Do black girls really need black barbies?

Posted by James, 21 Oct 09

barbies.jpg

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. - (Business Wire) Mattel® announced… the launch of So In Style™, a new line of black dolls by Barbie® featuring more authentic-looking facial features such as fuller lips, a wider nose, more distinctive cheek bones and curlier hair. So In Style™ (S.I.S.™) was developed and inspired by Barbie® designer of 12 years, Stacey McBride-Irby, an African-American mother of two who wanted to create a line of dolls more reflective of her daughter and community.

The So In Style™ line features Grace™, Kara™ and Trichelle™ dolls, three best friends who are all about fashion, fun and friendship. Each of the dolls features its own unique personality and style and reflects one of three varying skin tones ...

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I believe that a happy inspired childhood creates happy, inspired, powerful women,” said McBride-Irby. “I want my new So In Style dolls to not only be an authentic representation of my community and culture, but to also encourage girls to be inspired and dream big.” Read more…

For many years, little girls have been using Barbie for role play; which in itself is a good thing. However, these dolls have been reinforcing narrow standards of beauty in most young girls, making them judge their own beauty based on consumerist standards.

It is a good thing that McBride-Irby created a doll that has features closer to that of most African American girls. But if you ask me, I think the black Barbie line still falls in the range of beauty that is ‘acceptable’ within Eurocentric standards – hair curly as opposed to kinky, petite body size, lighter skin tones… So, are these dolls really a step forward in representing the ‘authentic’ black woman’s physicality?

We have given the black little girl the new line of black Barbie that supposedly looks more like her. Yes, the idea is there. We have even given the black barbie an urban friend Grace. But if pitted against the coveted skinny blue-eyed blonde, which one do you think the girl would pick? Remember the infamous ‘doll test’ (watch video)?

The little girls on the video said the white doll was more beautiful than the black doll. Even at that tender age, the little girls have already absorbed society’s notions about what is beautiful – and even dolls that look like them don’t fit the cut. Do black girls really want dolls that supposedly look like them?

So, what is this new Mattel line supposed to do to the African American little girl? Solve the challenges she will face to her self esteem and identity? If the new line of black Barbie is to stand out as great; If the line of black Barbie is really meant to change the black girls outlook on matters of beauty, self esteem and identity, then why isn’t the Caucasian little girl playing with her on the commercial?

I am not hating on the dolls. But looking at the stuff I have pointed out, how will this concept help the black girl in her childhood and eventual transmission to womanhood? Just a deep thought…

45 responses to "Do black girls really need black barbies?"

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  1.   tabrina says:
    Posted: 08 Apr 10

    Okay everywhere I go I find a topic about black woman we are so interesting to blog about I don't see any other race of females being blog about and no other male race either I'm happy to be a black woman we are something to talk about lol A Sarcastic Joke

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  2.   dainese says:
    Posted: 26 Dec 09

    I was in love with Barbies as a child,the black doll was named Christie,I purchased the S.I. S. for Christmas presents this year for my nieces & they have them in all shades,now honestly;do you think they are going to put them in all sizes(plus,juniors& petite)? It is great to teach black girls that we are beautiful & we do not have to have blonde hair,even though I rock it sometimes...Black is beautiful,sexy,strong & me!!!

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  3.   JavaQueen says:
    Posted: 22 Nov 09

    I think everyone is forgetting how impressionable little girls are at that age. I.E. the video and TV and "rap" videos.... It is absolutely heartbreaking to see how our society has broken our children ( young black girls ) down so much that they "hate" themeselves and view themselves as negative. No wonder there are many young girls not caring about themselves. Yes, the parents are the key but if the parents grew up in the same mentality how do you expect them to teach their children? Ok there are some of you who were lucky enough and blessed enough to have parents who had a high enough self-esteem to deflect this ignorant negativity....but for most, that is not the case. It is very important for a young girl to see dolls like herself ( black ). For some of you growing up in the 80's and beyond...you had some choices and now thank God there are more. But back in the 60's and early 70's when I was growing up, there were hardly any black dolls to choose from. Most dolls had blond hair with blue eyes. Oh yea, there was the Christi doll...but come on, everyone seen it was "Barbie" painted black! The dolls still had caucasion features! Doesn't anyone see anything wrong with that! I am sure the educated designers and manufacturers seen that even back in the 60's and 70's but didn't care anything about it. Because the world see the standard of beauty as white with blond hair and blue eyes. Its 2009 and we now have a "black"/mixed race US President. We now have a "black" Disney Princess for the first time! I for one am excited and glad that we are finally seeing black barbie dolls that look like us. As for them being "chubby"....thats another fight for another time.....unfortunately that will be an even harder battle....

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  4.   Larry says:
    Posted: 21 Nov 09

    Whats wrong with black girls having black barbies?. Then they can share them with their white girlfriends. Whats all the fuss. Black has never been more beautiful. It seems that the tables have turned and now blacks are caught up in stereotypes. What a shame.

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  5.   TricciNicci says:
    Posted: 09 Nov 09

    ...Hardy-har-har Tatted, see how much these darned dolls imitating life gets into one's psyche. I should have played with Tonka trucks out of the gate as well, hahaha! We just weren't right anyway at our house cause our Barbies were doing karate on Ken, lol! I think it was our way of saying "Girls rule" before that saying was popularized. The dolls never lasted very long as we were destructo kids, lol! Believe me we cherished those comic books though. They were our 'Holy Grail' to speak. I had a lot of fun being a kid with all the pop toys of my time and those found in nostalgia during my father's travels. So did my sisters. No one is complaining too much, lol! I wouldn't mind having those toys AND the happy child's world of few worries to deal with now (especially in this "Recession SUCKS" point in history) or any day, lol! 'Twould be nice to have some of Barbie's play money right about now, lol! To bad my banker isn't that avid of a collector, shucks! Enjoy your memories, enjoy!

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  6.   JustAGirl says:
    Posted: 08 Nov 09

    I remember when i was just a kid a i wanted to buy a barbie my parents would always tell just pick anyone you want, they didnt pressure me to pick the black one or the white one and i love them for that. I think that its good that they have a line for black barbies, but why couldnt they just simply mix them in with the regular barbies??? as for the weight i dont think america will ever get over the fact that skinny is all that....im skinny and regardless of what america says im always going to look in the mirror and say gurl you need to gain some wieght because thats who i am i think curves are beautiful and hopefully one day america will to most of my friends are curvy and they say im going to lose it, i will and i always tell them as long as your losing it because you want to not because america says its ugly to be fat(curvy)-- i may but a teen but im a teen that knows something about life

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  7.   leeyuri1 says:
    Posted: 01 Nov 09

    i like it. its not perfect but its a start. sad it took so many ys & a mixed race president 2 get 2 this point. as 4 the weight.. so wut?! they dont make fat white barbies either. every1 promotes skinny as beautifuk regardless of weight. not sayin its right but thats the way it is~

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  8. Posted: 31 Oct 09

    ...And hey Ich, I have to parrot your query......where the hail are the "Barbies" REALLY getting all this "play" money??? Corporate job my arse....LOL.

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  9. Posted: 31 Oct 09

    LOL.....TricciNicci..you are too much.... ...But you all know you piqued my interest when you all started talking comic books/graphic novels.... Dang it....another "misfit" activity.....pouring over the Marvels and DCs....Hail to the YEAH!!!.....LOL. I am a true blue X-Men-iac.....and don't get me started on 80's nostalgia. I get misty for anything from that decade (Rainbow Brite, Strawberry Shortcake and friends, and danggit, when are they going to come out with a live-action Thundercats movie....I'll be the first fool in line for that one....LOL). ...And don't get me wrong I am not totally "Anti-Barbie" here. It's just I am the girl that rather play with a Tonka dump truck (my first toy request ever...LOL) than messing around with dolls.....although I DID have a few and the skin colors varied. Peace and Blessings tatted2death

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  10.   TricciNicci says:
    Posted: 31 Oct 09

    You know I have ooooone problem with Barbie since she's the epitome of 'attractive'. Why has there never been a TAN Barbie?! I mean Mattel makes her sooo real, she has a Corvette, a corporate job, credit cards, the latest fashions, cell phone, work out barbells and a beach house. Oh yes, let's not forget the very fly, Ken. WTH? Everyone knows white, tall, blond and money LIVES at the pool and has a ten year membership at Tall n Tan down the street next to the nail boutique, LOL! That right there is enough to teach your kids what's real and what's not, hahaha!

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  11.   money336 says:
    Posted: 30 Oct 09

    I think barbie just like any other doll represents a connection that a child makes with herself. I don't think that it really matters to a child weather the doll is black or white, its just what the doll represents. Each of us connects with things that are more like ourselves and through those connections lessons are learned. I believe we must first know who we are and what we represent in order to give to others our true selves. Dolls play an early representation of understanding who we are.

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  12.   samcook says:
    Posted: 30 Oct 09

    I guess the question is how do white parents feel about buying black barbies for their kids? If they are adamant about a white barbie doll for their kids, then I can see why its important to have parity for other races and nationalities. If there is no issue, then I do not see the need to solely market to one group.

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  13.   browndove says:
    Posted: 28 Oct 09

    I think dolls are just dolls... All little girls love playing with dolls, regardless of skin color. Television promotes lighter and white skin as beautiful and dark as unattractive. People need to talk to their kids more often.

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  14.   TricciNicci says:
    Posted: 27 Oct 09

    Rayban, You said: "They all seem to get along just fine with each other. If only we did that well." I agree, wholeheartedly!

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  15.   rayban64 says:
    Posted: 27 Oct 09

    I think all little girls should have the chance to play dolls from all races. I agree with ichibod, when he said "Why couldnt they just market the dolls as just Barbie dolls". But it's also parent's responsibility to expose their children to the many different people, styles, cultures, races, and colors out in the world. My daughter has grown up in a different world than I and my sisters did. She has hispanic dolls, black dolls, etc... with of course her white dolls. They all seem to get along just fine with each other. If only we did that well.

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  16.   meisha81 says:
    Posted: 27 Oct 09

    What's up Bigeyes31! My Barbies had the houses, Corvettes, etc, etc. My father would always fuss & complain, stating that Barbie lives better than most people...Shoot, better than we did at one point :0) I think secretly, my Dad wanted boys but got stuck with 3 girls, but since I think that I was the only one out of my 2 sisters that got both boy & girl toys-think that's what helps me be a little well-rounded too! Loved Gem & The Hologram cartoons too, used to think Rio was cute (think that's how his name was spelled). I could go on for a while regarding the 80's toys, cartoons, etc, :0)

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  17.   TricciNicci says:
    Posted: 25 Oct 09

    No Bigeyes, we're both wrong, lol! Green Lantern was created in the 40's but a character in one of the series printed in the 60's asked Green Lantern concerning his mantra of protecting all cultures. The question was why he (Green Lantern) did not protect the "Black Skins" more ("What about the black skins", Green Lantern #76 circa 1970; www.comicbookbin.com). So I should have known this because we were reading comic books during the seventies in my family. Quite heavily at that. Anyhow, I grabbed that reference from Google just now, but the article I was reading gave a lot of depth and detail to the ideaology the designers were grappling with. I also discovered a movie is coming out possibly next year of the Green Lantern character. I'd love to see a Man of Color superhero outside of the X factor (wasn't Hallie brilliant as Storm). You know, someone holding their own. Thought the artists depiction shows no sign of ethnic diversity from what I could see. Wow, that was really fun Bigeyes. Thanks for reminding me of all the good times Memory Lane brought back of comic books. Kewl.

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  18.   bigeyes31 says:
    Posted: 25 Oct 09

    Yes, TricciNicci the Lantern was created in the 60's but was white. A black man is currently the Green Lantern. Comics are just that in name only.I grew up with X-men, talk about issues and social ills,lol very deep stuff!

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  19.   TricciNicci says:
    Posted: 25 Oct 09

    Yes, Bigeyes, I grew up with a collectible pile of every DC and Marvel comic book known to youth. I mean literally piles for my sisters and I. You know, Green Lantern was made in the 60's I believe, but I never recognized him until doing some backreading on the success of the creators of Spidy and the rest of the iconic super figures. Totally gave me a new respect for how super figures are made and what social ills they actually try to help readers cope with. Had no idea, just always thought they were some casual figure of the imagination that just HAPPENED to relate to the social cause of justice. I guess one could say, I got some learnin', lol!

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  20.   bigeyes31 says:
    Posted: 25 Oct 09

    TriccinNicci LOL.Well, Maybe he didn't reach iconic status but I'm sure if you still had him he would be collectable today. Just know that he and many other lesser known black action figures paved the way for Spawn, Blade and the black Green Lantern, LOL. Spawn and Blade reached mega, uber iconic status and they are black superheroes....make mine marvel...LOL Peace

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  21.   TricciNicci says:
    Posted: 25 Oct 09

    My occasions for purchasing toys in the 80's and early 90's led me to a superhero status toy I purchased quite often for all my gift giving needs for little boys in our culture, called Sun Man. He was strictly designed as an Afrocentric answer to the archetype that only White's had super powers, could take bullets and leap over tall buildings in a single bound. Don't know what became of the figure, but it didn't reach iconic status sad to say. Still, I found it at Wal Mart. Maybe they'll carry other such figures soon, but I think companies like Mattel know a lot of what kids and parents choose comes by way of the insurmountable marketing and ad campaigns most smaller manufacturers can't begin to even wrap their marketing dollar around.

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  22.   bigeyes31 says:
    Posted: 25 Oct 09

    Hey Meisha81 As always great comments. I too am an 80's kid!! LOL. I absolutely LOVED the Gem and the Holograms growing up. I'm laughing to myself about all the times I used to have tell my mom and dad on my five brothers who did NOT want to watch the Gem and the Holograms saturday morning cartoon, LOL. Like you meisha81, I was exposed to everything my brothers had. He-man toys and cartoons, silverhawks,GI-Joe,X-men, Spiderman,Thor and IronMan comic books and video games...LOL LOL I still love these things because I believe having that exposure made me a more well-rounded person. I had Barbies and everything that I could get that went with her, LOL.. Barbie Kitchen that smelled like vanilla...anyone remember??LOL

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  23.   TricciNicci says:
    Posted: 25 Oct 09

    Jamacnspyc, Thank you sweetheart. I appreciate the positive feedback. They should use you for a model of what Barbie should have looked like from the beginning, lol! I absolutely love the beauty and range of exquisite beauty People of Color demonstrate! We are all beautiful!

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  24.   meisha81 says:
    Posted: 25 Oct 09

    Just like the above posts, I too had Barbie dolls, Black ones, a few White ones. I am an 80's baby, do anyone remember Gem & The Hologram dolls? :0) I also played with Cabbage Patch dolls, had 2 twin ones, a boy & girl, both were Black. I also had a Black Kid Sister, but it's funny because not only did I had dolls, but my father bought me GI Joes, He-Mans, Tonka trucks & Matchbox cars. So you can say I was an equal opportunity toy monger...LOL! My Dad always put an emphasis on the dolls; "If the girls are going to be playing with these dolls, I want them to play with the ones that look the closest to them." Even though, I didn't have long dark brown hair down to my back like the Barbies did...I agree with the comments that have been made, in order to appreciate our history, culture, and the differences in beauty that we have, the teachings does need to start at home with the parents.

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  25.   fkoi says:
    Posted: 25 Oct 09

    I never thought that Barbie was a good archetype for a young child to aspire toward but she is (as tatted2death says) "a DAYUM TOY!!!!!" In combination with all the other image making that goes on in society, it is just a piece of the pie. Mattel did not make these dolls to liberate the image of young Black girls, in spite of what Ms. Stacey McBride-Irby may say or have intended. They hope that they fill a demographic niche that turns a profit for them the way White Barbie has for so long. The problems of self-image facing young girls (and to a growing extent young boys) are not going to be solved by a $40 doll. Parents are required to do the work necessary to maintain a positive self-image in their child, admittedly in the face of media overkill in the opposite direction. The comment by Ms. aweetangel13 about adverts in Jamaica was most interesting. They too know who their demographic is and naturally cater to them.

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  26. Posted: 25 Oct 09

    note to parents and other concerned parties: It's a DAYUM TOY!!!!!.....if you care so much, turn off the "idiot boxes" (T.V. AND radios), spend sometime actually talking to your kids. STEP UP and be that role model and stop acting like you have no say or control over the situation. Kids are more savvy than we adults ever credit to them. Instill COMMON SENSE and half the battle is OVER!!! Peace and Blessings tatted2death

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  27.   Member says:
    Posted: 25 Oct 09

    Yes, I agree with Ksparks, why should not we have barbies that reflect and celebrate all of our diversity and make us feel better about ourselves.

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  28.   ksparks504 says:
    Posted: 23 Oct 09

    Why not? Any doll should reflect the little girl playing with it. Soon they will have Asian inspired dolls, native American. Every one should be included.

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  29. Posted: 22 Oct 09

    OOps I meant I think these black barbie dolls are absolutely adorable!

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  30. Posted: 22 Oct 09

    Anyway I think barbie dolls are absolutely adorable! They are sooo cute!? I have always had lots of black barbie dolls as well as white barbie dolls growing up. So I feel Ive always had alot to choose from! But these dolls are perfect! The more the merrier!

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  31. Posted: 22 Oct 09

    Cant believe they didnt post my last 2 messages. It was very positive!

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  32.   jamacnspic says:
    Posted: 22 Oct 09

    TricciNicci, I love every word you had to say in your comment. You hit the nail so hard on the nail, I damn near wanted to jump out of my chair and say AMEN SISTA!!!! Education is Key. It starts at home and along with everything you had to say. I agree with you 100%. God bless you girl.

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  33. Posted: 22 Oct 09

    This is not too surprising to me...We have been bombarded with these messages for a long time. I was fortunate enough to grow up in a private school and my parents reinforced to me and my siblings that black images are beautiful. But black people have been doing this for years. Lighter is better...light eyes, good hair. Etc. Girls on video are always caramel color, or light skin . This has been going on in every culture. I even fell into this belief. Mostly because you have no choice you are swimmiming in this belief. I always liked the tall ,white soap opera guy. I thought they were so handsome and romantic? Dont forget white males own the tv networks and they can put any image they desire. That is their right. And when a black person owns a network you can put up your images. My Black girlfriend is from Jamaica...Everywhere you go there are images of black people even though there is a small minority of other races even white. But they own the network! Newsflash! lol

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  34. Posted: 22 Oct 09

    I think its absolutely adorable! I love these dolls so cute ? I have to add...I have collected lots of barbie dolls growing up and I have always owned tons of black barbies dolls as well as white dolls. There has never been a shortage of Black barbie dolls for me! But this is nice we get a much wider range.

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  35.   TricciNicci says:
    Posted: 22 Oct 09

    Several years back my mom and I attended an African American Art and Authors Symposium at Scottsdale Public Library in Scottsdale, Arizona. Now for those who may not be aware of the demographics in Arizona, Scottsdale is akin to Beverly Hills 90210. At this symposium there were Q and A sessions on the varying days for both artists and authors presenting their African American based themes. Being that I am a 7th generation Arizonan (another fact few African Americans could grasp back in the day, lol!) I was quite surprised to discover over 90% of the audience, the artists and authors we were there to celebrate, suffered from identity issues subjective of race and color. In both presentations I could not take it any longer and had to become part of the conversation on the other end which I felt was not being addressed. Why? Because as I mentioned this was OVER 90% of audience feedback and panel participation stating the negatives of what they felt and/or experienced growing up "black". It frankly left me feeling that there wasn't one person in the room who felt good - excited even about being of our heritage. I had to say something. I was the only one who did. I was amazed. I kissed my mother on her cheek and thanked her afterwards. I am proof of the perspective which can be achieved when parents are involved in positive self imagining and do not allow teachers, society, peers and family groups or intimate aspects of communities to downgrade the significance of a child's esteem factor. It doesn't just start with self. It begins with every relateable factor children perceive. Self doesn't just mean YOURself when you are a child. It could be your sibling (say if you are fair skinned and told you are better or more important than your deeper toned siblings) or the association of children in culture in school, etc. My parents were thorough setting ground rules for self appreciation, interacted in our school programming and associated EVERY GOOD THING IN LIFE ITSELF WITH OUR CULTURAL PERSPECTIVE!!! We played with Black dolls. ...And white dolls too. We also played with Asian dolls and Native American. I can say if a line did not support what we call diversity now, my parents didn't support that line or that manufacturer. This is one of the ways we learned we were important and that others could not just push their limited views on how we should perceive ourselves. That alone is a huge esteem booster...CHOICE. All dolls are not made by Mattel. Culturalism does not have to mean Consumerism even though I know we live in a country that considers consumerism to be the main culture. The other thing is that one has to consider the source. We are talking about Barbie. According to everyone I know and have heard and seen in the Media, Barbie's physical design is unreal for everyone except a very strange and small number. Now on top of that, I, just the other day, saw a very BEAUTIFUL Woman of Color at the Barnes and Noble in Summerlin, Nevada. She had short cropped hair, skin tone about the depth of fire321, very tall, elegant and dressed in professional business attire WITH the EXACT PHYSICAL DEMEANOR OF BARBIE HERSELF!!! Not a fake spot on her, just naturally wider top than bottom, perfect girls-in-shorty-shorts-serving-drinks-with-cheap-fries-at-the-owl's-spot, long legs with ankles not made for Louboutin's. She had a Barbie butt not a butter butt. Now that's what I call a Black BARBIE! I'm with you Lenax7, if she looked like the description most AA complain about and not the happy cross section of medium deep to medium fair folks would cry Aunt Jemima Foul! I think myself and others will continue to celebrate the tradition of diversity and education of ourselves. Oh, by the way, here we go trying to project African Americans (oh excuse me, that would just be the women, lol) have poor self image problems based on a FAIR depiction of who we are as a people. The other thing is did you know you can also find on youtube a Black preacher whose main message is Oprah is the cult leader of a world religion with millions of followers who support her as the ANTICHRIST? Hmmm, that makes me think...Ah ha! By George, why don't we just have Oprah to send all the little Black girls in America a doll that looks exactly like them and tells them 99 things they won't hear on any ordinary day in their ordinary worlds. Like "BLACK IS BEAUTIFUL, I'M BLACK AND I'M PROUD AND MY MOMMA AND DADDY ARE BLACK HOW 'BOUT YOURS!!!!!!!"

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  36.   stella5 says:
    Posted: 22 Oct 09

    Barbie dolls doesn't represent an "authentic" look either way!! Their body types are certainly not comparable with an avarage woman/teenager. Barbies always have set a beauty standard that gave most young girls (all colors) low self-esteem...looking at many women today trying to follow that trend (perfect breast, slim waist, skinny shape etc). When I was young, I grew up playing with dolls of all colors. I didnt see a difference in beauty...when I was playing myself I used the black dolls, because they had the dark hair and dark eyes, just like I did. I think there should be dolls of all colors, only and alone to teach kids about all different types and beauties. And I totally agree with Bigeyes comment.

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  37.   fire321 says:
    Posted: 22 Oct 09

    Hey Ich...all is well here. I agree that children should be exposed to black, white (or whatever) type of dolls but I preferred my daughter to play with the black dolls only because she didn't see the beauty in them like she did the white dolls. Come to think of it, you do kinda look like the my buddy doll...hehe

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  38.   bigeyes31 says:
    Posted: 22 Oct 09

    I'm saddened by the fact that our black children are having such an identity problem...I mean it breaks my heart when I watch the children in the clip. I could only watch it once and couldn't wait for it to be over! It's not Matel's job to give our children self esteem. They are NOT responsible for teaching our children to appreciate black skin and it's own unique beauty, only their bottom line. We have to realize that our children are bombarded with white beauty everyday through subliminal messages from commercials, magazines no matter the subject from buying cars to laundry detergent...white faces and scenarios everywhere. Black parents have to be diligent in counteracting these suggestive influences with images of black beauty and self worth so at least to give children a more balanced view of the different kinds of beauty. I believe that little black girls should have little black dolls and white dolls if she wants but it should not be the white doll hands down in every situation because she hasn't been shown her own beauty enough!!! The emotional state of our children in THIS day and age, devastates me. I'm in disbelief!! No, I'm angry! Peace(even though I don't feel like it)

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  39.   ichibod says:
    Posted: 21 Oct 09

    Hello, Fire. How's my girl? I will say though, I did have the black "My Buddy". I felt as though he looked like me. Not by him being black, but I thought he did sort of look like me, and my mom thought so too. She and my aunt both got themselves black Kid Sisters. My cousins had all the Barbies and different races of other dolls. That's cause they were spoiled. They gave each doll their own story. I remember an episode of The Hughleys where the little girl made a scene in the store becuase DL wouldn't let her buy a white doll. If I had a daughter, and I hope I have one some day, she'll have white as well as other color dolls in order to complete the collections. That's unless she or they don't want them. Godiva, I don't know. I'll have to check. Last time I looked it was still pending.

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  40.   lenax7 says:
    Posted: 21 Oct 09

    Firstly, I know from experienace, kinky hair extensions last half the time that less curly ones do, so I really do think that from a marketing perspective, having super kinky hair would not be economical. I only wear kinky extensions, (because that's what I like), but straigher hair lasts longer. Also, the girls depicted are of various shades. What do they need to be, jet black? The one in the middle is dark skined and the other two are either, light of medium toned, so whats the problem? Sometimes black people take the idea of an authentic black person too far! My dad is african and is light skinned, (is that not authentic?). Black people do come in different sizes, and you can also get barbies with afro and kinky hair anyway, you can also get some which are african (they are in other barbie collections). So what's the problem. As for the body type, I am a black women with a similar sort of body type, (although not that skinny!). I'm slim and atheletic, and virtually every black women in my family is like that. Aren't approximately 77% of the US black female population overweight? (in the UK, its about 36% for african women and 38% for caribbean), so the author may be having a distorted view of what the 'typical look of a black women is' since most black women in the US are overweight. I will admit black women can be quite curvy, (more so than these dolls). But there is a difference between curvy and fat. Also, I think people spend to much time over the doll test, which I think most children grow out of. When I was younger, the black dolls were just brown versions of the white dolls and I didn't like that at all. If I had the black dolls they have now, I would prefer them, (since they have fuller features etc).

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  41.   marybaby2 says:
    Posted: 21 Oct 09

    my point of view is this i think the barbie she have darker skin and braids ,kinkier hair that really a fact, the dolls look real skinny and black girls are eating looking chubier.when i was growing up i was the pretty dark girl and my sister was light skinned always calling me blacky,so i just about hated my my color and myself,our father was lighter skinned with curly hair.My mother was very dark,so what is she making mixed dolls,my father would tell me i was beautiful and perfect the way i was,so i learned to love myself and my dark skin,thats what the girls need to know one day my sister and i was on the bus,the man said you too have to different kinds of beauty go figure

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  42.   godiva61 says:
    Posted: 21 Oct 09

    Ichibod, What went wrong? My end, or your end? godiva61

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  43.   Fire321 says:
    Posted: 21 Oct 09

    I agree, Ich. These dolls are not a true representation of the average woman let alone black girls/women.

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  44.   ichibod says:
    Posted: 21 Oct 09

    Why couldn't they just market the dolls as just Barbie dolls rather than "So In Style". Just 3 new different types? Black girls come in more shapes and sizes than that. Where are the chubby Barbies? I'm happy that as a child, my brother and I didn't have this problem with GI Joes. It's whoever had the coolest weapons, costumes, backpacks, dosiers, and vehicles that got the attention as well as who had the best "stage presence" on the cartoon. I knew more white kids who had Roadblock and Ice Berg. That's why boys would beat up or blow up their sister's or cousin's dolls. Because they're so damn superficial. Where does Barbie get the money for that Condo and that Corvette? At least you knew the "Joe" team were mercenaries. Anyway, it sounds like this McBride-Irby chick has a personal problem that won't make very much money or help little girls' self esteem issues.

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  45.   Fire321 says:
    Posted: 21 Oct 09

    I have personally experienced this with my daughter when she was around 3-4 yrs old. I can only assume because she is dark skinned that she was teased about it and developed a low self-image of herself. I would always buy her black dolls so she could see that black dolls are just as pretty as the white dolls and in turn realize how beautiful she was. A white co-worker asked me why I didn't buy the white dolls and I told her that there wasn't any white faces in my home. Would she buy black dolls for her daughter? I think not. It's a sad but for too many black children, they run into that "white is right" mentality in social settings but I refused to let that thinking infect my children.

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