Racist Female Dolls

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I don’t mean the dolls themselves are racist (i.e., it’s not “Kenny Klansman”); I mean that the marketing of the doll is racist.

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This is an African-American female doll whose package reads, on the lower right corner, “I Love to Dance!” The white female dolls had different labels, like “Charming Smiles!” and some other such harmless one. This seems even a tad worse than Mattel’s creepy announcement that it “celebrates the working woman”with”French Maid Barbie”.   Actually, the best analogy probably is to earlier Barbies: following the “Dr. Barbie” and “Astronaut Barbie” progress of the 1980s, the 1990s brought us the talking Barbie who complained, “Math is Hard!” (Just as sadly, I think she also said something about loving to shop.)

My wife asked a good question: “I wonder what talents the Asian or Latino dolls have”?   (A doll of me clearly would say, “I Love to Write Smart-Aleck Things and Get Hate Email!”)

- Scott Moss

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0 Responses to Racist Female Dolls

  1. Ann Bartow says:

    I agree with you about the stereotyping, but the “Charming Smiles” thing is kind of creepy in its own right.

  2. Nantiya Ruan says:

    From the picture, not only is the caption “I love to Dance!” but the whole ensemble is a dancing outfit with assorted dancing paraphernalia. So it goes beyond the marketing to the whole concept and design. Outrageous and I just have to hope that my 4 year old daughter won’t get one for her birthday someday, like the Barbies she keeps getting.

  3. This is just an anonymous person wanting to state on the record that Scott’s wife was the one who noticed the “I love to dance” label, and that the white dolls did not have them.

    Also, to respond to Nantiya, when our daughters receive these dolls as presents, I would view it as an opportunity to explain to them why this is wrong. I think the only way to eradicate this nonsense is to raise the next generation to be aware of the harm that racial stereotyping causes. Explaining this to the existing marketing executives might cause them to remove this particular offensive label, but it won’t stop them from doing the next offensive thing. This is the same as telling my husband to fold the sheets, and then being surprised why he doesn’t fold the towels. (“You didn’t say to fold the towels, you just said to fold the sheets!”)