Barbie was once a tall blond girl. However, times are changing. Now, there is a company that designs multi-cultural dolls with different skin tones.
The startup, Corage Dolls, creates dolls that look like Barbie to some degree, except that their dolls have dark skin and different hair colors and textures. This focus on skin-tone variation echoes the recent development of black, or multi-cultural, skin-toned emojis as well. Probably, with these cultural changes, black Barbies and black emojis will soon become a majority.
The Blond Toddler Who Defended Her Black Doll
In 2017, there was the story of the blond toddler girl who defended her black doll to a cashier at Target. Two-year-old Sophia picked out a black doll as her reward for finishing potty training. She picked the doll that was a little black girl wearing a white lab coat and a stethoscope.
At the register, the Target cashier asked Sophia if she was sure about her choice of doll. After Sophia confirmed, the cashier pointed out that the doll did not look like Sophia, and that Sophia could pick out a doll that looked more like her. Sophia responded that the doll did look like her, because the doll was pretty and was a doctor with a stethoscope, and Sophia was a doctor.
In fact, Sophia had learned the word “stethoscope” from watching a TV cartoon, “Doc McStuffins.” This Disney cartoon stars an African-American doctor with a stethoscope. Just like the African-American cartoon doctor, Sophia wanted to be a doctor. To little Sophia, skin color did not matter.
Sophia’s mother believes that had Sophia been eight or nine years of age, she might have second-guessed herself regarding the African-American doll. However, Sophia’s mother hopes that Sophia keeps her spunk. The little girl’s thoughts echo the thoughts of many kids of the new generation. To cater to these types of clients, companies are working to represent African-Americans with their products.
New “Barbie” and Emoji to Change Black Stereotype
Corage Dolls is launching a concept, the Aaliyah doll, which will characterize an 8-year-old girl from Chicago. Aaliyah has curly black hair, suburban clothes, and in a way resembles the Corage Dolls Founder, Flora Ekpe-Idang. Flora Ekpe-Idang has an MBA from the number one school for entrepreneurship, Babson College. And Aaliyah, her doll, is an entrepreneur-in-the-making, who aims to inspire girls of color who might experience lack of representation.
Certainly, if more black dolls become popular, and black emojis become the rage, a black barbie doll could easily replace yesterday’s blond doll. Likewise, an African-American emoji can become more popular than a Caucasian emoji. After all, minority cultures might become cool to follow.