Good news: Times are changing and there are more Multicultural dolls on the market today
Growing up I was more of a tomboy. You could find me in the dirt, climbing trees or racing the boys in the neighborhood on my bike. I was definitely not a doll kind of girl. Sure, my sister and I had them but I never though much about them. Until, the day we went to visit my Aunt Connie in St. Louis. She had the most beautiful Black doll, with milk chocolate skin, big brown eyes and long black hair made of yarn. She wore a sunshine yellow gingham dress with lace ankle socks and little mary janes. The handmade cloth doll was 14”-18” tall and had an amazing attention to detail right down to her hand-sewn knobby knees. My sister and I would play with her for hours. We talked to her, dressed her, and even brought her to the dinner table. Growing up, Black dolls were hard to find, which made this one very special. Not to mention she looked like us and she was beautiful.
Dolls are important teachers. They are great for introducing children to the names of clothing items such as pants, skirt, socks, shirt, and shoes. They help teach young girls about themselves and the world around them. They help develop cognitive, fine-motor and self-help skills. Children develop language skills through pretend play. It offers them the opportunity to practice their speech and language skills. Dolls are great for teaching various body parts, practicing nurturing and caring, and re-enacting interactions. And, most importantly, they promote socialization, self-awareness, and positive self-esteem.
Sadly, although the growth in children of color has surpassed the majority, the availability of products, specifically dolls targeting our children is extremely limited. There are few multi-cultural dolls available in the market that effectively captures the beauty of the multi-cultural girl. Most are not dolls that look like us and reflect our style.
To find dolls created in the essence of the multi-cultural girl (African-American, Hispanic, Biracial and Multiracial dolls) requires extensive searching and a variety of vendors and websites.
Though good news- times are changing. There are some great websites out there that have a growing assortment of multicultural dolls: www.4kidslikeme.com, www.pattycakedoll.com, even Walmart and ebay are great places to look for African American dolls, Hispanic dolls and Multiracial dolls. Brands targeting this market segment also continue to grow. Some great new brands are Mixis dolls, Positively Perfect, Natural Girls United, and even our very own Double Dutch Dolls. There are also old favorites with the resurgence of the famous Kenya doll.
I am encouraged for today’s young girls who will have the opportunity to see her beauty reflected in the face and eyes of a doll. Every little girl should be surrounded with all the love and support she needs to not only achieve big things but leave her personal mark on the world.