As the Christmas shopping season is about to kick into full gear, parents will begin the yearly tradition of checking off everything on their little one’s list. And of course, dolls are always a popular item anytime of the year.
However, when cruising the aisles of the toy store, should black parents only look for black dolls for their daughters? One author thinks so.
In her essay, The Beauty Ideal: The Effects of European Standards of Beauty on Black Women, Susan Bryant explains how the lack of representation in our society today can effect young Black girls.
“The detrimental effect of these European beauty standards on black women is a societal issue that is often unaddressed on a multisystem level. Black women today are subjected to incessant messages about European ideals of beauty through family, peers, partners, the media, and larger society. If young black women stand in contrast to what society dictates as attractive, they may find it difficult to grow to accept themselves. As a result, the internalization of racialized beauty standards can perpetuate into a lifelong, intergenerational culture of self-hatred.”
The history of black dolls dates back to the 1800s, linking to figures such as Leo Moss who’s collection of dolls was exhibited in the I See Me: Reflections in Black Dolls at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History in Detroit, MI.
“The purpose [of the exhibit] is to show how dolls empowered African Americans throughout history as a way to see yourself, to empower yourself,” Jennifer Evans, assistant curator at the museum commented to The Guardian. “Having so many dolls in one place, and for those growing up who couldn’t have a black doll, is very powerful.”
What do you think? Do you feel like buying only black dolls for black girls will limit their exposure to race? Or do you feel like only buying black dolls for black girls is important to help establish positive self-images? Sound off, we want to hear from you!