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"Our Generation" Dolls

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Over the weekend I was at SuperTarget and wandered over to the doll section. The past few years I have done the kids ‘Santa shopping’ for my uncle’s electric company holiday party and like someone had previously mentioned it is hard to walk down the aisle and look at things critically after you have spent many afternoons picking out dolls for people you know. On this trip however I focused on the doll aisle (the one without the Barbies and Bratz dolls). There were the Cabbage Patch dolls, the Little Mommy dolls and the ones I found interesting were the “Our Generation? dolls.

I was hoping to find something more about them online but all the search results came up with were dolls for sale. These dolls were ones I had never seen before (although they were not that different from any of the others). There were dolls with varying skin tones, different personalities and their own deluxe set of accessories that came in the same package as the doll. They were located on the shelf at eye level for about a 3rd or 4th grader and the shelf was as fun as it could get. The name “Our Generation? is catchy as some girls may hear their moms talk about Barbies and want dolls of their own (even though Barbies are always up to date with fashion, celebrities and ideas.) When I saw these dolls I thought back to the “Ethically Correct Dolls? article. The first point made was that “our children gain a sense of self-importance through toys. So we make them look like them.? These dolls all seem easy to relate to for young girls and since they are their generation, they can relate even more. All of the dolls at Target were female and I found myself immediately drawn to the doll that I would have picked out as a child (the one that looked like me back then.) Jenny came with an mp3 player, a passport and luggage for all of her travels (even stuff that I enjoy too). Sandie, Robyn and Katherine also lined the shelf, one dressed very feminine, one in her sports apparel and one “regular? girl. These dolls were larger and more realistic than a Barbie but still had a typical flawless appearance of most dolls.
Looking at the dolls closer I realized that none of them ever depict the changes a girl goes through as she goes through puberty. None of them have acne, or are awkwardly proportioned. They don’t have goofy haircuts or braces.
Dolls have changed quite a bit over the years but none of them surprised me. They continually attempt to diversify dolls but they all remain beautiful and flawless. Children will play with dolls no matter what they look like and enjoy doing so. It isn’t until people like Clarkson analyze how dolls will “empower them as racial beings? that children even realize that the doll they are playing with isn’t exactly like them. Although we are all able to criticize doll companies and pick apart the negative ideas they display, children have and will continue to love them and play with them until someone steps in the way.

Comments

It's funny how meanings change as we do. I remember in an economica class years ago my teacher was talking about the subtext of a fairy tale about buying pies (can't remember the name, or even the subtext). But I remember thinking at the time that it all seemed a but silly.

Having said that, there is something to the point that we are influenced on a subconscious level by things like a perfect body, no acne, beautiful features, and even though we might not connect the subliminal influences with how we feel conscioulsy, they do affect us.

Children will happily play with dolls anyway. But wouldn't it be great if they were truly more representative as well!

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