12 years before Van Morrison’s song, I knew that it was blue eyes that were beautiful.
I didn’t need a commercial, TV show or anyone else to tell me that blue eyed blondes hit the genetic jackpot and I didn’t. All I had to do was look at my dolls.
I remember walking up and down the toy aisles looking for a doll that looked like me. There weren’t any. My parents were surprised when I told them I didn’t want any of them. I never told them why. They thought I had outgrown dolls at age 8
DR1939’s comment on my blog Saturday sparked this long buried memory about the effect of the lack of diversity on self image.
When she wrote about the importance of variety (all races, colors, creeds, genders) in the media, I remembered when the faces we once saw were all homogeneous. Entire groups of Americans grew up never seeing anyone on TV that looked like them. Not in commercials, or programs and definitely not at the news desk.
There’s nothing wrong with showing slender, fit or beautiful women in the media unless that’s the ONLY women we ever get to see.
There’s nothing wrong with showing women as homemakers/housewives unless that’s the ONLY image we’re ever shown
There’s nothing wrong with showing women as teachers, secretaries etc, unless you NEVER see them on any other career path.
There’s nothing wrong with blonde, blue eyed dolls either, unless that’s the ONLY option you have for your child.
In an interview actress Ernestine Wade discussed the Amos and Andy TV series and her character in particular. She played “Sapphire” the shrewish wife of George “Kingfish” Stevens. She said that she knew women like Sapphire and men like George too. The problem was that “Amos and Andy” was the ONLY image people were shown of the African American community.
Today when you see a commercial with many races included, some disparage it as “politically correct.” I prefer to call it “correct” PERIOD and an important step toward equality. Actually, it was more likely economic rather than political pressure that brought about this change. Companies finally realized that their favorite color was green. All kinds of people spend money.
I still have a few of my dolls. In addition to their physical features, their dress also describes the mindset of the day.
Yes, they were all dressed as brides.
I had baby dolls too (Tiny Tears and Betsy Wetsy), but they didn’t survive the years.
There was one other career path open to girls in Brooklyn in the 1950s
At least the Catholic ones.
I should point out that my doll experiences predated Barbie which was introduced in 1959. Although she was blonde and blue eyed too, at least I never had to deal with a doll with a physically impossible figure. None of my dolls had boobs.