Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Why I love the modern day dolls.

When I saw this photo I remembered my love for dolls as a child and the different collection we had in our house. Every year in my city we have a family fun fair called Goose Fair and each year, my mum would buy a new porcelain doll. I remember one year seeing a black doll for the first time and getting all excited when my mum brought one home for us, to add to our collection. 

I grew up in a predominately white causation neighbourhood. There were only 3 black families in the area and in my school there were only a handful of black kids. My sister and I were the only black Africans, while the rest were of West Indian / Caribbean descent. I faced a lot of racism, received snide comments and felt left out. I had no identity at all and I remember how ashamed I used to feel about being Black African because it didn’t seem as cool as being from the Caribbean. There wasn’t anything around us, outside our house, to promote our culture, help us be proud of where we came from and feel part of society.

I remember when I used to play with my dolls, I would put a pillow case or t-shirt over my head and move my head side to side, wishing that I had nice long hair like my dolls. I wanted to have fair light skin and look pretty like my dolls. I remember one day being a shamed to go to school with my natural hair when my grandma cut it. I used to hate having my natural hair out and my mum putting pig tails or those four parted twists in my hair. I wanted to wear curly extensions all the time because they were long and moved like my dolls’ hair.

It was a very painful experience, that took years to heal from, and it was only when I went to university when I started to embrace my ethnicity, my roots and feel part of society.

Times have changed and I am happy to see black dolls, Indian dolls, South East Asian dolls - dolls of different races, looks, with added features such as afro curly hair, wearing, glasses, dressing in traditional clothing and to show the realistic image of our multicultural society.

 Young girls have this opportunity to learn that you can wear glasses and still be beautiful. You can have big afro curly hair and be beautiful. You can have fair skin or dark skin and still be beautiful. No matter what you look like or where you come from, you are beautiful and you don’t need to wish to be something else because in simple things, like a doll that reflects their own image – they see how they look and where they come from as beautiful.

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