Saturday, April 30, 2016


I have three reasons why I bought The Barbie Look Sweet Tea doll. For starters, it has a more sensible price compared to most model muse dolls being sold locally. This doll is priced PhP2100. Nude Barbie Basics dolls are priced at least PhP1500, more if the doll is using a popular mold. The additional PhP600 is a small price to pay for the additional valuethe articulation of the doll, clothes and accessories. 

The doll is made in Indonesia. That's another good reason to buy. I guess this reason doesn't make sense if you don't live in a country where the territory is being challenged by China.

The most common reason for buying this doll, and for some it's the only reason, is the head mold used. The new mold has been made more accessible. The Karl head mold was previously used in hard-to-get dolls and by hard-to-get, I don't mean high-quality. 

Although there are enough reasons to buy this doll, I don't like it as it is. I decided to make the eyes smaller. I also softened the curls of the hair. This strikes a good balance between my taste and her original character.

A sweet to sultry transformation can be seen in the photo above, but with certain styling, she can still can be sweet and simple. That's how I like my models, versatile.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Little Steps

Filipinos can really be cruel toward dark-skinned people. Recently, a local celebrity posted a photo of her baby on Instagram.  A certain @joan132132 left a mean comment calling the six-month old baby "negra" (black) and "panget" (ugly). The netizens condemned the cruelty of user @joan132132 forcing her to terminate her account. Bianca Gonzales, the mother, narrated in a later post, how she herself was bullied for having dark skin when she was 10 years old. I really fear for my 8-year old nephew who has a dark skin.

A lot of Filipinos normally have dark skin. It's just sad that Filipinos were taught to hate themselves for what they are. It's deeply rooted, being a colony of people with light colored skin (like Spaniards, Americans and Japanese) for around three centuries. It cannot be easily unlearned in one go, especially if someone is benefiting from the idea that a light colored skin makes someone better, not even if you flood the toy shelves with black dolls.

But I still think that little steps matter. Having black dolls on local toy shelves help. It gives kids the idea that dark-skinned dolls, like people, are fun, too. It gives kids the opportunity to include dark-skinned people in their happy imagination. Through play maybe kids can associate positive feelings towards a dark-skinned person because most of us just can't.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Black Adjectives

I recently bought The Barbie Look Sweet Tea. I opted not to do the usual photo/review post since the doll has been criticized enough. I also don't  want to promote the doll mainly because of the marginal satisfaction one can get from it and to think that it costs around US$45 locally (more if bought from online sellers) versus US$30, the suggested price for America. I think there's a paradox there somewhere, a person from a third world country paying more than someone from a first world country for the same frivolous thing.

I'm digressing. I didn't want to talk today about paradox. I wanted to talk about adjectives, adjectives we associate with black dolls to be exact. In my previous post, I mentioned the need to associate positive images to the black dolls. Black dolls don't need to just be present. They also need to have a positive image.

The first adjective is artsy. In the original Fashionista line, the black doll was associated to the word artsy. The black doll was never labeled glam, sporty nor sweetie, only artsy. What's wrong with artsy? Artsy involves pretension. Between artsy and artistic, you want to go with artistic.

In my previous post, I mentioned how the black dolls from the Barbie Basics and The Barbie Look series sold out quickly. If you asked the collectors what they liked about the black model muse dolls, a lot would say they like how fierce the dolls were. Our second adjective is fierce. Fierceness can be seen as a show of power and we see power as a positive image. This kind of power is, however, associated with aggressiveness. Although aggressiveness can be called for a lot of the time, there are also other ways of displaying power, like in a cool, calm, and collected manner. The black presidential Barbie was never sold locally, neither were the queenly looking black Holiday dolls. The image of the black dolls displaying non-aggressive power didn't reach our country.

So today, I want to try another adjective on a black doll. In the Barbie Fashionista line, a white doll had a monopoly to the word "sweetie". In The Barbie Look line, this adjective was echoed by a white Sweet Tea doll. Why not associate the adjective sweet to someone black?

In recent releases, there were black dolls that portrayed sweetness. They just didn't reach our country. I also noticed that I don't have a lot of sweet looking black dolls. They either look fierce, somber, or beautifully pissed. My smiling black dolls don't look sweet with their heavy makeup. I could have been unconsciously made to think that black dolls can't be sweet. I had to do something.

The problem is I'm not black, so the image above doesn't have a black perspective. I don't know how it is to be black. I'm actually think that the doll I styled looks a little oreo. I am not saying black dolls should be dressed like that to make their image positive. I'm just saying white dolls don't have a monopoly for certain looks and adjectives.