R & I took O to Toys ‘r’ Us to buy her (all of 6!) birthday gifts. We veered her away from the Barbies and Barbie-type monstrosities (she has only about 2 dozen of those, and we didn’t buy a single one of it).
And not satisfied with that, we tried to get her to pick up more lifelike dolls. As she tended towards fair-skinned, blond, blue-eyed life-size doll, we convinced her that it was not as nice as the dark-skinned, brown-eyed, black/curly-haired little moppet that stood in a corner. We marketed the doll well, and walked out of the store with that… We tried dinning it into her that this doll was superior to the former. Is that racism? Are we telling her those with fair-skin and light hair/eyes are not good enough?
Or is it positive reinforcement that it takes all kinds to make the world? That the role-models fairy tales and toy-makers push ahead are not the real stuff?
I have to give it to the Americans, though. Be it Barbie, Bratz or any regular doll, they give you a choice of ethnicity to choose from.
What is really appalling is that in India, most dolls are ‘the fair-skinned, blond, blue-eyed’ varieties… now how many in India fit that mould?
I am sure some think I am making a pox out of a pimple.
After all it is just a doll! But it is more than that. It is a child's first exposure to prejudices.