Every so often, ethnic dolls make the news, like this recent piece on Nigeria's Taofick Okoya who started his own line of Nigerian dolls after giving up his search in frustration. Okoya sells between 6,000 and 9,000 of his "Queens of Africa" and "Naija Princesses" a month, and reckons he has 10-15 percent of a small but fast-growing market. But the history of dolls outside of 'mainstream culture' exemplified by blonde blue eyed Barbie has been rife with prejudice and stereotypes. As the African middle classes emerge, is this an opportunity that gives rise to domestic toy industries?
When Nada Al-Ahdal discovered that her parents had sold her she ran away. She is 11 years old, and this is her message. [more inside]
The Atlantic reports on the 2008 removal/"archiving" of the original three American Girl dolls, dolls whose arrival on the market in 1986 represented a "sensibility about teaching girls to understand thorny historical controversies and build political consciousness." [more inside]
[Mark Twain] did not squat down to be heard and understood by children, but asked them to stand on their tiptoes—to absorb the kind of language and humor suitable for adults.
Neuroscientist Lise Eliot finds that claims of sex differences fall apart. In one study, scientists dressed newborns in gender-neutral clothes and misled adults about their sex. The adults described the "boys" (actually girls) as angry or distressed more often than did adults who thought they were observing girls, and described the "girls" (actually boys) as happy and socially engaged more than adults who knew the babies were boys. Dozens of such disguised-gender experiments have shown that adults perceive baby boys and girls differently, seeing identical behavior through a gender-tinted lens. [more inside]
What Girls Want - A series of vampire novels illuminates the complexities of female adolescent desire. (via) [more inside]
Miss Bimbo invites users to become the "coolest, richest most famous bimbo in the whole world". Unsurprisingly, the site, which encourages girls as young as seven to give virtual dolls breast implants and put them on crash diets, has been widely condemned by parents and children's activists. [more inside]
Boys Are Stupid, Throw Rocks At Them -- in the latest iteration of crude preteen fashion, some girls are sporting anti-boy slogans as part of that "faux girl power" look. Further corrosion of civility...or are boys in fact smelly?
Sure, Scarlett O'Hara Barbie is lovely, and yeah, Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz Barbie is cute, but for my money, it's hard to beat Marge Simpson Barbie, Medusa Barbie, or Dominatrix Barbie. The full collection, located here, clearly owes a debt to Todd Haynes, and the Barbie Liberation Army, but is still worth a chuckle.