|Rahel from Ethiopia, another in the line of Black Dolls from Africa.|
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.|
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."|
|Oh, damn it.|
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.
|The whole gang is here.|
|The prototype isn't the doll.|
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~|
|Next to Lauryce.|
|Necklaces of boo.|
|Bracelets of cord.|
|Bracelets of rubber.|
|Widening profits by doing bodysuits.|
|Skirt--it's a wrap!|
|Rocking ruff and tuff.|
|Getting your learn on.|
|Schooling the heaux.|
|Six in a row, and only half a white girl!|
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.