I don’t know about you, but sometimes I find change.org petitions addictive. I get a few of them a week via email and, let me tell you, they can be a bit hard to ignore. There are so many great causes and the people behind them pull you in with their passion. But I like to be genuine and committed to things I sign, so I’ve managed to resist the urge to become too sign-happy. However, when I saw this recent petition about bringing diversity to the Barbie line, my mouse finger instantly started to itch to join the others who believed in this cause.
This new petition really resonated with me because I felt like Tessa, the young woman who started it, was telling a little bit of my own childhood story. I, too, was a little brown girl who grew up searching for dolls and images that looked more like me. Not only was I a Latina growing up in a predominately white town, but I was also adopted by a white family. My mom recalls me constantly looking for dolls that looked like me — the closest matches became Snow White with her black hair, a limited edition Hawaiian Barbie, and a “My Child” doll who looked like me…save for her green eyes. Needless to say, especially in the ’80s, it wasn’t easy to find a doll that looked like Little Lizz.
So, in some ways, it shocks me that this petition brings to light that diversity is still an issue with the Barbie line. How can it be, with such a long history and large profit, that Mattel has not made their dolls more ethnically diverse? While it could make a lot of little girls very happy, and that should be the priority…wouldn’t it also make them a lot more money? Even the “American Girl” line is way ahead of them. Come on, Mattel, get with the times!
I happily signed this petition for the little girl in me, and for all of the little girls who deserve dolls that look like them so their playtime imaginations can feature women of color in successful, adventurous roles. Will you sign, too?
Did you have dolls that looked like you when you were a little girl?