Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Picky, Picky

You may agree or not with my thoughts on this topic. I'm okay either way because I'm the one who gets to make the final decision for my daughter.

I really don't want Kelsey to have non-Asian dolls for now. There may be a time when she's older that I'll allow her to have other races of dolls, but right now it's all Asian all the time.

I get really unhappy to walk into a toy store and see the plethora of blond/blue eyed dollies and zero Asian dolls. I am very happy to see AA dolls, as I know this took decades to get there. I would have HATED to be an AA Mom in the 80's and '90's and not be able to give my child a doll that looks like her.

Except for Dora the Explorer, there are zero Latina dolls that I see in the market place. (don't get me started on American Girl...they won't see a penny of my money until they get the Asian dolls right..they are not Caucasian faced dolls with dark hair and eyes!)

I've asked my yahoo support groups if they feel the same way...some do and some don't.
it's all about positive self image. I remember being a child in the '60's and not having a Barbie doll that had dark hair...and not being happy about it.

It's going to be hard enough on Kelsey to grow up and have positive Asian identification having a Caucasian Mommy. (We are extremely blessed to have Daddy's Filipino family in our lives...it will really help her to know she has family that look like her).

I know there are mail order places to buy Chinese or Asian dollies and if you look hard enough in a retail store, you can find one or 2. Kelsey has a few of these (Sonya Lee, Chinese New Year Barbie, Magnolia).

Last year my Mother bought Kelsey a Little Mommy baby doll for Christmas. I didn't want to keep it because it wasn't Asian (not too picky about being Chinese as opposed to Asian) but I ran it past my yahoo group and decided to see if Kelsey liked it. She does like it and plays with it, but again, she was only 18 months old last year. Now she looks in the mirror and sees her pretty straight dark hair and those beautiful eyes and calls herself "pretty!" I want to protect that positive self image with everything I have.

I would like her to have a baby doll for Christmas from my sister's family. She's not big on Internet buying and I think it's sad that the only way she can buy an appropriate doll for my child is to get it online or via catalog..sad..sad...sad.

Funny comment, a few times little girls have seen my Chinese daughter with her classic bob haircut and yelled out "There's Dora!" (as in Explorer) who is really my daughter's magnicficent obsession.


Anonymous said...

Wouldn't it be nice to expose your daughter to the belief that all races are equally valued? I had asian dolls (yes, it took effort), AA dolls, Latino dolls, and caucasian dolls for my daughter. The Corolle line is quite wonderful for this. And yes, my child adored her "bitty baby" dolls form American girls, who, unlike the "older" dolls, do look asian. Your comment about Dora was very telling. Asians often do look Latino and visa versa. Drawing strict racial lines only points out our differences in unconstructive ways.

Doug and Terrye said...

For some reason Dolls scare our Grace! But she does get excited when she sees one that have darker skin and dark eyes. She will shout, "That's Gracie!"
I'm enjoying all of your posts....keep up the good work!!!

Gretchen aka mamagigi said...

I feel quite similar -- it's disheartening to see the dearth of dolls that look like my biracial daughter (and not a caucasian doll with darker skin). I've found some great options online and through catalogs, but -- alas, like you mentioned, it's not very mainstream yet.

I hear what Anonymous is saying, it's just that right now I think it's imperative that my daughter (and JoAnn, I'm assuming you feel this way for Kelsey) see dolls that look like her so she understands that she is beautiful and as "valued" as much as a blue-eyed, blonde-hair girl.

It's not a matter of beauty and value being inextricably woven together, it's just that she surely isn't going to see any sort of reflection of herself when she looks at me or other women in our families. It's important, I think, that she see that others look like her -- and they get the same "fun" stuff as the other kids -- dolls that represent them.

JoAnn in NJ said...

You always say it much better than I do!

I think we are exposing our children to many races, especially in our ethnically diverse community and church.

I know my question is...if all races are equally valued, then why the heck all the blonde hair blue eyed dollies in the stores? It annoys me and that was before I was the Mom of a Chinese girl.

Eventually, Kelsey will choose her own toys (other than Dora) and if she wants a blond dolly, she'll have it...because we've taken the effort to enfuse her with positive Chinese/Asian culture.

p.s. Gretchen, I think TRU had some good options for a doll for Maeve, if you're interested.

JoAnn in NJ said...
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