American Girl, keep giving us Dolls of Color for Girls of the Year.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Casual Fridays: Rahel by Hearts 4 Hearts

Rahel from Ethiopia, another in the line of Black Dolls from Africa.
I meant to have this up several Fridays ago, but I had something come up like things do. Anyways, let's bring more of that Casual Friday goodness, and cover Rahel from the Hearts 4 Hearts line by Playmates. I have her along with Nahji, Lauryce, Mosi, Shola, and Tipi.1 

A few weeks back I had a guest review of Mosi and Shola from the Hearts 4 Hearts line go up on a blog I respect and follow, The Toy Box Philosopher (linked in my sidebar, like ya do). I had a lot of issues with the cultural fuck ups that Playmates made with the two. Especially Mosi's fuck awful "paint with all the colors of the stereotypes" story. A day or so after I started typing up my review for guesting, Rahel arrived--I went ahead and ordered her and her school set off Amazon. It wasn't that I hadn't seen her in stores--I had--but it still took me a while to actually get her. See, I know that doll companies are aiming for diversity and not making black dolls have straight hair perms, but at the same time I'm a little tired of the current trend of cultural lines making their Token Black Doll always be from some part of Africa and having tamed fros that aren't too scary to white people. But I digress. A few things, though, before we jump in:

1) I'm not going to cover in super detail like I did with Mosi and Shola. No need in retreading most of what I've already done. I hate the comb, fuck the bracelet, etc.
2) There, I didn't curse because TBP doesn't curse and I play nice with other people's blogs. Here I'm more likely to spice my language like I do--AKA curse a lot. I'm also likely to add things that I chose to leave out over there out of respect.

Box box box box.
Rahel, like Mosi and Shola and all the others and practically any doll nowadays, came in a box. H4H girls come in a box with a flap that has the non-mass produced doll, so that you can open it up and prepare for dissapoint. On the cover we have Rahel looking at you with actual beaded necklaces, wide brown eyes, and some major natural curls. We do not have all of this inside.

Apparently the line got the Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold award back in 2010, which has also been gifted to AG several times. Woot, I guess? I don't really care. I buy my toys by what I like, not by awards given out.

Ethiopia. Better than "Africa."
Rahel is from Ethiopia, which is better than her being from generic "Africa" like black foreign dolls used to be. Africa is a continent, not a country, and you'd be damn good to remember that.

Oh, damn it.
The line bills itself as donating to charity, which will help children worldwide. Some people are down for donations--and I'm down for donations too. Yay charity and shit. But I like to choose where my money is going, because a lot of causes are bad for or against my beliefs, e.g. I don't donate to the Salvation Army at Giftmas because they're anti-gay. And while most of the money goes back to Playmates, the official site says that every purchase donates a dollar of the price to World Vision, and this is where I come to blows with Playmates.

World Vision is a Christian organization and has an evangelical bent. I'm pagan and have been for well over a decade. I don't donate to Christian organizations for the same reason I don't donate to organizations that are anti-gay--they not only are against my beliefs but actively fight against me. I don't want to donate to programs that don't align with my beliefs or actively try to make me feel like my faith/sexuality/self is wrong. Yes, it's only a dollar out of about $25. But it's a dollar that goes to an organization that is actively against my beliefs, and that pisses me off. Not enough to not want to buy a doll, but it's a sore spot and I'm going to bitch about it. It's my money that's going there and I don't know what they're going to do with it.

Fuckin' a. Moving on.

One side.
On one box side is the images of the other then-five girls available: Tipi from Laos, Dell from near Appalachia, Nahji from India, Consuelo from Mexico, and Lilian from Belarus. The fact Tipi isn't from the Big Three East Asias (China/Korea/Japan) is fricking awesome--not many people know of Laos outside of the Souphanousinphones.2 There's also data about the website--which I don't fuck with--and more on how buying dolls saves the world. See my complaints on the Mosi/Shola Review. Short Summary: No, buying dolls isn't saving the world, shut up Playmates.

Other side.
Rahel, like some poorly written movies, is based on a real girl. This side of the box doesn't say anything not already covered--there's a website, fucking donations to World Vision, blah blah bracelet, etc. etc. Oh, but her outfit is authentic. That's newish. No more time for this.

The whole gang is here.
On the back is the whole group at the time--it's before Mosi, Shola, Lauryce, and the Brazilian girl Zelia. Also more World Vision stuff that raises my hackles up nicely. Let's get into the box and move on.

Doll chatter.
Inside the flap is quick chatter about Rahel. Unlike Mosi and Shola, her entire story isn't on the flap. Dolls in real places, awkward. So, to the doll.

The prototype isn't the doll.
Hey, Rahel. Like the others, she comes in plastic and display. No more delays, let's get her out.

Almost out.
One more layer to get out. The upper disc is an online code, but I don't have time for it so whatever.

The MAP.
Is that Ethiopia? It's close enough for government work. Except the comma, because Eastern is a location, not a city. Stray punctuation ruins everything. And since I don't take pics of deboxing too much, let's skip ahead to...

Box free~!
Her and all her stuff. The comb--which is useless anyways--is particularly useless as trying to snatch it through her fro will fuck those curls up awful. And the bracelet is to the box of Useless Crap. She comes in a golden bodysuit, a wrap skirt, and brown sandals. Also bracelets earrings etc.

To her story. Rahel's family is doing fairly well compared to others: she has a school to go to, an a decent house that keeps the rain off. But the drought sucks, and people go hungry; and then when it rains the mosquitoes bring the malaria. A government worker came to the village and said she was training women to be community health workers; Rahel's mom was all over that. She went to the capital--Addis Ababa--for training, then came back as began to help the village. This is awesome because now people don't have to travel miles to get health care. Rahel helps by giving out paste food and nets to help keep the mosquitoes off and away. Also, when a food supply truck got stuck in the mud her brother and father went to the truck in the dark rainingness, and so did Rahel. They loaded stuff onto a cow cart, and got it home. Rahel was tired by the time they arrived in the morning, but not having food sucks more than being tired. Her parents say she has a kind heart, and Rahel wants to grow up and be a doctor to make a difference in her village. 

Her story actually doesn't suck. I wish it was longer, but it's better than Mosi's shit. Everything is better than Mosi's shit.

Staring at you~
Rahel is really kind of pretty, now that I have her. She has big brown eyes, a wide nose, and dark mauve lips. She looks open and engaged with the world around her. I'm a little tired of tamed fros in black dolls, but I'll settle for it. It's better than the super perm that the 80s/90s went with forever.

Next to Lauryce.
She and Lauryce have the same face mold. Fitting, as they're both black. (Lauryce is mixed, likely. Or high yellow.)

She has black stone earrings and gold bead danglers. I really like well done doll earrings.

Necklaces of boo.
Her necklaces suck, though--they're just each one big hunk of plastic, and out of the box the bottom three are sewn together. I will be replacing these with real beads next time I go out to Michael's or Joann's.

Bracelets of cord.
The two bracelets on her left hand are thread wrapped ponytail holders.

Bracelets of rubber.
The others are like Shola's and Lauryce: rubber stretch.

Widening profits by doing bodysuits.
Rather than give her underwear, Rahel's golden top is a full bodysuit. I'm okay with this; it'll work with other outfits, like shorts and stuff. It also doesn't have much in the way of trim, which allows multiple looks.

She also has plain brown sandals. I hate plastic shoes, I really fucking do. But until I invest in better shoes, they'll have to do.

Skirt--it's a wrap!
The skirt is a basic wrap around; the knot has velcro under it. I really love the embroidery trim and fringe edge at the bottom. One of the best skirts.

I wanted to try a few styles. She has a fro, but I know how to work with fros. So I pulled it back with one ponytail holder, and loved it.

Rocking ruff and tuff.
And in double puffs, she rocks rough and tough. [/Lady of Rage] It's likely I'm often going to do her hair this way--one or two puffs pulled up on her head. It goes back to the loose fro easy enough with a couple sprays of braid spray and finger picking. Yes, finger picking. Aphrodite's Elegant Hips, don't use a comb. You'll butcher everything and she'll never be cute again and when you feel uncomfortable, that will be me staring through the 'net at your skull.

Getting your learn on.
When I got Nahji, I later went and got her--ergh--sari set of fail3, and Tipi's PJs to put on Lauryce. So along with Rahel, I got her school set. The first six girls each got a unique outfit to themselves. Now, other than Lilian's nightgown and Tipi's PJs, everyone has to wear from a pool of more generic outfits. Boo. I may have paid a little more than I should have for it, but oh well it happens. It's got a one piece blouse and blazer, denim skirt, orange sandals, and school stuff--pencils, paper, and soccer ball because people play a lot more football around the world than they do handegg.4

Here the stuff is outside of the box. The pencils don't actually write, but the paper and composition book have actual paper. And the soccer ball is cute.

Schooling the heaux.
I love the overall look of her school set. Her sandals suck, though, and fall off her feet with the slightest movement. Better shoes, plz, Neth. The skirt will have versatility, and the jacket/blouse, while not very much to do with, is still cutely detailed. Overall, I'm glad I finally bit down and got Rahel, even if it took me getting four others first.

Six in a row, and only half a white girl!
And my whole H4H collection. Lauryce is in a tee that came with the leggings Shola has on, and shorts that came with a blue shirt and ugly sneakers. Shola has a headscarf from one of my smaller scarves, handwrapped with no velcro and a single safety pin. And Tipi is hanging out in her meet set.

The line in general is okay. While I give a solid middle finger to World Vision and a double handed fuck you to the stereotypes, I do like that there is diversity in the line very few lines are showing nowadays, especially with the spotlights into cultures that aren't often seen in playline dolls--as I said in my TBP review, Shola is the first I've ever seen of a Muslima girl in a widespread doll line. If you're looking for any of the Heart 4 Hearts girls, Target or TRU are your best bets as well as Amazon.com. Rahel should be findable for sensible prices. Some may have high costs--but then again, I found Tipi on the shelf at a Target for much cheaper than she was going for online. So it's a matter of patience to pay good prices. Compared to AG, Rahel (and the others) are 14 inches, so noticeably a little shorter. If you're looking for little sisters for an AG, these will do nicely. Rahel is 100% likely around here to show up in some Civil War/1860s wear once I make it to play the part of Addy's little sister Esther.5 I don't know if I'll get any others. I don't want the other four--Dell, Lilian, Consuela, or Zalia--much at all, but if they come out with any others I like I'll just hold my nose and donate to other better organizations to counteract the Jesus dollar. If you get any of them, try to learn things the culture they're representing, instead of assuming a toy company knows what they are talking about. You're on the internet, google and screen and self educate.

And burn Mosi's story. Burn it to ashes.


1 Tipi was found at a Target and I didn't take a ton of pics of her for review.
2 Headcanon: After years of pressure, Connie said fuck this Chang Wassonasong shit, left Texas, and married someone else. She comes to visit her parents and is still good friends with Bobby, but Chang was a bullet dodge as he peaked in high school and now is a total loser--his parents could protect him for only so long with their money.
3  Saris aren't generally worn by girls before puberty. Nahji would have been adorable in a choli lengha or a salwaar kahmeez. But by all means, just give her any old stereotyped outfit, go India.
4 The ball is shaped like an egg and carried in the hands. Google it.
5 I had an Esther before, but gave her away; she was a touch too infantile, and with my Addy being about eleven or twelve her sister needs to be taller.


  1. American football is called such because at the time of its invention, most games were played mounted on horseback (such as polo) but it was and still is played on foot. In the modern culture it seems a little odd, but deriding it for being called football when the ball is only occasionally kicked misses the point. And as for the ball, I don't see anyone complaining that rugger balls would be more accurately termed eggs, so it seems a little unfair to say that about American footballs. (Even a soccer ball is actually a truncated icosahedron rather than a true spherical ball, at least the black and white ones common here)

    1. What's that? You overanalysed a common joke? Oh, your bad. I guess I shouldn't explain that chickens also often don't cross roads and three men of varying faiths don't generally walk into bars.

    2. I just thought you or other readers might be interested or intrigued by the real origin of the term. No need to be an ass.

  2. Also I rarely see "handegg" used outside of the context of deriding the sport for being stupidly named (which it isn't, see my original comment) or its fans for being stupid people (which is some pretty heavy generalizing) so somehow I really don't think "joke" is the proper descriptor here. "Perjorative" perhaps.

    1. 1) See, if you're anonymous you wouldn't have to stroll through here two months late trying to redeem yourself.

      2) Hi, welcome to American Girl Outsider, the Head of the Blog is a snarky bitch of a woman who makes jokes, doesn't really give a fuck why it's called football because her level of fuck regarding sports is around none, and if you don't like her jokes the little X in the corner of your browser window will help you stop looking at them.

    2. I know it's difficult for some people to comprehend, but I prefer to stay anonymous when possible so that there's not a trail blazed through the Internet should some creep decide to stalk my online comings and goings. Having the NSA watching everything I do is quite enough, thank you.
      I find it interesting that you bitch and whine about how no one in the fandom likes you but then turn around and act in an extremely hostile manner to people both here and on the AG wiki for no clear reason. Not liking sports does not put you on some sort of superior moral or intellectual plane. It kind of makes me wonder if your rejection from boards, email groups, etc. was less due to your not fitting the stereotype and more to your just being rude to other members, but since I have no intention of doing the amount of research necessary to find out I'll just have to take your word for it.
      I read this blog because I think your opinion vis-a-vis the company is valid and you tend to make very good points about what they do wrong in terms of cultural sensitivity and related issues. That doesn't mean that I have to like your attitude or the way you treat a lot of your commenters.

    3. 1) You're not so importan that the NSA gives that much of a shit.
      2) If you don't like then the door's to your left.
      3) I don't like sports because they bore me. My only involvement is wearing things that remind me of my recently late father. I never said they made me superior, but you know, if you want to jump so far to conclusions you're in goddamn Europe, be my guest.

      Or you can just get the fuck out. I don't have to be friendly with everyone.

  3. Hi, Nethilia. I left this comment on the other review you did on the other blog as well. I'm curious if you ever found good shoes for the H4H dolls or made them any clothing of your own design. I know they can share clothing with several other lines of dolls--Corolle Les Cheries, Paola Reina, 14" Betsy McCall. Finding shoes has been a pain, though.


    1. I've yet to find good shoes. I'm going to try looking in the BJD community for some good doll shoes.

  4. I cannot find this doll anywhere, and I sure would love to get one!

    1. You can either look on eBay or wait to see if the company rereleases her.

  5. Well, they are all gone....retired. Guess USa couldn't handle them. I think they did a poor job of advertising, but oh well. Now sellers on ebay will have lots of fun selling them at high prices. I got it from a Playmates exec, they are not coming back.


Trolling, pointless bigotry, nonsense, and hating for the sake of hating will be removed, as will any post screaming "first" because no one cares. Cursing is fine, as I curse myself. I still expect you to act like you have home training. This is not a Free Speech Zone. I reserve the right to delete comments, kick you out of the convo, or tell you to piss off. You post, you stand by your words, and all the consequences of those words, even if that consequence is getting your ass handed back to you. Don't come in my space, spit on my floor, and expect me to call it a swimming pool. I can and will cuss your entire ass out. If I told you not to comment, and you comment, your comments will be deleted. If your comment starts with "you probably won't let me post this!" or "you'll probably delete this" or anything like that, then you're right, I won't and I will.

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