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

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Clothes and Accessories Reviews: Kwanzaa Outfit and Kwanzaa Decorations (1996)

Joyous First Day of Kwanzaa from Shanna!
First of all, yes, I know you haven't seen Felicity, Naomi, Otters, or Abbi in their holiday finery--or any of the sets I've crafted, such as for Elizabeth and Charlotte. And you've already seen Shanna. But it hit me, as I was snapping pictures for the next reviews, that December 26th was the first day of Kwanzaa. And that I had the perfect outfit and accessory set to review that day. So I dug it out and the others are willing to wait some on their reviews to give this festival some focus. Because my gang is generous like that.

There's always the running theme that no one knows what the hell Kwanzaa is, or that it's not a "real" holiday because it came into fruition in recent history. Bull to the shit. We live in a world where you can Google who that actress who died after voicing that animated movie back in 1988and people are celebrating Patriot Day on September 11th which hasn't been around long enough to drink. So no. Stop being a brat and learn you a thing.

Kwanzaa is a week-long celebration from December 26th to January 1st among the African diaspora, in particular among African-Americans in the US. It celebrates family, culture, community, and ties back to African culture and its continued influence on black people in a world that tried to stamp the culture out of us with every method possible. The name Kwanzaa derives from the Swahili phrase matunda ya kwanza, meaning "first fruits of the harvest;" Swahili was one of the major African Languages that got latched on in the 60s for black people since it is very African in a way many languages aren't. I tend to do my first fruits celebration on Lammas, but it made for a nice name for the festival. The holiday was developed by Maulana Karenga as an alternative holiday to Christmas, and first celebrated in 1966-1967 in the rising wake of Black consciousness, the rejection of whiteness and European supremacy, and part of the reaffirmation of blackness as beautiful and worthy of celebration. Many black people, rather than having the festival as a total Giftmas replacement, append it onto the holiday. Part of the purpose of and drive behind this festival is because most of the African diaspora cannot trace their heritage before slavery or the Slave Trade--a nice way to say "that part of history where Europe was full of a bunch of lazy motherfuckers who barged into North America, decided that since it was too hard to enslave the Native Americans to work like fucking animals because they either kept dying or running off and hiding, and thus decided they would just import Africans for the job and keep them enslaved for hundreds of years." Ahem. That's the femmenoir enrageous I have.

I have never really actively celebrated Kwanzaa. My mother would give us small gifts every day of Kwanzaa--things like earrings, nail polish, black heritage books, or my first wine cooler when I was fifteen--and we'd discuss the Nguzu Saba or the seven principles of African Heritage. But we were pretty private about it. (When I was younger, my family and I went to a First Day of Kwanzaa festival, but it was a poorly planned hot mess with no actual community so much as it was "watch the people of our organization talk and do things without integrating anyone else," and my mother doesn't like that, and so we never went back to another one.) We never owned a kinara and I still don't own a functional one, though that will change soon. As I said yesterday, several aspects of pan-Africanism--especially as misinterpreted to result in misogynoir and stereotypes--rubbed me the wrong way for years. I'm a little ashamed to say that several years ago, I was actively against Kwanzaa celebration. Partially due to this being pushed on me as the "Black Hanukkah" or the Black substitute to Christmas or people making fun of me for wanting to do so. And I was told that either I wasn't really black for not giving my all to every aspect of Kwanzaa, including the sexist, abusive, and homophobic aspects--and at the same time I was being "too" black by wanting to do any aspects of it.2 But I want to change that and start to celebrate Kwanzaa--I will probably be adding pagan aspects to the celebration--and so I'm starting that this year. Today's principle is Umoja, or Unity: wanting to do one's best to maintain and hold on to unity and connections among family, communities, and the diaspora. So I'm starting that unity with my AG Kwanzaa set. We all gotta pick it back up somewhere.

In 1996 AG, realizing that maybe a ballet outfit was not an exemplary holiday outfit for a modern historical unless we were all going to be writing stories about ten-year-olds dancing in the school performance of the Sugar Plum Fairy, released three outfits that actually were more holiday focused:  the Hanukkah Outfit (also called the Winter Festival Outfit and thus maintaining some neutrality for non-Jewish people), the Chinese New Year Outfit, and the Kwanzaa Outfit. Each had its own set of accessories and thus the Kwanzaa Outfit had the Kwanzaa Decorations. The Kwanzaa Outfit consisted of a headwrap, West African kaftan dress, beaded necklace, and leather thong sandals for a cost of $22; the accessories consisted of  the kinara (candle holder), seven candles, two ears of corn, a mat, the unity cup, three pieces of fruit, a woven basket, and a doll sized book for $20. Both were retired in 1999 and since then AG has not done anything cultural for Kwanzaa since. (As for Chinese New Year, there's Ivy's set and...that's it. [sarcasm]Wow.[/sarcasm])

My set was gifted to me by a buddy in 2007 with both the outfit and all the items except the kinara and candles at a good time as I was seriously trying to reconnect to the celebration even though I wasn't quite there yet; she found it on eBay and asked if I was okay not having a kinara and I told her I'd make one--which I did out of Sculpy and wire. At the time my nine girl gang only had Addy and Otters as my black girls--Otters having a white grandmother. So Addy chose to wear the set the first time as she agreed that it looks like what her great-grandmother from Nigeria would wear and here she is into pan-Africanism and the celebration of black culture. Edith joined Addy in 2008 but her historical period is literally just shy of the first Kwanzaa--her first book is set late summer 19643 --and so she didn't quite work to wear it, and by the time Mellie came along I was still in that wobbly period of not sure about celebrating Kwanzaa. But this year, Shanna and I decided to celebrate our heritage and I think this will be her set from now on.

Because people who list things on eBay can often be morons or don't research what they list--a good thing and a bad thing--this often gets labeled as "Addy's Kwanzaa Set" because Addy is the most recognized Black AG.The outfit generally shows up on eBay near retail with just the kaftan and headwrap, pretty frequently with the shoes and necklace, and often several of the accessories have been stuffed in as well with nearly no change in price or less than the original $42 a full set would have been--but almost never the kinara and candles, and if I didn't have images of it I'd swear it was a fantasy that they ever existed. It doesn't show up a lot because most of the AG collecting community is white or really bad about black things, and I'm actually not too irritated about it. I really hackles up about white people fucking up or messing around in Kwanzaa and being appropriative. It's our celebration. Not everything is for y'all. Some things white people need to just let us have, gods damn it. If we're willing to share with you, that's one thing, but stop looking in our bowl, you already have all the other jellybeans.

You can see white goop around the base of my kinara candles, which will be discussed and add a Crafting Creatively aspect to this post. This is because the kinara was made with non removable candles, I broke three, reglued them and reinforced the base with Tacky Glue, and at the time of my pictures the setting hadn't dried clear.

Wrapping the hair up.
Headscarf: The headscarf is a long semi-rectangular scarf that wraps around the head to cover the hair. There are millions of ways to fold cloth and wrap hair in African style headscarves, and I do various interpretations with my sarongs or spans of cloth, mostly into buns or knots at the base of my neck. I could wrap hijab style, but I'm not Muslim and that would be appropriative.

Laying mostly flat.
The scarf has a clear wide end, a back seam, and then a narrow end that is made so with tucks and seams. The fabric appears to be a subdued African cloth pattern--not exactly kente cloth, mind, just striped. I kind of like kente cloth, but it can be utterly frustrating when every pan-African thing in the Dragged Nightmare is done up in that orange-black-green-gold rectangular pattern, everywhere you look. It's why, among many other reasons, I can't stand Addy's African Dance Outfit. There's two sets of snaps on the headscarf in order to keep it in place where pins would go, one set black and one set silver. This will be useful for the instructions I'm about to give to you. (For dolls. The way I wear my headscarves involves ponytail holders.)

And now, how to put on the headscarf--with photographs!

Topknot, no glasses.
Make sure everything else about the outfit is on already. Get out your braid spray and a brush or, if her hair is curly, just use your fingers. Pull your black doll's5 hair up into a high ponytail. If her hair is long, twist the remaining length into a tight, secure bun. If it's short like Shanna's a double tuck into a topknot should be enough. If she's wearing glasses take them off. Earrings and hearing aids should be fine to stay in place.

One handed job.
With the doll facing you, set the headwrap up and behind her head so that the seamed side faces inward against the back of her head. The narrow end should be on your right and the doll's left, and one half of the silver snap should be at the back of the head against the hair. I'm doing this one handed for the purposes of photography; when you do it feel free to hold both ends out to the side.

Cross over.
Cross the left side over the front of her head, and center the black snap over the center front of her hair. If you don't see the black snap, then you are draping it wrong, take it off and try it again.

Snap 1.
Cross the right side with the short end over the other side. Find the other black snap. Click them together. Recenter the wrap if you need to so that the now-closed snap is at the center again.

Tucking the narrow end.
Wrap the narrow end of the hairwrap over the hair. You should see a silver snap when you do. The other side of the snap is at the back of the head, facing inward.

Snap 2.
Snap the silver snaps together, and then smooth out the fabric so that the snap is hidden.

Fully tucked.
Smooth and tuck the wide end under or against the hair so that her hair is fully covered.

Successful headwrap is successful.
Restore glasses and proclaim your black doll adorable.

Side shot.
And, just because I got a good shot of it, a side shot. The headwrap should cover the back of the neck, the bun, and the ears fully--you can't even see Shanna's bionics--but not bangs or front curls. B+ for the headwrap. It's a little difficult to put on--I had to struggle til I found the right data, but my pictures should help you immensely.

Kaftan of drape.
Kaftan: The kaftan is a rectangular robe dress that comes down to the ankles and fully covers the body. The babble text back then called it a "bubu". Not only is this an odd misspelling of "boubou," but that term is almost always used for men's kaftans. Girls and women often just call them kaftans.

It does have a shape. Rectangle is a shape.
With your doll's arms out the kaftan shows its full shape as a rectangle--there's no shaping or curve, just straight lines. It looks shapeless this way, but looks fine with arms down or in other positions. There's really no need for a belt, as it would pull the cloth and make for uncomfortable wear without allowing for that gentle drape you see above. There is a style of belted kaftan that I'll probably make for one of the other black girls when I order a lot of African fabric and all the black girls of my gang along with Addy get their own Kwanzaa sets. This is not it.

Wrist hole.
At the ends are two openings to put the arms through; these two openings and the neck opening are the only major openings. (Hems don't count.)

Look close, there's velcro.
The neck opening is small and circular, and for ease of pulling over her head there's velcro closure and an opening in the back. It's almost unable to be seen.

Fabric image.
The fabric--which is the same as the headwrap--is a mix of vertical lines of a varying width that create a pattern of diamonds. Colors include metallic gold, white, orange, and green. Some African fabric tends to looks woven or striped in repeating patterns. I generally don't like orange things--orange has always been a garish, harsh color for me--but this is more green and gold than orange.

Hem.
The hem is straight and comes down to the ankles. B+ for the kaftan. The pattern is beautiful and, while it appears a little shapeless, it's easily corrected in look by how it's draped.

These sandals, man.
Sandals: Brown "thong" slip on sandals come included with the outfit. I think these are real leather, suede, or something close to it. They certainly have the rough leather texture.

Beads on the toes.
The top of the sandal is cut so that it appears to be a thong sandal that goes between the toes; this illusion is completed with a beaded string of red, a gold flat disc, and a green bead. I really don't like thong style sandals--I hated them as a kid, and only really wear them here and there in Texas when I have to.

Backless. Unnnngh.
The sandals are wholly backless. AG really had no idea how to sandals for years; it wasn't until about Jess that sandals and any backless shoe stopped sucking.These stay on fairly tight when I move Shanna around, but could probably get lost being carried around if not strapped down.

Off the foot.
The shoe off shows the bead work that carries the thong between the toes illusion. The back of the top is lined with pleather and the soles are black smooth leather. C-. They don't have backs and the texture is off; the shoes look like they were last minute so as not to be barefoot. I like the beads, but not that they're supposed to look like thongs.

Shiny beading.
Necklace: The necklace is an elaborately beaded necklace on black necklace thread that closes in the back with a gold hook and eye set up. (I didn't snap pictures of the closure.) The main curve of the necklace is done with long and short gold beads; and then three points are formed with gold beads with other accents--red, green and clear amber--before coming to a point; at the middle point is a oblong bone-looking bead with stripes painted on it and the two side points are highlighted with red, white, and black striped beads.

Beady shine~
I do love beaded necklaces and charms. These have a pattern that can be seen; on each point we have the pattern of short gold, green, short gold, long gold, short gold, red, short gold, clear amber, short gold, long gold, decorative bead. The center, to drape a little lower, has a long gold at the top. The top drape alternates short and long gold beads.

Center bead. 

I decided to do a close up of the longer bead; it has a gold background with painted unique lines of muted reds and greens. I kind of want to make a necklace like this for myself. A. The necklace, while it tends to fade a little against the dress, is wonderfully done.

Kwanzaa decorations. Like an altar, there's meaning in everything.
Before we go into the bits, lets look at the whole thing together. A Kwanzaa set up, like an altar, can be as elaborate or as simple as you like it. The many things have symbolism and so I'll discuss them as I go along. I'll do the kinara last, as it's self made.

The Unity Cup.
Unity Cup: The Kikombe cha Umoja, or Unity Cup, is symbolic of the foundational principle and practice of unity. As a group, all involved in the ceremony are to take a drink from the cup thus reinforcing their unity as a family and to the diaspora.. This one has been molded like an African style head and face, with a nose, eyes, and lips. The bottom edge is decorated with carved lines and white highlights.

Ears.
 At the side are molded ears.

Top decor.
The top has a diamond and line carved pattern with white highlights to bring out the lines.

Handle. And now I say why I don't like it.

And at the back is a handle, along with a line to resemble a hairline.

You have likely noticed that I didn't say anything about the features each line. That is because the cup is, frankly, not very pretty. Okay, I'll say it. It's ugly. It's ass out ugly. And not because they were attempting to reinterpret pan African decorative masks and design. I like those, they're beautiful. When done right. I don't like it because they attempted this and they wholly fucked it up. The features are off balance and offends my Libra sense of aesthetics, the features are in that uncanny valley between right and wrong that makes if unpleasant, and the whole thing feels like a quarter assed job. AG should have just done a standard decorative goblet, as they didn't do the features evenly and respectfully. D. 

The Crops.
Fruit Basket: The Mazao, or crops, are symbolic of African harvest celebrations and the rewards of productive and collective labor--basically, the good shit you get from when you do good work. Most of the time this is symbolized with fruits. The name, after all is based on the first fruits of harvest. Back in the day when AG wasn't fusing fruit, they made each one separate, so we've got a pear, a peach, and an apple. They're sharing a spot in the review along with the basket.

A Pear. Well, just one. Hah! I'm punny.
The pear is yellow green and speckled, with a dented bottom and a little stem on top. I like it best out of all three fruits.

Apple.
 The red apple also has some speckles, a brown stem and a nice, rich color. However, the bottom is super smooth and so it really can't sit upright. Boo.

This peach is a bum. And the butt of my jokes.6
The peach is the Pettigrew7 of this set. It's clearly hanging on with the others to get some glory. The issue is that huge line for the curved dent of the peach. It's way too wide. Time to make a better one.

All the fruits have a little weight to them and feel nice to hold.

Woven basket.
The basket that holds the fruits is a reed woven basket. I tried to weave baskets once and anyone who says that its a coasting skill is full of shit. Basket weaving is hard as fuck. I may try again but seriously, that shit is hard to do nicely.

Look at that weaving. LOOK.
The weaving is done tightly and smoothly and evenly, and the basket holds its shape very well.

Bottoms on the baskets.
Even the bottom is smoothly done. That spiraling is super choice. (Obligatory "Sticker on the butt" note goes here.) Collectively, the fruit basket set gets a A-, with individual scores of A for the basket, A for the pear, A- for the apple and B- for the peach.

The Mat.
Mat: The Mkeka, or Mat, is symbolic of the foundation of traditions and history that supports the rest of the the things we build. Everything else goes on the mat, so there you go, direct symbolism. The mat, by tradition, is supposed to be woven. This one is.

Weave.
The colors are of the pan African flag colors again--black, green, and red--with plain reed color of tan as well, and the edge simple black. There's a lot of black and very little green--I think it could have benefited from more evenness of the colors. The back is unlined--hence no picture--and with the sticker. B-.

Corn.
Corn: Muhindi, or corn, is symbolic of children and the future. Why we're using corn for children I don't know. Corn is pretty American, seeing as it's Native cultivated. Symbolism, eh, whatchu gonna do. The set comes with two ears of corn, open but not separated from the husk.


Colorful corn.
This corn is a lot more colorful looking--not the boring yellow corn. Very maroon with dark yellow and black bits. I love colorful corn. We don't get much of it nowadays. Damn you Monsanto and other homogenization of food stuffs! B.

Book! Get your read on.
Book: Zawadi, or gifts, represent parental labor and love and commitments made and kept by their children in togetherness. Gifts aren't supposed to just be things that you would get anyways for the holiday season, though. They're supposed to be symbolic of the culture and the holiday itself--so black positive and uplifting. If we're celebrating right after Giftmas, the least we can do is make the presents separate. Hence, the book. AG likely wasn't aiming for this with the book, but it counts as zawadi and I'm counting it. This is a minature, abridged copy of the book Kwanzaa!: A Celebration of African-American Heritage by Jill Wolf, Kate Anderson, and Margaret Schryver. The book was published in 1995, which would have been fitting for a 1996 release. I think I may have found a low-cost copy on Amazon and am ordering it today; I'll probably buy some children's books as well next I'm at the bookstore. The front cover is red with black geometric patterns on the spine, a graphic of a kinara above the title, and a black silhouette of Africa on a green background below the title. 

Faithful book.
 The book has the title again on the side in red text against a black spine.


Back cover.
The back cover has the same geometric image, a green background and lists the seven principals (The Nguzo Saba) in traditional order. Let's take a moment out of our busy review to talk about each one and how I interpret them. There's aspects of the given that don't work for me, so I tweak them.
  • Umoja, or Unity: We did this one earlier. Try to keep up. It's wanting to do one's best to maintain and hold on to unity and connections among family, communities, and the diaspora.
  • Kujichagulia, or Self-Determination:Defining ourselves, naming ourselves, creating things for ourselves and speaking up for ourselves. Basically, being our own people, and not letting the definitions the overarching dominant culture wants to put on us define us.
  • Ujima or Collective Work and Responsibility: Knitting and holding the community together, and realizing that the issues our our brothers and sisters face are as much ours as theirs so that we can come together and solve them.
  • Ujamaa, or Cooperative Economics:  Getting our own shit together. Running our own shops, our own businesses, and profiting together instead of apart. For Us, From Us, By Us, To Us.
  • Nia, or Purpose: To move into the future together, to make something to light that little flame that makes us get up and go forward and move upward and onward and pull those up behind us into the light.
  • Kuumba, or Creativity: to design and decorate and explore and leave a space more beautiful and shining than when we stepped inside.
  • Imani, or Faith: To believe in the people, family, and community we've built and continue to build. To know that the struggle is not only real, but worth every time we fight.
Each principle gets its own day.

Inner page and contents.
Inside is actual pages reproduced from the book. I love that AG books aren't just blank papers but are realistic reproductions of books. None of this fake books shit. It's possible to read the book. Well, if your vision is better than mine.

Umoja, man.
Since I'm doing this on the first day, I took a picture of the first principle. The book is full of quotes, images, colorful text, and data. The back pages even have recipes.

Nia.
And Nia, one of the ones that really speaks to me. Purpose isn't just productivity. It's feeling like you're here for someone, anyone's betterment. That the world is good because you're part of it. And when I hit the really depressive periods, I need to remember Nia. A+.

*~*~*

Kinara and candles.
Kinara and Candles: And now we skim over the part I crafted, the Kinara or candleholder--symbolic of our roots as African-descended people--and the Mishumaa Saba, or the seven candles that symbolize the
Nguzo Saba. Most people do one black candle, three red candles, and three green ones. You light a candle each day--starting with the center black, and alternating sides--and discuss that principle with family and among your community. Since my set didn't come with, I made a set out of Sculpy. I am thinking that it's going to get touched up with paint. The candles don't come out of my set.

The lines and dots.
I put a pattern of diagonal lines and dots with my sculpting tools. When I make my full sized one, I'm going to paint something like this on it.

Wicky Wicky.
I wanted my candles to have wicks, in case I ever figured out a way to simulate flames, so I wrapped each candle in thin wire. I have an idea, now, and will implement it later. No rating, cause I made it.

*~*~*

Overall Feel: Yes. Yes please. This set is so, so needed for black children, and this kind of representation really matters. The headscarf--once you figure out how easy they made it--looks wonderful when put on, the kaftan drapes nicely, and the print on both is wonderful. The necklace is so, so detailed. The shoes are kind of suck, but that's about the worst because AG was failing at sandals for about a decade. Wait, no the worst is that lopsided unity cup. I am displeased. A better cup is needed, and I'm going to try to sculpt up one. I'll also probably add a Bendera, or pan-African flag, and a poster of the Nguzo Saba to my set--but the rest of the set is great. The book could not be more perfect. And thinking about it and how irritated I am about another white GotY,  I'm kind of pissed now that AG hasn't done anything like this since. They were doing it right, even if some parts were fucked up, and they should do it again. Get on this shit, AG.

Cost Value: Original costs were great. eBay Costs are still really great--likely because it's not something that's really popular in collections because it's unambiguously black culture. I didn't pay for mine, but given the time I got it, it means the world to me. I really wanted the set when I was a teen, to be honest--I would have probably put it on Addy or a #1 or 18 since I wanted them too. At the time I got the set I was really going through that rough period so many PoC and enlightened people do when their eyes have just started opening to the oppression of the world and how much it sucks for those who aren't on the easiest game setting in life, and they start questioning all the shit they used to say and absorb and now have the aching task of needing to unlearn that toxicity. So it means a lot to me.

Timeliness/Datedness: None. The outfit is based on traditional West African styles of outfits that have been around for decades, if not centuries. Kwanzaa has been around since 1966 so it doesn't work before then, and the book is 1995 published, but the rest of the is contemporary to the holidays and will carry forward.

Mix and Match Levels: Nope.While the accessories can be used with any Kwanzaa celebration and items replaced--I'm replacing the cup--this isn't a set to just slap up with anything. Same with the outfit.

Final Grade: A. It's beautiful, and meaningful, and rich with symbolism. It's for my people and for me.

And to bare my anger fangs again: Don't do stupid shit. I've yet to see it, thank the gods, but this outfit is for black dolls. If you ever put this outfit on a non-black doll, I sincerely wish to Sweet Goddess Yemaya, the Caretaker of the African Diaspora and one of my personal goddesses, that you utterly pay for it. I wish that your dreams forever go unfulfilled, your hopes find themselves speared mid-flight and impaled on jagged rocks, that every single one of your nightmares haunt you endlessly, and that all the bad things happen to you and only you. I openly and unashamedly wish the worst on you if you cross that line.

*beam* Joyous Kwanzaa to my People. 

--Neth

Judith Barsi. Google it and be sad.  
2 That and, sad to say, nearly every black person in this racist world goes through a stage or two where they don't want to be "black", they just want to be an individual and actively fight back against blackness to try to be one of the good ones or special black people. I did it through a majority of college and the first years out. Some never get out of it, either.
I'm writing her books myself. 
This also happens with any of the dolls that have Addy's look. You wouldn't believe how many #1 and #18s I see labeled as "Addy."
This had better be on a black doll.
AG has been fucking up terms since day one *coughEdwardiancough*
Harry Potter Jokes.
8 Okay, okay, I'll stop being an ass. >.>
I love this one so much that it's a character in a book I wrote. Along with Nia, Umoja, and Kuumba.

7 comments:

  1. I love all your posts, but this one was particularly informative - thank you! (I'm the one who wrote you the admiring e-mail a few weeks back).

    ReplyDelete
  2. Also, I like your spray-painted silver doll hearing aids. I think you'll enjoy a short version of my saga/bitchingfest, though. AG sent us a catalogue (not really sure why) and my daughter saw the hearing aids in it. Since she wears a pair herself, she shrieked with excitement, and I resolved to get them from her. Now, AG sells their earrings separately, so if you have a drill, you can put them on any doll of your choice. Not so with the hearing aids - they will only sell them to you by drilling into an AG doll. I mean, why should AG be fair when it comes to disabilities? I tried to explain that a) special-needs parents often don't have $140 to spend on a doll with hearing aids, b) my daughter was 6 and not ready for AG by their own admission, but since they sent her a catalogue of course she doesn't want to wait two years for a doll that validates her and one of her disabilities, and c) this refusal to sell the HAs separately smacks of exploitation, since they know full well that no one else makes them (well, not ones that stay on and can be removed, anyway) and that girls with hearing aids will want the doll version almost as much as their mothers will be desperate to be able to provide it. And that would all be fine if AG didn't keep spouting all that BS about inclusiveness and diversity and whatever. If you want to spread the good word about hearing aids being cool/acceptable, then sell a damn pair to whoever wants one. Rant over.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My Twinn has a doll-sized hearing aid that can be purchased seperately: http://www.mytwinn.com/Doll-Hospital/Hospital-Accessories_2/My-Twinn-Doll-Hearing-Aid.html
      And Build-a-Bear makes hearing aids for stuffed animals: http://www.buildabear.com/shopping/store/Plush-Hearing-Aid-/productId=prod81549

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    2. Thank you, I appreciate your kindness. I've actually purchased the My Twinn HA and sewn it onto a cloth doll back when my child was into those, and I've been planning to buy the bear HA for a friend's son. (I've also made HAs out of sculpey and wire, but they just got lost and/or broken.) The thing is, though, other than sewing or superglue, there's no way to get the My Twinn HAs on a doll. The AG ones are infinitely cooler because they're semi-permanent but removable, so there's just no contest. They really did do a good job before ticking me off, LOL.

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    3. There are some ideas here: http://listen-up.org/haid/dolls.htm Though they're not current and are either permanent, sewn on, or will probably fall out for the most part... I tried to see if they might be sold individually on eBay, but alas...

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  3. This is a wonderful set. Nice to know AG isn't [i]totally[/i] made of fail.... (heh)

    Now I have a sincere question for you, born of a sincere desire not to do anything racist or appropriative. Say you have a hypothetical doll collector who is herself white, but has a black doll, one she loves and does everything in her power to treat with respect. In your opinion, would it be over the line or safely on this side of it if this person were to set up a display with her doll celebrating Kwanzaa? Not to take her out and play with her doing it, because that really would be wrong, but just to have her standing there, in her dress and with her things around her....

    (I should say right now that this hypothetical white lady is not myself. I only have two dolls with the Addy face mold, one being Addy herself and the other #11. Chellie is biracial, but not AA, so Kwanzaa isn't for her either, and while my Addy loves the idea of African pride, she isn't quite ready to embrace the holiday. I'm just asking for the sake of information, and hopefully, enlightenment.)

    These reviews are great...keep 'em coming for as long as you want!

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    1. I would also be curious to know your opinion on this, Nethilia, though I would add the aspect of photographing and/or a photo story of the doll with her Kwanzaa set. Hypothetically, do you think that's okay, as long as it's done in a respectful (and well-researched) manner?

      I loved this review! I didn't even know/remember that AG had made a Kwanzaa set, and it's so pretty : ). I especially like that necklace.

      Thank you for writing up these fun reviews on the past holiday sets! It's like a history of American Girl, as told by their holiday wear. : D

      --Kate : )

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