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 Post subject: Dolls, dolls, dolls
PostPosted: Mon Feb 18, 2013 4:35 pm 
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We were talking a little about dolls on the holiday gift thread, but gosh darn it if I don't want this ridiculously expensive boy doll that only comes in a set (unless you can go to one of their physical stores, which I can't), and is for ages 3+. It is super cute, probably not something I should get for my one year old just yet. But I have been wanting a nice doll for him for a while. It is hard to find a nice brown boy doll with hair! Do you all follow the age limit thing for dolls or what? When do they like dolls?

Image

The nice thing about this set is that it is really customizable. You can mix and match boy vs. girl, hair color, and skin color. The eye color is set though, depending on the hair and skin.

Okay, will not buy. Yet. But it is so cuuuute.


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 Post subject: Re: Dolls, dolls, dolls
PostPosted: Mon Feb 18, 2013 5:02 pm 
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Inez has a Corolle baby doll that she's really liked ever since she got it just before turning one. This one:
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She's gotten a couple other ones from people since, including a Haba one that you can dress/undress which is a big hit right now (at age 2).

My grandma gave me an American Girl doll for Christmas when I was four (almost five) and I loved that thing for years. A lot of people thought I was too young to have a doll like that (I guess because of the price?) but I didn't trash it. I mean I played with it and took it outside and stuff, but in my family that's what toys were for - playing with. I still have it (and another one I got when I was 9 or so) and I definitely plan on letting my kid(s) play with them. I think just because the plastic is pretty hard and the clothes can be tricky to get on, American Girl dolls are probably best for like 3 and up, maybe a little older.


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 Post subject: Re: Dolls, dolls, dolls
PostPosted: Mon Feb 18, 2013 5:04 pm 
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The main thing for kids under 3 is that they have sort of a weird idea of play, and if there are bits that come off, they might chew them off and swallow them or something. We got the boy a doll when he was pretty small, and he hauled her around for a long time. Let's see, that was a Corolle:

Image

That's more or less his Funny Baby, who at 3 he has only just started moving away from, in favor of, weirdly enough, a mameshiba chili bean, depicted here with a bearded man:

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Meanwhile, the baby has a different Corolle baby doll ("Pudgy Baby," 'cause she's pudgier than Funny Baby), and is pretty much indifferent to her. So I dunno.

I'd think that your 1-year-old may be pretty hard on the doll, and might thrash it good or eat it or something. I dunno, you know your baby best of all, but I think we did well by our kids with the little soft Corolle dolls... (The boy is attached enough to Funny Baby that when we left her in a hotel while going to my parents' house for Christmas, it was well worth 15 bucks to have them fedex her to us...)

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 Post subject: Re: Dolls, dolls, dolls
PostPosted: Mon Feb 18, 2013 5:05 pm 
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Pinko wrote:
Inez has a Corolle baby doll that she's really liked ever since she got it just before turning one. This one:
Image


Oh hey. Yours has a finger she can stick in her mouth? Funny Baby doesn't and we never quite figured out if there was something missing or what.

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 Post subject: Re: Dolls, dolls, dolls
PostPosted: Mon Feb 18, 2013 5:08 pm 
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Actually, E plays with Funny Baby a lot in the daytime. He just sort of goes back and forth at bedtime now.

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 Post subject: Re: Dolls, dolls, dolls
PostPosted: Mon Feb 18, 2013 5:10 pm 
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But yes, finding boy dolls at all is frustratingly difficult, and finding non-white dolls can be challenging as well. Corolle used to make a wide variety of complexions of babies (still in either all bright pink or baby blue) but it seems like they have cut their options back a lot lately.

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 Post subject: Re: Dolls, dolls, dolls
PostPosted: Mon Feb 18, 2013 5:11 pm 
Drunk Dialed Ian MacKaye
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I think that photo is staged! You can sort of forcefully jam a thumb in, but it doesn't stay for more than second.


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 Post subject: Re: Dolls, dolls, dolls
PostPosted: Mon Feb 18, 2013 5:47 pm 
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You could try to sell the girl doll on ebay?

I had a doll that looked like me when I was young and I loved that doll. I remember seeing a lot of blonde dolls and it was good to have one that had brown, wavy hair. It wasn't a customized doll though, just something my mom happened to find in the store.

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 Post subject: Re: Dolls, dolls, dolls
PostPosted: Mon Feb 18, 2013 5:52 pm 
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I am obsessed by these handmade, custom dolls ($250 YIKES!). She will make them to your specifications, including having them look like your daughter.

Image

Image

They are really in demand and so pretty. http://www.facebook.com/DolliesbyAbby There is no way I should even think of buying one. Our friend's 13 year old has had one since she was an infant and it is her forever doll - she has always adored it and it has stood up to 13 years of loving. That totally makes it a worthy investment right? Leela isn't that interested in the dolls - she'll give them a kiss and then drop them to go steal someone's food or pick up a non-mobile infant.

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 Post subject: Re: Dolls, dolls, dolls
PostPosted: Mon Feb 18, 2013 6:04 pm 
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Silas has had a cheapo ($6?) baby for years, he loves her so much. A girl with dark skin and a purple outfit. I don't think real little kids care if the baby looks like them or not, that's more about us, you know?

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 Post subject: Re: Dolls, dolls, dolls
PostPosted: Mon Feb 18, 2013 6:13 pm 
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As I'd see a doll as something a kid might grow up with and have for many years, I think for a non-white child though having the option to have a doll that isn't white can be important because there seems to be a vast amount of white dolls. I think the availability these days is a bit better than when I was growing up but it is good to see different skin tones, hair colors, hair textures and eye colors represented rather than the vast sea of blonde, blue eyed dolls I remember.

I love that purple haired doll that Tofulish posted.

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 Post subject: Re: Dolls, dolls, dolls
PostPosted: Mon Feb 18, 2013 6:19 pm 
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Kelly wrote:
Silas has had a cheapo ($6?) baby for years, he loves her so much. A girl with dark skin and a purple outfit. I don't think real little kids care if the baby looks like them or not, that's more about us, you know?


I definitely think that is true.

At the same time, I do consciously try to surround Inez with a variety of "looks" (dolls, in books, etc.) and include ones that look like her. I know for me growing up, I was so totally inundated with blond and blue-eyed images of girls that I really responded to my Samantha doll because she had brown hair and eyes like me. I just thought that was so neat. And that's just hair and eye color! Skin color is a whole other level, I imagine. I know for my siblings (who are half black and a good bit older than me), there were basically no options for toys that looked like them when they were kids.


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 Post subject: Re: Dolls, dolls, dolls
PostPosted: Mon Feb 18, 2013 6:38 pm 
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Kelly wrote:
Silas has had a cheapo ($6?) baby for years, he loves her so much. A girl with dark skin and a purple outfit. I don't think real little kids care if the baby looks like them or not, that's more about us, you know?


Yeah, it is totally about me. Hahaha. We were at a playroom and there was a beat up ugly looking girl doll and he seemed drawn to it. I think when he is older he would care more what a doll might look like, but certainly not now.

Is it weird that I want my boy to have a boy doll and not a girl doll? I'm not sure why that matters. Maybe again that would matter when he is older, and who knows then if he would even want to play with dolls.


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 Post subject: Re: Dolls, dolls, dolls
PostPosted: Tue Feb 19, 2013 12:17 am 
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This is an honest question -- what exactly makes a doll a boy doll instead of a girl doll? I swear I'm not trying to be a pain in the asparagus, I'm genuinely curious about this.

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 Post subject: Re: Dolls, dolls, dolls
PostPosted: Tue Feb 19, 2013 12:42 am 
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Malka has a "boy" corolle doll (according to the advertising and his blue clothes) that we call "Booba" (a feminine name) at home and my MIL calls a masculine name (Jamal, which she says is a combination of our names) when Malka visits. Gender fluidity flicks the weasel.

I had a doll growing up that looked like my mother, but not like me, handmade by a friend (is that weird or what?). I did not play with that doll. I played with some cheapo doll whose hair I regularly washed in the toilet for like 3 years.


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 Post subject: Re: Dolls, dolls, dolls
PostPosted: Tue Feb 19, 2013 1:24 am 
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choirqueer wrote:
This is an honest question -- what exactly makes a doll a boy doll instead of a girl doll? I swear I'm not trying to be a pain in the asparagus, I'm genuinely curious about this.


Having blue clothing, I guess? Or you can get dolls with little tiny wangs or labia, which I guess would remove much (if not all) of the mystery. (Although I can guarantee that there will be some number of kids who would insist that genitals don't imply gender, so there you go.)

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 Post subject: Re: Dolls, dolls, dolls
PostPosted: Tue Feb 19, 2013 3:16 am 
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Kelly wrote:
Silas has had a cheapo ($6?) baby for years, he loves her so much. A girl with dark skin and a purple outfit. I don't think real little kids care if the baby looks like them or not, that's more about us, you know?

Totally. My favourite doll when I was really little was Rub-a-dub Dolly. She was black and it didn't occur to me whether we looked alike or not. I LOVED her!

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 Post subject: Re: Dolls, dolls, dolls
PostPosted: Tue Feb 19, 2013 7:26 am 
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I got kiddo some Karito Kids dolls. I'm not linking the website because it's annoying and loud, but they are really pretty and well made dolls. I should point out that I only got them because I found them at Tuesday Morning for $30. However, if you're looking to spend American Girl money, they're worth a look. I don't really know of any good boy dolls.

I can't really answer CQ's question beyond the very unsatisfying answer of "societal norms."


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 Post subject: Re: Dolls, dolls, dolls
PostPosted: Tue Feb 19, 2013 7:51 am 
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I had a "boy" cabbage patch doll (he had short hair, the box said he was a boy) and I turned him into a girl with a short haircut by drawing on earrings and long eyelashes with a sharpie. Her name was Bert, though, so that's kind of ambiguous...

Walter has a Melissa and Doug baby with pink pajamas and a pink stroller. He was really into dolls from about 15-21 months, now not as much. He used to walk her around the block and the neighbors loved it.


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 Post subject: Re: Dolls, dolls, dolls
PostPosted: Tue Feb 19, 2013 8:42 am 
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choirqueer wrote:
This is an honest question -- what exactly makes a doll a boy doll instead of a girl doll? I swear I'm not trying to be a pain in the asparagus, I'm genuinely curious about this.


There are dolls labeled as gender neutral, they are pretty much all bald and maybe wearing green or yellow or just naked. There are boy dolls and girl dolls where boys either are bald with short hair and wearing blue, red, green or yellow. The girl versions might be bald or have long hair, and might have pinker lips and more pronounced eyelashes and more rosy cheeks (like baby makeup!) and they wear pink or red or yellow or green, but not blue. There are anatomically correct dolls, which either are otherwise gender neutral with genitals in place, or follow the boy/girl doll differences and have genitals.


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 Post subject: Re: Dolls, dolls, dolls
PostPosted: Tue Feb 19, 2013 9:29 am 
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This may be beyond the scope of the original thread, but to elaborate on a theme I'm seeing I want to add that as the parent of a mixed race child, I am really interested in how it affects children to see dolls and characters in books who are "like them." For a white child, having dolls of color is amazing, because it teaches a lot about tolerance and diversity, and there are enough other sources for images that the child can relate their own experiences to.

I thought this article from the NYT was interesting about the impact of seeing non-white Latino characters on Latino students:

Quote:
Education experts and teachers who work with large Latino populations say that the lack of familiar images could be an obstacle as young readers work to build stamina and deepen their understanding of story elements like character motivation.

While there are exceptions, including books by Julia Alvarez, Pam Muñoz Ryan, Alma Flor Ada and Gary Soto, what is available is “not finding its way into classrooms,” said Patricia Enciso, an associate professor at Ohio State University. Books commonly read by elementary school children — those with human characters rather than talking animals or wizards — include the Junie B. Jones, Cam Jansen, Judy Moody, Stink and Big Nate series, all of which feature a white protagonist. An occasional African-American, Asian or Hispanic character may pop up in a supporting role, but these books depict a predominantly white, suburban milieu.

“Kids do have a different kind of connection when they see a character that looks like them or they experience a plot or a theme that relates to something they’ve experienced in their lives,” said Jane Fleming, an assistant professor at the Erikson Institute, a graduate school in early childhood development in Chicago.


I thought this was an interesting article on how children develop racial biases

Quote:
In our new book, NurtureShock, we argue that many modern strategies for nurturing children are backfiring—because key twists in the science have been overlooked. Small corrections in our thinking today could alter the character of society long term, one future citizen at a time. The way white families introduce the concept of race to their children is a prime example.

For decades, it was assumed that children see race only when society points it out to them. However, child-development researchers have increasingly begun to question that presumption. They argue that children see racial differences as much as they see the difference between pink and blue—but we tell kids that "pink" means for girls and "blue" is for boys. "White" and "black" are mysteries we leave them to figure out on their own.

It takes remarkably little for children to develop in-group preferences. Vittrup's mentor at the University of Texas, Rebecca Bigler, ran an experiment in three preschool classrooms, where 4- and 5-year-olds were lined up and given T shirts. Half the kids were randomly given blue T shirts, half red. The children wore the shirts for three weeks. During that time, the teachers never mentioned their colors and never grouped the kids by shirt color.

The kids didn't segregate in their behavior. They played with each other freely at recess. But when asked which color team was better to belong to, or which team might win a race, they chose their own color. They believed they were smarter than the other color. "The Reds never showed hatred for Blues," Bigler observed. "It was more like, 'Blues are fine, but not as good as us.' " When Reds were asked how many Reds were nice, they'd answer, "All of us." Asked how many Blues were nice, they'd answer, "Some." Some of the Blues were mean, and some were dumb—but not the Reds.

Bigler's experiment seems to show how children will use whatever you give them to create divisions—seeming to confirm that race becomes an issue only if we make it an issue. So why does Bigler think it's important to talk to children about race as early as the age of 3?

Her reasoning is that kids are developmentally prone to in-group favoritism; they're going to form these preferences on their own. Children naturally try to categorize everything, and the attribute they rely on is that which is the most clearly visible.

We might imagine we're creating color-blind environments for children, but differences in skin color or hair or weight are like differences in gender—they're plainly visible. Even if no teacher or parent mentions race, kids will use skin color on their own, the same way they use T-shirt colors. Bigler contends that children extend their shared appearances much further—believing that those who look similar to them enjoy the same things they do. Anything a child doesn't like thus belongs to those who look the least similar to him. The spontaneous tendency to assume your group shares characteristics—such as niceness, or smarts—is called essentialism.


Its hard to figure out how to have the conversations about race with children (and the article linked above does a good job on showing the pitfalls), but we can't just let them figure it out themselves, because they do live in a world where race matters.

I read a really good article by an Asian American who talked about how all along his education, choices were made for him and his talents were nurtured in different ways based on what his teachers and coaches thought was "right" for Asians. He also talks about feeling the other "cool kids" move away from him as he got older and shut him out.
http://therumpus.net/2012/09/different- ... ar-models/

I am still in the inquiry, and hope this doesn't offend anyone, but I can definitely see wanting to use ethnically diverse dolls and toys and having conversations to help create a sense of what race is and what it isn't. I just don't know how yet.

ETA: I also don't want to step over the fact that the second quote says that gender is plainly visible, which clearly it is not in all situations. But there are lots of gender cues that we teach kids - pink, long hair versus blue and short hair to name a few, and so there is a conversation happening about gender, but it may well benefit from tweaking to move away from a cis- identified binary and towards more tolerance.

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Last edited by Tofulish on Tue Feb 19, 2013 9:39 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Dolls, dolls, dolls
PostPosted: Tue Feb 19, 2013 9:34 am 
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My dad bought both my girls American Girl dolls this past Christmas. GooGoo carries hers around and seems to like it. Not something I would have gotten her at 3, but she does really like dolls.

Lou Who is still way too little for hers. My mom has bought both girls small cloth dolls as well and so those are better for her.

Back in the day... I think I was 16... I made myself a non-ethical wool-stuffed, mohair-haired Waldorf doll and it was a boy. I still have it. I'm sure it'd be possible to use other kinds of materials and make the same type of doll.

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 Post subject: Re: Dolls, dolls, dolls
PostPosted: Wed Feb 20, 2013 3:50 am 
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My kid is 22 months, and he plays with his doll a bit. At first, when he was maybe 16 months, he was mostly interested in the doll pram, but now he likes to feed the doll, comfort it when it falls, and try to change diapers (tricky, especially since his diapers are much too big for the doll).

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 Post subject: Re: Dolls, dolls, dolls
PostPosted: Thu Feb 21, 2013 5:01 pm 
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Yeah, I think the "looks like me" issue is probably a bigger deal for nonwhite children than for white kids because of the reasons Tlish mentions. I have a friend with a mixed-race little girl whose daughter recently said that she couldn't be a princess, only people with her mom's (white) skin. As the friend pointed out, they're taking it all in.

We have one of the Corolle dolls - at the store they had one very pink outfit and one very blue outfit,
and we picked the pink, but I can't tell if in the link they have more skin color options or if it's the lighting. The doll definitely is darker-skinned than anyone in our family, but I am, very literally, one of the whitest people I know.

Image

Corolle doll (doesn't really have a name) has already gotten a healthy dose of squeeze fruit on it, and just this morning was being fed a smoothie, so I think V is still a bit young at 18 months for fancy dolls. But my MIL is already threatening to take her to the American Girl store, so we'll see how long that lasts. Fortunately MIL is definitely not one who expects kids to keep their toys pristine.


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 Post subject: Re: Dolls, dolls, dolls
PostPosted: Thu Feb 21, 2013 7:50 pm 
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We have found that the Corolle doll is very easily washable. We just throw her in the laundry and hope the boy doesn't notice she's going for a ride. We've been air-drying in the sun, though, since I think a dryer wouldn't be very good for her...

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