In search of the right doll

This raising a girl thing is so new to me. Cadence loves her brothers’ rough and tumble play, but pass the doll section at Target and she’ll practically put you in a chokehold to get her hands on one. It could be Barbie or Bratz (shudder); anything with a smiling face sends her into a jumping-arms-and-legs tizzy. It’s actually really fascinating. I mean, who taught her that girls and dolls often end up together? And what is it about them that you HAVE to have that you’d injure your own mother/food source?

I never played with my dolls. Well no, scratch that. I chopped off my Barbie’s hair and maybe changed my cabbage patch doll’s clothes a couple times. (Poor mom, who probably spent a pretty penny on it and may have wrestled it out of a frail octogenarian’s arms.) Maybe a part of me has been a bit smug about it, too, hoping that my own daughter wouldn’t fall victim to gendered playthings. Perhaps “victim” is too strong of a word. But with the way things are marketed, and the way girls are inculturated with a socially constructed identity even in the form of “harmless” baby clothes, I wouldn’t mind if she steered clear of girly things altogether.

But clearly, she’s drawn to dolls. And after I (over)thought about it, I realized that, behind the mass marketing, there is a very sweet connection between a girl and her dolly. Role playing as a mother or sister, practicing to be a nurturer and friend, forming a sense of identity in the context of social relationships rather than independent play. I’m cool with that.

So in true helicopter mom fashion, I’ve been researching these things, on the hunt for the right one. Here are a few that I’m drawn to:

The black-haired one doesn’t have “almond” eyes. Already a winner.

Be still my retro-loving heart.

Girl power/geek chic twofer.

Babywearing FTW

This one knows just how I feel.

Then I got to thinking whether an explicitly Asian doll would be a good idea. You know, the whole a-doll-that-looks-like-me thing. So after googling “Asian doll” for a bit…






Filed under family

5 responses to “In search of the right doll

  1. jjlee1128

    hahaha those asian dolls look so funny/creepy!

    fun post.

    (this is irene’s john btw!)

  2. Hanna

    I really enjoy your blog entries, Selena! Thanks for doing the leg work for the whole doll research. My older daughter loves dolls and I really like the baby wearing doll you posted up…

  3. elisebyun

    lolol “this one just knows how i feel”

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