Friday, March 18, 2016

Black Dolls Opinion of a Collector

Stèphanie Benie, the owner of the French-language website www.chroniquebeautenoire.com, which is devoted to black beauty, asked my permission to grant an interview.  She explained:

One week ago we wrote a short article about black dolls and we have continued searching for information about this topic and we have just discovered your black doll collection.
We find interesting that you have a collection as we did not know it was possible to own so many. Therefore we would like to write about you and your work. Would you accept to answer a couple of questions for us?

Stèphanie's questions (black text), my answers (blue text), and a link to the actual article (written in French), which was published on 03/15/2016, follow:


- You say that it is important that black girls play with black dolls for their self love. Can you explain to us, how it contributed to your daughter's self love ?  Playing with black dolls, reading children’s books and viewing media with African American characters, residing in a home with décor that reflected her cultural heritage, in addition to teachings from me and her father about our worth as a people, all worked together as visual and mental tools to dispel the mainstream fallacy that only one form of beauty exists and that all non-white people are minorities.  The end result is a self-assured woman who values her whole being, who has never considered herself a minority or less than anyone else because of skin color or cultural heritage.
  
- Do you have any selecton criteria when you choose your black dolls ? If yes, what are the criteria ?  My main selection criterion when choosing black dolls is their aesthetic appeal.  The dolls must be adequate representations of black people.  

- Through your dolls one can see the evolution of the society and we would also say that they do tell the History of the African American people. Do you think your dolls could be used as an educational tool ?  Dolls can be used as an educational tool in many ways.  As playthings, baby dolls can cultivate girls’ innate tendency to nurture and mother.  For black girls, black dolls can be used to promote self-love, acceptance of self, and an appreciation for others who look like them.  In the hands of non-black children, black dolls can promote cultural diversity and encourage non-black children to value the lives of people whose outward appearance differs from their own.


-  We have seen another website where the owner has a collection of black men dolls. Do you think that the self love issue is the same for boys as for girls ?  Why ?  Yes, the self-love issue is the same for black boys as it is for black girls.  All children must be able to develop a strong sense of self-appreciation particularly in an environment where blackness is often falsely demonized, vilified, and looked upon as less than everyone else.  This is particularly true for black males.  It is very important for them to know, beginning in their impressionable years, that their lives matter.  Surrounding black boys with positive images of themselves and utilizing other tools (art, books and other media where they are included as positive characters) is very important in their impressionable years to encourage a strong positive sense of self.  

The article can be read or viewed at the following link:
www.chroniquebeautenoire.com/poupees-noires-avis-dune-collectionneuse/
Translation:  Black dolls opinion of a collector

dbg
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10 comments:

  1. I absolutely love your responses. Maybe Disney will one day make a dark skinned male hero/doll.

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    1. Thank you! I would love for Disney to do that!

      Keeping hope alive!

      dbg

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  2. Excellent responses! Too bad they didn't provide a link to the black male doll collection they spoke of. I would have liked to have seen that.

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    1. Thanks, Muff!

      I will see if Stèphanie can share the link to the male doll collection she mentioned.

      dbg

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    2. Hey Muff,

      I asked Stèphanie about the male doll collection site. It was one we already know about: Male Doll World's blog. :-)

      dbg

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    3. Ah, okay! Thanks, Debbie!

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  3. Very nice interview with you, Debbie. I do wish Mattel would offer more dolls of color (especially male), be it Black, Asian, Middle Eastern or Hispanic. I think the more we show cultural diversity in our play at a young age, the more accepting we will be of others, be it due to race, religion, body type or even handicap.

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Thank you! Your comments are appreciated!