Meet the Anti-Barbie Doll: Your Daughter Will Love Her!

Love It! 30

big afro doll karen byrdKids like dolls that look like them. Or like their moms. Or have some sort of trait that is similar to them. Though I'm not Mexican, I remember as a kid seeing a Mexican Barbie and had to have her because she had dark hair like I did. Blonde Barbie was fun and all, but seeing one that looked like me made me happy. She was my favorite. I blame Ken for my weakness for men with blue eyes and expressionless faces. (I'm kidding. Sort of.)

One African American mom noticed this over-saturation of blonde and lack of color in so many of the dolls our kids play with and decided to do something about it. Karen Byrd started Natural Girls United and customizes dolls. On these dolls, she shows different skin tones and hairstyles. Right now Big Afro Doll, Brown Sister Locs Doll, and Dark Blonde Curly Locs Doll are the biggest sellers. But there are more. 

natural girl dolls

This woman has talent! Byrd says on her website:

There have been quite a few studies done that show that African American boys and girls often think of black dolls as bad and white dolls as good. Of course, this is not something that the parent is teaching their child. So why are they getting these mixed messages about good and bad skin color, or good and bad hair? It all has to do with the images they see as they grow up. If a child is constantly looking at images, dolls, television, books, and magazines -- and only seeing beauty as something or someone with non-ethnic features and long, straight hair -- then they are going to assume that this is what beauty is. It is something that has hurt young people for centuries.

She's right. This whole standard of beauty hurts all of us in so many different ways. Kids especially because they grow up with these notions. It even hurts as adults. That's why plastic surgery is so popular. That's why I loved when Justine Bateman said she loves her wrinkles. That's why I love these dolls. If they can make Tattoo Barbie, they can make Afro Barbie, too. Or better yet, support a mom and buy one of Karen's. She has two daughters who are 12 and 14.

Sure there are African American dolls, but typically they have straight hair and Natural Girls United makes the dolls with a large range of hairstyles. "I had dolls that were gorgeous, but they didn't look like me. When I looked in the mirror, I would be confused -- like, am I beautiful?" she told The Huffington Post. Right now she has 51 people on the waiting list for customized dolls that take up to three days to craft. Looks like business is booming.

Which Natural Girls United doll is your favorite?


Images via Natural Girls United

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nonmember avatar Linzee

I like the 9th doll. Btw How do you know it was a Mexican Barbie? Unless, it came with a flag. It would be a Latin Barbie. I just think it's funny you put a nationality on a Barbie.

Pam.N.42 Pam.N.42

I think these are awesome in the respect that they are give real representation, and they are beautiful, but they aren't really anti-barbies because they are still stick thin bobble headed and made up. They are just letting African American girls have a tiny thin doll they can identify with. Not trying to attack (my kids have barbies) I am just pointing out that the title is a little misleading cause these are still barbies, anti-barbie would be like that realistically sized one that was going around the internet for a while. 

the4m... the4mutts

I am glad my kids dont feel the way some kids start to feel by looking at media and dolls and all that. My 7 y/o is half white, half Guatemalen. All her BEST friends at school, are the adorable black girls with braids and beads in their hair. She loves that they play with her hair, let her touch their beads, teach her to jump rope, and she can give them things like little toys, and they always accept it nicely.

So far mainstream media and toys, and profiling havent effected my kids, and I hope it continues. I feel bad that some children feel so left out of the popular toys, magazines, and shows on tv. But I also dont think new dolls will help. I think it's a parenting and social issue. Parents need to spend more time working on their kids self esteem, and exposing them to more diversity.

I'll probably get my ass chewed for this last part, but Im saying it anyway

In my area, the majority of the black people dont let their kids play with the white kids. I have heard them tell their kids that white people dont like them, and that they should stay away from white people. My kids all look white, and have had kids at school tell them that their mom said not to play with the white kids, because white kids are mean. My kids have managed to win some over by not being racist little brats, but it's a shame that it was an issue to begin with. Things like that arent a problem that a few dolls will fix. Its an attitude that needs fixing.

miche... micheledo

Love them!

nonmember avatar Nikki

I love these, I think girls should have dolls that all look different. Even though i'm white my mom still made sure that I had barbies that were different races.. slim pickns in the early 90's. If I have a daughter I plan to do the same.

ktobin2 ktobin2

That's neat, however theyre missing a lot of other races. I'm not gonna buy my daughter barbies of different races if that's not what she wants. I'll let my daughter pick out the dolls she wants and since most girls choose dolls that resemble themselves, the barbies I buy for them will most likely be the blonde blue eyed original barbie.

Laine... Lainey0468

Awesome idea!!

nonmember avatar Shirty

Where's short hair Barbie??

Jaghd810 Jaghd810

The only reason kids think that way is because their parents taught them to think that way. Blaming the color of a doll is dumb. And ignorant. Place the blame where it belongs...racist parents.  

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