white and blond?

So let's see if we can jump that hurdle. The next one will be: can you make Asian dolls that are not also wearing traditional Asian clothing? Like, can a doll who looks Asian just be wearing the same d*mn dress the white doll is wearing? Why does the Asian doll have to be wearing the kimono? Why are the Latina dolls in that Guatemalan burlap getup all the time? I await the day when a doll that is Asian is just that: a pretend baby who happens to look Asian, not some "Baby visitor from Tokyo or Beijing."

In the short-term, I'm headed online to get her this:

But in the long-term, stores need to lose the monopoly of Aryan dolls. Not only is it wrong, it's very bad business (the online doll I mentioned is totally sold out).

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