Join the Meeting Place for Moms!
Talk to other moms, share advice, and have fun!

(minimum 6 characters)

Obama dolls: Exploitation or role models? your thoughts???

Posted by on Jan. 27, 2009 at 12:53 PM
  • 43 Replies

Obama dolls: Exploitation or role models?

From Monday's Globe and Mail

You could call it a tempest in a toy box. While the J. Crew-clad Obama daughters, Malia, 10, and Sasha, 7, are busy settling into life in the White House, controversy is swirling over their 12-inch doll doppelgangers, Sweet Sasha and Marvelous Malia.

In one corner are those who believe the makers of the new dolls have shamelessly breached the girls' privacy to make a buck. In the other are those who say Malia and Sasha are just the kinds of black role models American girls need today.

The two figures are part of toy manufacturer Ty's Ty Girlz line and were introduced earlier this month.

The company, best known as the maker of Beanie Babies, said last week that the brown-skinned brunette dolls are not based on the Obama girls.

Like many observers, the White House isn't buying it.

"We feel it is inappropriate to use young, private citizens for marketing purposes," first lady Michelle Obama's press secretary, Katie McCormick Lelyveld, said in a statement Saturday.

In addition to the issue of whether Ty has shamelessly hitched its fortunes to the Obama family's success, critics are also suggesting the girls are being sexualized because the dolls have teenage curves.

This detail may be especially contentious, given the media glare Malia and Sasha are likely to face in the coming years. Former U.S. president Bill Clinton was relatively successful at shielding his daughter, Chelsea, from the spotlight. Former president George W. Bush was less so, with the media gleefully reporting on his daughter Jenna's underage drinking exploits. Here in Canada, satirical magazine Frank was criticized for its spoof "deflower Caroline" contest in 1991 while her father, Brian Mulroney, was prime minister.

Many fans of U.S. President Barack Obama and his family appear ready to follow the White House lead and boycott the dolls. "They ought to be taken off the store shelves," Janet Shan wrote on the Black Political Thought blog.

But others see the dolls as symbolic of a positive evolution in U.S. culture.

Frank James of the Chicago Tribune pointed out that 55 years ago, civil rights lawyers leaned on upsetting research by psychologist Kenneth Clark that found when given the choice, young black children would routinely choose white dolls over black ones, describing them as "good and beautiful." The black dolls were described as "bad or ugly."

"How remarkable it is that in 2009 we should have a company believing it can profit by marketing brown-coloured dolls named Malia and Sasha," he wrote yesterday. "Maybe the dolls aren't so much a sign of exploitation. Maybe they actually signal progress."

BlogHer.com blogger Marisa P. wrote about how a visit to the online store Dolls Like Me, which sells multicultural toys including the new Malia and Sasha figures, led to her being in favour of the toys.

"As you might know, 'like me' has a solid history as a catchphrase for describing the dilemmas faced by parents of non-white children in the United States," she wrote. One of its most well-known uses, she suggests, is a Bill Cosby 1960s public service announcement called "A Boy Like Me" that described the negative ways black children are affected by "living in a world in which cultural objects of affection - dolls, stars, book characters, for instance - are all white."

The idea of highlighting black role models is a positive development, David Dunne, a professor of marketing at the University of Toronto's Rotman School of Management, said yesterday. But he pointed out the new dolls likely have more to do with the positive associations that go with the Obama family in particular rather than with African-Americans in general. The Ty Girlz line, for instance, continues to feature predominantly white faces.

"It may be a step forward, but not a huge step," he says.

my thoughts? i think they are not private citizen's anymore, they are very public now, all is fair game. i will say that if the obama's do not like this, they will not like the next four years to come, people will use them as role models, either for themselves or for their children. i would take this as a huge compliment, instead of an insult.

by on Jan. 27, 2009 at 12:53 PM
Add your quick reply below:
You must be a member to reply to this post.
Replies (1-10):
HaydensMommy007
by on Jan. 27, 2009 at 12:59 PM

I think it is stupid and ridiculous....

How come there werent any Bush twins dolls? Or some Reagan children/grandchildren dolls?

Feminism was established to allow unattractive women easier access to the mainstream.

MaddiesMaMa418
by on Jan. 27, 2009 at 1:03 PM


Quoting HaydensMommy007:

I think it is stupid and ridiculous....

How come there werent any Bush twins dolls? Or some Reagan children/grandchildren dolls?


I don't know much about the Reagan kids/grand kids, but as far as the Bush twins, being caught drinking underage a few times isn't the kind of role model parents are looking for their children.

The dolls are cute, a little unecessary being that the girls haven't really done anything, but cute nonetheless.


 

theQueenB
by on Jan. 27, 2009 at 1:04 PM

The dolls are beautiful, but they did not ask permission and I think that makes it exploitation, they are just children!




 


melsiggy09.gif picture by mrsdomesticgoddess

HaydensMommy007
by on Jan. 27, 2009 at 1:05 PM


Quoting MaddiesMaMa418:


Quoting HaydensMommy007:

I think it is stupid and ridiculous....

How come there werent any Bush twins dolls? Or some Reagan children/grandchildren dolls?


I don't know much about the Reagan kids/grand kids, but as far as the Bush twins, being caught drinking underage a few times isn't the kind of role model parents are looking for their children.

The dolls are cute, a little unecessary being that the girls haven't really done anything, but cute nonetheless.

Oh so YOU never drank underage? Never even one single time? If you have, then do you want your kids to look up to YOU?

Feminism was established to allow unattractive women easier access to the mainstream.

MaddiesMaMa418
by on Jan. 27, 2009 at 1:08 PM


Quoting HaydensMommy007:


Quoting MaddiesMaMa418:

 

Quoting HaydensMommy007:

I think it is stupid and ridiculous....

How come there werent any Bush twins dolls? Or some Reagan children/grandchildren dolls?


I don't know much about the Reagan kids/grand kids, but as far as the Bush twins, being caught drinking underage a few times isn't the kind of role model parents are looking for their children.

The dolls are cute, a little unnecessary being that the girls haven't really done anything, but cute nonetheless.

Oh so YOU never drank underage? Never even one single time? If you have, then do you want your kids to look up to YOU?

Um, ok. I'm not being idolized in the form of a doll.  You asked why no dolls of the Bush twins and I gave a probable reason as to why not.

Keep your drama.


 

NananRaysmom
by on Jan. 27, 2009 at 1:09 PM

Neither...I don't think they are exploiting the kids...but, I wouldn't consider them role models either.  I mean...what have they done for my kids to look up to them?

 

Bipartisanship is just like liberalism; it's the most gutless choice you can make. What's tough is standing on and for your principles when you and they are under assault. That's what's hard. That's what's challenging. Bipartisanship is easy. You simply compromise part of what you believe to go along with people who want to destroy you and say, "Look at me. I can get along with the other side." I could do that 25 times a day. We all could. That doesn't take any effort, just like it doesn't take any effort to be liberal.


RUSH LIMBAUGH

HaydensMommy007
by on Jan. 27, 2009 at 1:11 PM


Quoting MaddiesMaMa418:


Quoting HaydensMommy007:


Quoting MaddiesMaMa418:


Quoting HaydensMommy007:

I think it is stupid and ridiculous....

How come there werent any Bush twins dolls? Or some Reagan children/grandchildren dolls?


I don't know much about the Reagan kids/grand kids, but as far as the Bush twins, being caught drinking underage a few times isn't the kind of role model parents are looking for their children.

The dolls are cute, a little unnecessary being that the girls haven't really done anything, but cute nonetheless.

Oh so YOU never drank underage? Never even one single time? If you have, then do you want your kids to look up to YOU?

Um, ok. I'm not being idolized in the form of a doll.  You asked why no dolls of the Bush twins and I gave a probable reason as to why not.

Keep your drama.

Its not drama, I believe it to be a very valid concept. You say that the Bush twins should not be looked up to because they drank underage. How is that different than YOU drinking underage and having your children look up to YOU?

Feminism was established to allow unattractive women easier access to the mainstream.

HaydensMommy007
by on Jan. 27, 2009 at 1:12 PM

I like your siggy

Quoting NananRaysmom:

Neither...I don't think they are exploiting the kids...but, I wouldn't consider them role models either.  I mean...what have they done for my kids to look up to them?



Feminism was established to allow unattractive women easier access to the mainstream.

NananRaysmom
by on Jan. 27, 2009 at 1:15 PM


Quoting HaydensMommy007:

I like your siggy

Quoting NananRaysmom:

Neither...I don't think they are exploiting the kids...but, I wouldn't consider them role models either.  I mean...what have they done for my kids to look up to them?

 


Thanks!  And I like yours as well...!

Bipartisanship is just like liberalism; it's the most gutless choice you can make. What's tough is standing on and for your principles when you and they are under assault. That's what's hard. That's what's challenging. Bipartisanship is easy. You simply compromise part of what you believe to go along with people who want to destroy you and say, "Look at me. I can get along with the other side." I could do that 25 times a day. We all could. That doesn't take any effort, just like it doesn't take any effort to be liberal.


RUSH LIMBAUGH

evansmommy0828
by on Jan. 27, 2009 at 1:18 PM

No one wants their friends at school getting a doll named after them.

Makes for an awkward birthday party, don't you think?

Add your quick reply below:
You must be a member to reply to this post.
Join the Meeting Place for Moms!
Talk to other moms, share advice, and have fun!

(minimum 6 characters)