A Girl Like Me – American Beauty

In response to the recent commentary on Ben Byeryl’s Blog, Reconciliation blog, Noble Mother and I am sure several other blogs about the Bratz dolls and the value they have in a multi-cultural America, I decided to post this video of a documentary called A Girl Like Me.

A Girl Like Me” is a short student documentary concerning the issues of identity, standards of beauty. The documentary shows the difficulty Black-American women often have in seeing themselves as beautiful as well as comments on the characteristics – usually more typical in whites – that society sees a beautiful.

Another interesting aspect is that the director, Kiri Davis, performs a contemporary version of the Clark doll tests done in the 1930’s & 40’s. In the original test Kenneth and his wife, Mamie, found that Black children often preferred White dolls over black dolls and that Black children viewed white as good, pretty and positive, but black as bad, ugly and negative. They viewed this as evidence of internalized racism caused by stigmatization. Interestingly enough, Kiri Davis had similar results.

 

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  1. Odd. I suppose it doesn’t surprise you that I’ve never really looked at our cultural standards in that sort of way. I attempt to avoid mainstream media, in general.

    It’s disheartening that we have girls with healthy weights forcing themselves on deprivation diets. And this brings to light another part of that media driven image. There is nothing wrong with any of those girls in the video. It’s sad that they’ve struggled with their self image.

    I do not have children, but I despise the Bratz dolls. To me, they just continue to advocate a materialistic lifestyle. Without things, life has no meaning. Seems silly to me to indoctrinate our children with that sort of message.

    • elliek
    • December 10th, 2008

    That was a really interesting video. I remember studying about the Clark Doll Tests while on the Civil Rights Tour at TU. I think it’s kind of funny because I remember picking out an African American Barbie doll and asking for that one for Christmas one year – I think I still have it! As we get closer to having kids, my husband and I have been talking a lot about how we will raise them and the values that we want to instill in them – there’s so much to think about and clearly our culture is being embedded in our children; I think we’ll have to be so proactive and sometimes I still don’t even know how to be proactive about some things!

  2. It has been a very interesting dialogue since Suzanne, a mom of a mixed-race child, posted her comment on my blog about why she had given her 9 year old a Bratz doll. I’m always interested in fresh perspectives and I was caught off guard to understand that there could be parents purchasing these dolls because their possible ethnic features. It never occurred to me that they could be viewed as ethnic. I hope toy makers will begin to create dolls that not only depict more ethnic features and a variety of shades of skin color but that they will market them to all children, regardless. My daughter has white, black, and Asian baby dolls and Barbies and I have talked about the importance of modesty in dress not only for herself, but of her play things.

    • Ben
    • December 11th, 2008

    Thanks for posting this video. I’ll look forward to watching it tonight with my wife when it finally downloads (very slow connection out here.)

    Great blog. I’ve added you to my Google Reader.

  1. January 5th, 2009

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