Wednesday, February 20

We Need to Stop Looking to Barbie to See Ourselves - New Black Barbie Stirs Controversy

Barbie has always stirred a lot of controversy - from creating unrealistic body ideals for children growing up to the addition of "diverse" Barbie dolls who's features weren't so diverse. Remember the first black Barbie that looked basically like a white Barbie painted brown? Well, there is a new black Barbie that may be hitting shelves and many womyn are not impressed with the look of it.

Sporting blond straight hair, a cleavage baring top and two monogrammed designer bags, many feel that it is representative of a stereotypical ideal. In my opinion, the doll does not actually look too different from plenty of the images of black womyn we see on the TV (from the Basketball wives to Nicki Minaj). On the one hand, I appreciate the efforts of trying to create diverse dolls so that little brown girls can play with dolls that look like them. Many of the new dolls have deeper skin and fuller lips.
But , has Barbie ever been representative of the majority of the population - white, brown or different? I think that we all know by now not to look to Barbie to see ourselves. Barbie has never represented true diversity. If I had a daughter, I would steer clear of Barbies completely and support local or smaller manufacturers who create beautiful black dolls with kinky hair, round noses and full lips. So that she knew that her unique features are beautiful too.
What do you all think, would you buy any of the new ethnic Barbies that have been introduced on the market for your daughters?


Andrea said...

I struggle with this idea. As a single parent mother of a beautiful young black girl, Im not sure that I would completely refuse it. I think we make too much of these types of situations. As you've already stated, this is expected of Barbie. The white Barbie is t indicative of what to expect when looking at a white woman. I think that we all should place more emphasis on what we instill inside of our young girls. I let mine know that, if that's what you want and it's pure, fine. All I want is for her to love herself and, the fact that she might prefer a LV to a Coach bag, doesn't necessarily mean that she doesn't appreciate or value herself. It's okay to want a Mercedes instead of a Honda (which I drive) as long as that girl knows that it doesn't define her and that, even if she were riding a bicycle, she's still beautiful. I guess if she's secure on the inside, wanting to change up her looks from natural brown hair to blond highlights won't make any difference as long as she knows that she is not her hair. I don't think there is anything wrong with creativity and I'm sure as long as its our own, and not second else's idea.

Michelle H-W said...

I have bought (received) Black Barbie dolls, that are ballerinas and doctors BUT you are right it is just white Barbie painted brown. When people want to find my daughter Black dolls they usually end up buying Bratz and I can't STAND their outfits, much like the picture you are showing. AT first my daughter preferred the Blonde dolls an it drove me nuts because I couldn't believe she was just like the experiment that was repeated recently. I have Black art in my home, we have books promoting Africentrism and yet here she was still wanting a white doll. Her confidence is up as a Black girl now (11 yrs old next month), but still has some white dolls in the mix LOL

Anonymous said...

This is not even a Barbie doll,it is a integrity doll. know your facts