Changes For Addy
September 22, 2016 5:24 AM   Subscribe

 
I'm excited to read this! I will say this is why you always need more than one black girl. No one can be all of us. I recommend having at least three in every work you make.
posted by dame at 5:56 AM on September 22, 2016 [22 favorites]


Reminds me of this comment I made in another thread many years ago. A memory of my sister and I browsing toys at Toys R Us:
"Why aren't there any Indian dolls?"
It is not a pleasant memory because I can recall my sister crying because she didn't see a version of herself on the shelves. I have not been to a toy store in quite a while but I imagine, I hope, that things have changed and that there is more representation/diversity on the shelves.
posted by Fizz at 6:00 AM on September 22, 2016 [4 favorites]


As much as I hate the American Girl company* they've actually done a pretty good job of the 'Why doesn't a doll look like me?' question with their Truly Me dolls. Barbie has started to do the same thing (less effectively, because they're less bespoke) with curvy, petite, and tall dolls.


*Not just because I've had to buy 4 of the damn things, but because of the way they built some good will by monetizing and commoditizing American history, and then mostly dumped even that by focusing on their stupid 'girl of the year'

**Oh, and the books suck. Same stupid titles for each girl. X's Surprise, X Learns a Lesson, X Saves the Day, Changes for X. God forbid they have a different character arc.

posted by leotrotsky at 6:18 AM on September 22, 2016 [3 favorites]


Oh, not mentioned in the article, but the American Girl company also dumped their Asian American character, Ivy Ling.
posted by leotrotsky at 6:21 AM on September 22, 2016 [1 favorite]


Now that I've had time to read this & the previously, I just want to say how happy I am to see people talking about the problems of being defined by your race's historical suffering. My black side has been free for over 50 years longer than my Italian side has even been American, and we've all been Americans longer than a century. We aren't poor and suffering and riven. We have happy lives and multiple degrees from fancy schools and nice jobs. And we have problems, sure. And many black Americans have been less fortunate and I want a society where the least of us are also taken care of. But my life isn't defined by historical suffering and I want the right to be more than what was done to my ancestors.

I do wonder sometimes if this is a generational difference: the article notes it was black women who thought starting with slavery was necessary and these articles are written by younger women, I think.

But hurrah for Melody and bring back Cecile and now I want a Harlem Rennaissance doll & character more than I have ever wanted something I've only just heard of. Thanks so much for this great post!
posted by dame at 6:44 AM on September 22, 2016 [15 favorites]


This was a great read.
posted by k8t at 7:00 AM on September 22, 2016


A Harlem Rennaissance doll would be so cool!
posted by frecklefaerie at 8:25 AM on September 22, 2016 [4 favorites]


I was never really a doll person as a child, but Melody looks like a pretty great doll. And, yeah, a Harlem Renaissance doll would be super.
posted by janell at 9:32 AM on September 22, 2016


Melody and her brother get followed around a store where her elders had worked.
posted by brujita at 2:24 PM on September 22, 2016


Still waiting for a trans American girl doll though.
posted by newdaddy at 7:15 PM on September 22, 2016 [1 favorite]


I do wonder sometimes if this is a generational difference: the article notes it was black women who thought starting with slavery was necessary and these articles are written by younger women, I think.

I think this plays a huge part. A huge part of the first Civil Rights movement (and the people involved in it and shaped by it) was exposing to the (White) world the Black suffering that came as a result of legal discrimination. While the current movement still has that component--namely the focus on police brutality towards POC--I think young activists are also focused specifically on promoting Black excellence and demonstrating that Black people exist in as many varied forms as White people do. Which should be obvious, but as evidenced by random Black men being labeled "bad dudes", it is not.
posted by Anonymous at 1:54 AM on September 24, 2016


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