Saturday, January 7, 2017

Representing the Market

In our house, we are obviously big fans of American Girl. I grew up reading all the books I could when I was a child then when Skylar was 9 she got into American Girl herself. I think overall American Girl sends an empowering message to all age groups and all types of girls. I am however disappointed in Mattel what I call whitewashing the dolls. The original "Addy" doll made by Pleasant Company had darker skin, a wider nose and overall looked different. They have since changed her and it was disappointing. I had no interest in the new Addy and bought me an older Pleasant Company one second hand. In our house, we have many different types of dolls and shades and colors...I remember when Skylar was 4 or so we went to a yard sale and she just HAD to have this baby doll I am not sure what brand the doll was but it was naked and had an all cloth body except the bottom was exposed and it was a dark-skinned doll. I thought it was cute. My children have had friends from all over the world and they don't see color as an issue. Maybe that is an issue to some but it isn't to us. I raise my children to respect their neighbors as if they were mirror images of themselves. In our AG family, we have Addy, Cecile, Kaya, a Hispanic doll named Mariana, Josefina, Ivy, and we will probably eventually own the newest doll from American Girl later this year named Gabriela.
  I have held my opinions I have seen on the Facebook groups, Youtube videos, and other blogs about American Girl only caring about making white dolls. Addy has been around since I was a child and yes she was a loner for awhile. But I understand marketing too. I just recently watched a Youtube video about darker skinned dolls on the market here...  I see it all the time where someone wants to buy their child a doll that looks like their child. I guess I never really understood that personally. As my daughter has always gravitated to a variety of dolls and face it no child ever looks like Barbie, No adult has either except Mariah Carey and maybe Dolly Parton LOL. But I have come into issues with this myself when I gifted a friends daughter a dark skinned Baby Alive her daughter is mixed and the parents were too happy with me that I chose to gift her a dark-skinned doll. Also, there isn't a doll in American Girl that looks like my daughter, so there isn't an American Girl with brown eyes and dirty blonde hair like my beautiful daughter with light skin either so I had to have one custom made (only because I had made my son one that looked like him). I don't mind their being dolls with wider cute noses (hell I had a wide nose, big lips, and big ears as a child). I don't mind dolls with different hair types that are what makes the world great why can't our doll world replicate the outside world. My daughter has friends of all types why shouldn't her doll have friends of all types? I have long since kept my mouth shut about my distaste that American Girl changed Addy's features. Why do they need to do this? Why did they need to make her skin tone lighter? Do they just seriously want to be so lazy that they take one mold and dye one darker than the other and there is no other difference between the lighter skinned and darker skinned dolls? As if in the real world people don't carry different features like the "Jewish" nose, or the kinkier hair from the Middle Eastern region? The Fine black hair from the Asian countries? We all have different features no matter what race or where we originate from? Watching Shark Tank, a mother and father came into an issue with their child who thought she had to have yellow hair and light skin to be beautiful so the mother sought out a doll that looked like her daughter. YES, I thought a darker skinned family is searching for a doll with unique features like their daughter. I thought I would see something similar to my favorite Addy doll. I loved their pitch and they got a Shark yay! But upon closer look these dolls still kinda look white-washed to me... Sure they have fuller lips but still don't look that much different than the current dolls on the market. For example straight hair that has been curled into the iconic Shirley Temple ringlets with no texture and no uniqueness about it. You can throw that wig on any doll- light skinned or not... You could probably use the lighter skinned mold and you wouldn't be able to tell the difference. So yes I am disappointed at the market and the diversity of dolls for all little girls.  Oh and if you're interested in seeing the Naturally Perfect Doll line it's here