Thursday, October 29, 2009

A Barbie that really represents black women


Sent to you by moya via Google Reader:


via Feministing by Rose on 10/26/09

Now here is a Barbie that you don't see everyday. This one was done by Loanne Hizo Ostlie. She is a bad-ass artist who sells Barbies on ebay with the hair re-rooted in diverse styles that are more representative of Black women today.

I often have this image on my desktop because it's the closest image of Barbie that resembles my look and we all need a little affirmation every now and then. It's not to say that Barbie with locs is problem free. But this work is an important contribution and it should be acknowledged.

I don't know if I am on a hair kick because I am still reeling from Chris Rock's Good Hair shenanigans, but I can't help thinking about this image in the wake of the disappointment regarding these new black Barbies that were released this month.

Here are just some of the notable quotables about the hair texture of these new Barbies:

A 'So In Style' hairstyling set that allows girls to straighten their dolls' hair completely has alarmed observers, who say it will fuel the "beauty issues" that many black girls have .

"Black mothers who want their girls to love their natural hair have an uphill battle and these dolls could make it harder," said Sheri Parks, an associate professor of American Studies at the University of Maryland.

Barbie's skinny figure has long come under fire for promoting an unrealistic body image. But Kumea Shorter-Gooden, author of Shifting The Double Lives of Black Women in America, said the diminutive, primarily Caucasian frame of Barbie dolls had a more negative impact on black girls.

"They are already struggling with messages that 'black skin isn't pretty and our hair is too kinky and short'," she said.

Mattel needs to employ Loanne as a consultant if they truly want to create a doll that represents black women.


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