Debate Magazine

Girls and Their Dolls

Posted on the 16 February 2012 by Starofdavida
Girls and Their DollsSince I love Big Time Rush (yeah,I know I’m a dork, don’t rub it in), I watch the show obsessively. While gluedto my TV and waiting for the pretty boys to come back on, I’ve noticed ads forHearts 4 Hearts Girls doll. They seemed pretty cool in the commercial, so Idecided to look into them. I wasn’t disappointed - they are really awesomedolls. There are six: Nahji from India,Lilian from Belarus, Tipifrom Laos, Dell from the US, Consuelo from Mexico,and Rahel from Ethiopia.
On the website, each doll has apage giving some details of her life. What I love about it is that the sitedoesn’t mince words and sugarcoat things, it really tells it like it is.Nahji’s page has a picture of a woman sitting in a field, captioned “teapickers work very hard for low wages,” and she says that she raises ducks tohelp her family and sews beads onto sari fabric for extra money. Each doll hasa diary too, with dozens of entries about their real lives. Nahji’s firstentries are about how her father is disabled, her mother is a tea picker who workedsince age eight, and her sister has cleaned houses since age ten (Nahji’s age),but she wants to be educated, learn how to farm and raise ducks, and have asuccessful business in order to help her family and not be a poor tea picker.
I also really like that the dollsare pretty (a lot more appealing than American Girls, in my opinion). I knowit’s sexist that I’m buying into societal beauty standards like that, butlittle girls at this point in history just don’t like to play with dolls thataren’t pretty, and the Hearts 4 Hearts Girls fulfill that requirement. What Ireally appreciate is that all of the dolls are pretty, but they still lookrealistic; the dolls all have different facial features, which is importantbecause they’re all from different cultures. (Part of the reason I refused toplay with non-white Barbies as a kid was because I felt they looked weird. Inow realize my definition of “weird” was that they may have had darker skin,but they had white features. I think they look more realistic nowadays, whichis a really great thing that Mattel is doing.)
And while I’m taking about dolls,I feel like I should mention Gali Girls. They’re supposed to be Jewish, comingwith candlesticks and challah. The Jewish feminist community has critiqued them for boxing girls into traditional femininity and gender roles. I do agree withthis, but on the other hand, I think that these dolls can really empower girls.I remember when the secular Jewish modern-day limited-edition American Girldoll, Lindsey Bergman, came out when I was younger. My mom immediately boughther for me, and I thought it was the coolest thing in the world to have aJewish doll. I remember reading her book, which has a big subplot about herbrother’s bar mitzvah, with glee. Seeing all the Jewish references really gaveme such a connection to her. know young girls who have Rebecca, the officialJewish historical American Girl doll, and they absolutely love her. There’sjust something special about having a doll that you can personally relate toand have a connection with, which is why I like the Gali Girl dolls. Are theyperfect? No. But hey, you gotta start somewhere.

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