My Daughter Wanted a Doll that Didn’t Look Like Her; Here’s How I Responded.

My daughter and I made a promise. Two weeks ago, she saw a doll in Walmart that she wanted, but didn’t get at the time. Now, of course, she thought that she could ask for it the next day and receive. I told her no and made a deal that if she had a good week at school (which is pretty normal for her), we would go to the store and get the doll. She was excited and did very well with not mentioning it to me all week (I was more shocked at that part, lol).

So, fast forward to Friday. We are at the store and we prepare to pick up the doll. To my surprise, she wants the Caucasian doll. I was a little surprised at first, and thought that between the first time she saw the doll and Friday, she might have not cared about the color of the doll. To my surprise, she remembered exactly what doll she wanted, and despite my minimal efforts of persuasion to pick the brown colored doll, she refused.

So, we walked out of Walmart that day, Caucasian doll in hand and my child grinning from ear to ear. Did it bother me? Not really. I left that battle in the toy aisle at Walmart because when her mind was made up, it was made up, and I didn’t want to taint the experience of her receiving a toy “just because it’s Friday” on a petty argument about the skin color of a doll that she truthfully doesn’t even understand the depth of. I tried to ask her about why she didn’t want the doll who’s skin color matched hers, and she didn’t really have an answer (I didn’t really expect her to, but this kid surprises me sometimes); so I left the topic alone for the day, and let her enjoy her doll.

That interaction taught me something about my daughter that I didn’t realize was so prevalent in children at such a young age. Kynn does not care what color her dolls are; she only cares that she can play with one. She loves Elsa and Anna just as much as she loves Moana and Tiana. She has brown skinned dolls, and also Caucasian dolls. Kynn doesn’t pick sides, she’s just a kid and likes to play. She wants to be like the kids she sees on commercials and YouTube videos who have these toys, and if it is a white doll, she wants that doll; if she’s brown, she wants that doll. She’s very exact in her intentions and wants, and I can’t fault her for the specifications she wants on toys based on what she sees.

I felt a little guilty for trying to push the agenda of “why don’t you get the brown doll” on her, once I realized the oddly placed “what does it matter?!” look on her face, lol. For me, there was a deeper meaning to it all, but it also led me to a deeper realization about my daughter.

There are so many avenues of life in which brown girls are under- and misrepresented in society. I want my daughter to be able to see a doll that she identifies with, and if it’s not a doll that she identifies with via color, I believe a deeper understanding of what she’s exposed to daily comes into question. I notice a lot of the movies she watches, or YouTube videos that are viral and popular don’t have many girls of color. She sees the things she sees on television commercials or YouTube ads and wants exactly what she sees; and oftentimes that may not be a doll of color.

I really just want her to be able to understand that dolls of color hold a special place in our hearts. To look on shelves and see a doll in the likeness of our favorite Disney princess, or our childhood idols is a privilege that some thought we’d never see, and I want to be able to represent that in my household and in any way that I can. But, I also have to understand that as a toddler, Kynn does not understand nor care the importance of that just yet, and in time, she will evolve and understand.

With children, if you want them to identify with something, you have to expose them to it. I believe that one should not force certain things in children, because they are very smart and can form opinions about that type of behavior quicker than we think. I think it’s about immersing your child in all cultural opportunities, paying attention to the things they enjoy and show them the many sides to it, and even embracing what they choose; even when it’s not what you want them to choose.

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Quick Public Service Announcement: Y’all Gotta do Better.

I’m truly tired of high-end name brands debuting clothes that I am confident they know are problematic, and continue to throw the rock, hide their hand, and then come back to apologize.

Burberry is yet the next brand to receive public scrutiny and rage as they debuted a hoodie with a noose hanging from it.

Why?

How?

Did NO ONE try to even interject and state that maybe this is not something that should be debuted on a runway? I just don’t get it.

There are several times that this has happened. Brands have brought out different clothes, campaigns, slogans, etc. and there has been some level of problematic notion within them. What I continue to not understand is how there is no healthy conversation before these things hit the media as to how this is not a good look.

I will admit, there are some things that have come out that I have kind of side-eyed and thought, “well maybe that’s a stretch”. And I’m mature enough to say so; however, Burberry’s noose, Gucci’s sweater, H&M’s monkey hoodie, all these things definitely stung in a way that was uncomfortable.

I just have one wish that if you are a high end fashion design company, a global store, a product, a brand, ANYTHING, please have someone on your design team that can talk some sense into y’all. Have someone on your side that can relate to a more socially-conscious society and who can articulate why things are problematic. Because it’s clear, that some of you do not have that type of team; and it shows in the process in which things are presented, and then immediately retracted.

I’ve always thought that it takes more work to get something wrong, then have to rectify it, than to just get it right the first time.

Just sayin’

-🖤

We’re Tired of Companies That Always “Get it Wrong”

There are really no words to describe the outrage that appeared in social media when this picture showed up

“Coolest Monkey in the Jungle” is what the hoodie says.

Well alright. 😐

My first reaction to the hoodie was, “well, that was HORRIBLY executed and offensive as hell.” I also knew that there was going to be some extensive apology about how H&M they just “got it wrong” with their marketing.  In actuality, they issued this initial statement:

Same old story, different company.

How many times have we seen this happen over the years; a company will release a highly offensive ad or product, the public is enraged, they apologize and it is removed from their company? Now, I will be honest; was I horrifically outraged and ready to ride through my local H&M parking lot with signs and protest?  Not particularly.  Will I be shopping at H&M?  I don’t shop there now, so they weren’t really getting much business out of me anyway, *shrugs*.  They never really were a “top priority” option for me as far as clothing stores anyway, so the boycotting of their product is not something that appeals to me on that level.

What really makes me roll my eyes harder than anything on this universe, is the whole apology that eludes to someone on their team missing the mark on something that they NOW realize is highly offensive and causes some great unrest with the greater population.  I am starting to wonder (which I am 95% sure I know the answer to this) if there is any level of diversity on any of these marketing teams who have made these blaring errors.  Just someone who could say, “hey guys, before y’all send that out, you may want to rethink that; because it miiiiiiiight not be the best look”.  I really feel like if a lot of these companies’ marketing or creative teams were diversified, there would not be situations like these where the company would have to make public statements about how wrong they got it with their ad when it came out, especially when the first reaction is offense to different races and/or cultures.  If there are people of diverse races and cultures on their marketing teams, I would love to know how in the world no one thought this would not go over well for H&M.

In a time when race is a very gentle subject matter (given the President that we currently have in office especially), it is no secret that there are many people who pointing out when things are highly offensive to them.  They are not being silent about it and speaking up about how they feel.  I will not deny or downplay the way anyone feels about this child’s hoodie, because I too feel that it can cause offense for several people; however, I do know there are others who are far more angrier than I am and the apology H&M gave is not going over well as enough to win back the hearts of those who once were consumers of H&M clothing and accessories.

I hope that in time, they can come back from this, but I also hope a valuable lesson was learned by them and other companies to hopefully add more diverse minds and opinions to the decision-making process with certain ads and things that are being made.  There are so many ideas and products being put together that it is not hard for one person to look at something and think there is no problem, but another to be able to offer perspective that may be able to save public humiliation.  In a perfect world, one could only hope that when there is a well-rounded group of individuals coming together, these are the kind of things that can be discussed at that table and deemed inappropriate.  They would able to let people know when something will not possibly go over well with their consumer base, and it could save a lot of things like what is happening to H&M right now.