How much influence childhood toys have over the development of ideologies of beauty is debatable. How my dolls looked as a child most definitely influenced how I viewed beauty as an adult, therefore children dolls and toys need to be multi racial with all hair textures included.
The first Black Barbie hit the shelves in 1980 with white features shared by many of the dolls following her. In the black community, long, straight hair is often considered more beautiful than short kinky hair. Although many black barbies are available not many of them depict a true image of a females of colour because majority of the have straight hair.
Malaville Toys changes the game
Thank to Mala Bryan, international model, for launching a collection of dolls with different races and textures of ethnic hair with the Malaville Dolls.
“I found it very hard to find different black dolls with ethnic hair… I realized I was not the only one having that issue… So I started the collection with 4 different brown skin tones dolls..I create a doll that many young black and brown girls can relate to and many children of other races can now have a black and brown doll to add to their collection.” said, Mala when What inspired you to start the Malaville Debut Collecton Dolls?
To support the revolution of Balck Barbie dolls by visiting the pop up shop in 90 Kloof Street, Gardens, Cape Town.
After browsing the ToysRus website it came to my attention that Black Barbie dolls are more expensive. The black barbie is R299.90 whereas the white Barbie is R179.90.
“It is our policy to price like dolls of all ethnicities the same. We will ensure the pricing is corrected,” Kathleen Waugh, vice president, Corporate Communications at Toys R Us told CNBC in an e-mail. Although this comment was made to CNBC the difference in cost is still very much standing. Why this is the case is unclear as they only real difference in these two barbies is the skin colour the hair and body shape is the same. This is a subtle form of racism.
“I’m emphatic about a black child having a doll that reflects who she is, I want that child to understand that there’s nothing wrong with being black. If black children are force-fed that white is better, or if that’s all that they are exposed to, then they might start to think, ‘What is wrong with me?” said Debbie Behan Garrett, author of Black Dolls: A Comprehensive Guide to Celebrating, Collecting, and Experiencing the Passion. (More here)
This needs to change to allow young girls access to a variety of doll to plat with. These prices because the images children are exposed to can change the way they think.
The video below demonstrates multiple childrens’ Barbie preference, which underlines the ideals society has of beauty.
It was a accomplishment having a black barbie made now it time to have a barbie depict the true image of a black female with hair that will hopefully encourage young girls to feel normal. The answer to why black barbies are more expensive in retail stores has gone unanswered but its important society asks these questions.