Friday, October 11, 2013

Bi-racial Baby Dolls - The Loch Ness Monster of the Doll World

The Loch Ness Monster. Big Foot. Aliens. And Bi-Racial Baby Dolls. What do these things have in common? No matter how hard you try, you can't find them. People claim they exist. Someone, somewhere has a fuzzy picture of one. But try and see one for yourself? Good luck.

My hunt for a mainstream bi-racial baby doll began when Paige was born. It was 2009... mixed race children were one of the fastest growing racial groups. There must be at least a few bi-racial baby doll options available. WRONG! No Barbies. No Cabbage Patch Dolls. No American Girl. NADA. All the available dolls were one of two extremes - blonde hair, blue eyed, pale white skin or jet black hair, black eyes and dark brown skin. And a few brunette white dolls thrown in. But nothing that even could pass as mixed-race. So what did I get Paige? A Dora the Explorer doll - because it was the closest thing I could find.

Fast forward nearly 4 years and my hunt continues for the elusive bi-racial baby doll. Even my go-to source of wisdom - Google - has trouble finding any. Here's what my Google friends came up with when I searched "bi-racial baby doll" - brace yourself for it...

 SERIOUSLY?! This is all you've got?!

A few months ago, Paige found a blonde haired Barbie doll that she started to play with. I don't mind if she plays with dolls that don't look like her, but I think every little girl wants/needs to feel like she is "normal" - and that means seeing herself reflected back to some extent in at least ONE of her dolls. So I headed to Target to find something a little bit closer to her reality. Think I could find something? NOPE! I came home with an African-American Barbie doll with a little bit lighter skin, hazel eyes and straight black hair. They didn't even have a Hispanic Barbie, my go-to baby doll race when all else fails. Mattel - I beg you - PLEASE get with the times and make a few different bi-racial Barbie dolls. Medium skin, tan skin, lighter hair, curly hair - SOMETHING. ANYTHING! I can't even imagine what Asian or Indian families go through. At least I can buy a Hispanic doll (although they are pretty elusive too). What do other races go with?!

And then there is the Fisher Price play house families. They sell a Black family (black mommy, black daddy, black baby) and a White family (white mommy, white daddy, white baby). And nothing between. The least they could do is sell each part of the "family" separately so we can mix and match as needed.

I feel like what I'm saying is common sense - cookie cutter families are a thing of the past. Paige is still too young to realize, but in the very near future, she is going to start asking questions. Maybe - just maybe - some of the major toy companies (not expensive specialty!) can offer a solution soon. Although maybe it's like the flesh colored BandAids that have been around forever - unless you are white, they aren't really "flesh" now are they? Daniel and I laugh about that all the time - yes, you can buy specialty, off-brand band-aids. But why hasn't Johnson & Johnson figured it out? Seems pretty simple to offer flesh-toned Band-Aids in multiple flesh tones.

By Christmas 2014 (a full 12+ months from now), I want to be able to buy my daughter - who will be turning 5 at that point and significantly more aware - a baby doll that looks like her. A Barbie. A Cabbage Patch. A Fisher Price Family. Heck, I'd even buy a store brand. So who's going to step up to the plate? Bueller? Bueller? I don't think it's going to happen. But I'd love someone to prove me wrong - please, prove me wrong!