Thursday, October 26, 2006

Of race and dolls

For those of you worried about the goats...I entered into a settlement agreement with the evictee. He has three weeks to vacate and take his goats with him. I am relieved about this.

Here is my question for the day:

When purchasing dolls for Lana, how careful should I be to purchase dolls that are Asian in appearance?

I have so far purchased two dolls for her - both appear to be Asian. One is clearly Asian, as her name is "Sonya Lee" and there are adorable Asian girls playing with her all over the box. (But, I worry that it is culturally insenstive of me to purchase a Chinese doll for a Vietnamese child. GEE! GAH!! My head might explode with this....)

The other doll has light skin and dark black hair and brownish-black eyes. I suppose if pressed one might think she was Italian or Spanish, but, she looks Asian to me. Her name is Cerise (which means Cherry in French). Here is a picture of her: (isn't she adorable??)

http://www.corolledolls.com/corolle_catalog/product_detail.php/pid=1105~subid=140/index.html

Anyway, I've been thinking some about toys for Lana, and my aunt suggested getting some "Kelly and Friends" dolls to take to Vietnam with us, because they are small and easily packable. (Kelly being Barbie's little sister, of course.) My aunt thought that she had seen an Asian Kelly and friends doll.

So, today I went looking (on-line, at lunch time) for some Kelly and Friends dolls, and I found THIS collection:

http://www.amazon.com/Barbie-Kelly-Ballet-Bunch-Dolls/dp/B000BCEJIG/sr=1-4/qid=1161893963/ref=sr_1_4/002-3530512-1780803?ie=UTF8&s=toys-and-games

It's five dolls. The picture is not very close up, but, it appears to me that there is an Asian doll, a black doll, a Hispanic doll, a red-head, and a blonde.

It looks like quite a diverse little ballet class. And small enough to pack in Lana's suitcase. AND LOOK HOW THEY ARE ALL DRESSED UP FOR BALLET CLASS? TOO CUTE FOR WORDS. And yet are too young looking to be physically distorted by the same folks who make Barbie, right?

Bottom line - can I feel good about purchasing this product? Certainly, I am not going to find a collection of 5 Asian baby ballerinas. (Not in the US, anyway?) And Lana is coming to a neighborhood populated by our neighbors who are white, black, Hispanic, Indian (as in from India), a mixed race couple, and I am pretty sure that the woman three doors down is Cherokee or Sioux. But I'm not 100% certain about that.

The point is, Lana will be moving into a diverse neighborhood, which I understand will be a shock to her. Should I endeavor to ensure that her playings are diverse as well? Or should I purchase only Asian dolls? (Which is a tall order in this neck of the woods, where white, black and Hispanic dolls are plentiful, but, Asian dolls are few and far between.)

I ask myself what I would have done, had Gabe been a girl. What would Veronica's (Veronica being the name that Gabe would have had, had Gabe been a girl) doll collection look like?

I want to believe that Veronica would have owned dolls of many different colors. Although I don't know that I can honestly answer that question about a daughter I didn't have...

Food for thought. Moms of other transracially adopted girls, what did YOU do? (WWMOTAGD? What would moms of transracially adopted girls do?) :-)

LM

14 Comments:

Blogger jenn said...

I have been keeping my eyes out for Asian dolls and there aren't many. I am thinking that perhaps next year for Christmas we might get bitty twins (American Girl) for the twins as you can now pick your twins...one is somewhat asian looking.

In my opinion, pre-been there done that, as a child I remember being excited when a doll looked like me. Why not have asian dolls for our asian girlies then?

Friends of ours that have adopted from Vietnam do not have anything Asian that I recall...their girl is 5. Just letting you know, not sure why they don't.

Thursday, October 26, 2006 7:46:00 PM  
Blogger jenn said...

Ok, I went and looked, it is Bitty Baby, not the Bitty Twins:
http://store.americangirl.com/pls/ag/AG_pagestyle?catid=376392&groupid=40221

Thursday, October 26, 2006 7:49:00 PM  
Blogger Rachel said...

My daughter has a pretty diverse doll collection. I've always made sure she has darker skinned baby dolls and Barbies, but she has never expressed interest in the particular skin tones of the dolls, however she LOVES any doll with long black hair like hers. I have found most Asian dolls are very light skinned...sometimes caucasian Barbie has a deeper tan than her Asian friends. Ava does have Asian dolls and a Barbie (Mulan to be specific) but she also has Hispanic dolls (they seem to match her skin tone better but sometimes have brown hair not black) and she has African dolls. And of course she has blonde haired, blue eyed dolls, too. Bottom line, my opinion would be not to stress too much, just buy a variety of dolls with different skin tones and hair color. I'm sure Lana love them all. And of course, regardless of appearance, they all wear those &#$@! shoes that end up everywhere. :)

Thursday, October 26, 2006 10:10:00 PM  
Anonymous Duchess said...

I have no children...as we all know but I did see a little girl the other day on my flight (Seattle to Portland)who had white blonde hair and was playing with an African baby (she was about 4) I say but whatever you think is best - go diverse and then let her choose as she gets older.

Friday, October 27, 2006 1:34:00 AM  
Blogger Nicki said...

I have not read the other comments but I will tell you my opinion. We have a boy who loves dolls and we do not go out of our way to make sure all his dolls look like him (either in gender or in race). That is ridiculous. However he is not adopted (although he looks nothing like the rest of us dark-haired, dark-skinned folks...if you've ever seen pictures, you will know which kid it is! haha) and he is Caucasian so he has people to identify with everywhere he looks as the racial majority. That said, he has never looked to his dolls as a means of racial or any other identification. His very very very favorite doll is this big fat totally round black baby. He will pick that doll out of a line-up any day as his favorite. And he asked for a new doll for Christmas and when I showed him pictures, it was the one that looks just like this favorite baby of his that he chose (which led to a discussion on why it is that he needed two identical babies - TWINS he said, haha). So I plan to buy a wide variety of ethnicities for Addison and let her chose. Maybe she will have a preference different from her own race, maybe she will identify with the Asian dolls, maybe she won't like dolls at all.

Friday, October 27, 2006 8:55:00 AM  
Anonymous Kay/Hanazono said...

FWIW we never had any Asian dolls growing up and it didn't bother me that my dolls didn't look like me. Most of the Barbies were white, although I think I also had a Diahann Carroll doll when she had that show about the nurse (??!).

Of course, I was more a Breyer horse girl than a doll girl, so maybe that's why I don't think it's necessary to worry too much about purchasing dolls that "look Asian"...

Good news about the goats :)

Friday, October 27, 2006 10:39:00 AM  
Blogger Kelly said...

I think it is important to have "asian" dolls; equally important to have dolls that "look" caucasian, african american, hispanic, native american etc. Personally, I would hate to run into a situation where I thought I was doing the right thing by buying all asian dolls only to discover that my child "wants" other dolls and feels that because of her race she "can only have asian dolls." not saying it would happen, but in my over-worrisome mind, such scenarios do pop up and linger.
I would definitely go for the ballet dolls. Let her choose what one's will be her "favs"- chances are that will change over time. and if you are too worried about Barbie, why not hunt down those "Sunshine Family" dolls of the olden days? ha! I had them, and I think I remember you saying you had them also......

Friday, October 27, 2006 10:41:00 AM  
Blogger c h e l said...

I bought Grace Asian dolls and other people bought her "Caucasian" dolls... and she plays with neither. She does like ONE of the Asian dolls I got her, but I think it's less about the face and more about the blue and red on the baby's outfit.

I plan on getting her both, or whatever she gravitates to. I just hope to avoid Barbies because of their ridiculous physical characteristics and not because of their skin color (I had both a Chinese and Vietnamese Barbie growing up- my mom got me a bunch when they released their "Barbies of all countries" thing- they were supposed to be collector's items, but one day when my mom wasn't home, I ripped open the boxes because they were so gorgeous. I also opened the Scotland one- she had gorgeous red hair, green eyes, and this beautiful kilt....)

Friday, October 27, 2006 12:17:00 PM  
Blogger Danielle said...

Here's my idea... I would let Lana pick. She may not even wants dolls- remember who my child is- she beats them up. She may want computer games or beads. Have some things there for her but let her choose things that interest her. This will also give her a sense of pride in being able to make choices for herself.

Friday, October 27, 2006 4:01:00 PM  
Blogger Avonlea said...

I haven't been there yet, but I think I would buy a variety of dolls and also a variety of stuffed animals - dogs, cats, bears, etc. As for books - same thing - variety and similarity.

Friday, October 27, 2006 5:04:00 PM  
Blogger Ryan and Heather said...

I have a very diverse group of daycare girls and I got them those little ballerina dolls to play with! They are adorable! I love them. I am aware of race much more than the children are-I make sure I have lots of different races represented in the toys that we play with (dress up clothes, dolls, posters, musical instruments, etc.) I have lots of asian dolls for our future daughter but I also have white, black and hispanic dolls too.

Monday, October 30, 2006 12:37:00 PM  
Blogger Robinson 4 said...

Have you seen this?
http://www.carpatina.com/AoDai.html
You could get one of the 18" American Girl dolls with brown hair and "almond eyes", and then dress her in this outfit. Boom. You got yourself a VN doll!!

Wednesday, November 01, 2006 11:26:00 AM  
Blogger rahulv said...

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Read More

Friday, November 24, 2006 7:05:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Have you heard of mytwinn.com? They will custom-make a doll to look like your child (you choose hair color, eye color, skin tone, and hair length and send in a picture to show stuff like birthmarks, freckles...)

Monday, November 27, 2006 1:49:00 PM  

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