vidoe gamers arent violent and you should agree because i’m threatening you right now online
Toys, especially fashion dolls, are one of my biggest interests. I think a lot of people forget that actual merchandise is part of media and therefore factors into representation, but I’d love a chance to discuss it.
I’m not super familiar with Lalaloopsy, but fashion dolls have always had issues with representation, as well as upholding stringent patriarchal notions of beauty, worth, status and success.
The three doll lines I’m most familiar with are Barbie, Bratz, and Monster High. All three are technically centered around white (or, in Frankie’s case, green) characters. Both Barbie and Chloe of the Bratz are white, blonde, blue-eyed Aryan dreams. Every other character in Barbie’s world feels ancillary… to the point that eventually they just created a “separate but equal” doll line called So In Style (S.I.S.) which centers around three black women of different shades and their tiny protege. I don’t know much of the story, but the dolls each have distinct hair styles and skin tones and it seems like a really great idea until you realize that this line is considered separate from the main franchise. Also, outside of certain specialty lines, I haven’t seen any Asian (East or South) characters in the franchise in years. Barbie’s circle of friends nowadays all look like pallet switch versions of her. And that’s not good for so many (hopefully) obvious reasons. They’ve had ‘gimmick’ characters who are marginalized (Becky, who had a wheel chair. Celebrity dolls like Rosie O’Donnell who had a larger build)… but they never last. They aren’t regarded in the same esteem as Barbie.. And this current body mold is disheartening.
I used to really love the Bratz because they were better at representing various different races with their dolls. The main crew of Chloe, Sasha, Jade, and Yasmin are all different and have unique personalities (my favorites being Sasha and Jade)… But, except for a few paint details, the face sculpts are almost all identical… meaning no distinct markers for different races (other than narrower eyes for Asian characters). And almost every doll franchise has had some major issues with stereotyping ad insensitivity towards certain races and cultures. The thing I really loved about the Bratz, though, other than their fashion was that they had a wide array of characters, including males (which you don’t usually see in doll lines) and skin tones. One of my favorites, a really dark-skinned black girl named Felicia, seems to be discontinued as of right now but I really hope they bring her back.
For me, as a queer mostly-male-identifying person, seeing boys in fashion doll lines with daring, non-boring clothing meant/means a lot to me. There are a lot of children out there who would love to play with male (or, lbr, non-gendered) dolls out there. I was definitely one of them. It says something about the confines of patriarchy when things like dolls are thought of strictly as “girls’ toys”. It is important for little girls to have that representation, but why can’t others have the same? Don’t take away from; add to.
I’d like to see more male dolls. I’d like to see more unique body/face sculpts… and that leads me to Monster High.
I really like Monster High. Each doll has a unique face sculpt, several have unique bodies, everyone has their own style and it’s extremely punny and cute and fun. It’s the kind of doll line I’d have love to have as a kid. Within the confines of Monsters, though, it’s hard to really speak on race because while some characters seem clearly typed (for instance, Clawdeen Wolf and her siblings all seem Afro-Latin@ to me), but others like Skelita Calaveras are clearly connected to real-world cultures. Also, the line may have only started out with one male character but is constantly adding new ones with just as much attention to detail as the female characters get. It’s not perfect, but it may be my favorite doll line out there.
Don’t know how well I answered your question, anon, but that’s what I think.
We need more diversity and representation in every facet of media, and that includes toy lines. Plus size dolls, dolls of different races, dolls of different genders… I want it all.
So, I have this theory that it has to do with how women and non-hetero ppl, and people of colour in particular are marginalised in narratives and society in general (and to different degrees depending on intersections).
Most narratives revolve around white male people, so we’re socialised to accept their humanity in all forms—no matter if they’re they’re literally Satan—and to see ourselves reflected through them. My guess is that hetero white women are projecting their power fantasies onto the easiest characters to imagine themselves as: the characters with the most agency, power and privilege in society. I would say “the most well-rounded characters,” but even shitty weak white male characters have plenty of stans, so clearly they don’t have to be well-written—it’s just that we’re used to accepting these characters despite their faults.
Sexuality comes into play as well because female sexuality is demonised, so it’s more acceptable to explore male sexuality and desires. They’re also projecting their sexual power fantasies onto these characters.
Since people of colour are fetishised in varying ways, our sexualities are even less explored. Note how fandom perpetuates the racial stereotypes about black women being “strong” and not “needing” any lovers or romantic attachments. Look at the way fandom reacts to black female characters having love interests while trying to save the world—she can do both, but people don’t want to accept that. Our humanity and sexuality isn’t explorable for them—they can’t see themselves in us, no matter how well-written we are.
This is as much the fault of our society as it is the fault of the individuals who choose not to examine their prejudices when they have the means to.
It’s a perpetual cycle too because they’ve internalised sexism and are complicit in/benefit from racism from the time they’re kids, so they end up not being able to identify with female characters and characters of colour. This problem also goes unchecked because people think that women (predominantly white women in this context
because if we’re discussing Yaoi for example then it’s a slightly different conversation) writing white male/male pairings and participating in male slash fandom is progressive (I used to think like this and then thankfully the scales fell from my eyes).
I also think that white gay men aren’t only treated as accessories in media, but upheld as the standard of the lgbtq movement. Most of the representation goes to cis gay white men, so there’s this weird situation where people aren’t only fetishising them/their sexuality, but accessing their privilege.
That, dear anon, is a question I am asking myself constantly by now. Or at least whenever EAH releases a new webisode, Facebook post, diary, or any other update. Heck, my sister, evidently the smarter one of the two of us, has already left and I’m only allowed to talk about EAH to her if I really desperately need to rant or I’ll die. And only then if she’s feeling patient and merciful.
The answer is a tad complex, but relies on three things: that I am a huge Monster High fan, that I love wikis, and that if the POC-positive (and otherwise wanting-EAH-to-be-the-best-it-can-be) part of the fandom is to dwindle it will definitely not be due to me.