I'm not a big fan of the government trying to micromanage the way we raise our kids (or the way we do anything else, for that matter), but Colorado's proposal to require daycare centers to provide dolls of at least three different races makes a lot of sense to me. Even if the thought of legally mandated dolls is a little weird. The toddler years are identity-forming in a big way. Little ones need to see themselves represented in the world around them, or they won't feel like they have a place in it.
Even I can remember feeling slighted by toy companies as a kid, and that was just because I had brown hair and every Barbie was blonde. Luckily there were more choices on the market when my daughter was born, so I tried to make sure her doll collection was diverse, especially because my kids are biracial (half-Korean, half-Irish/Welsh/Italian).
But despite my best efforts, there were still plenty of instances when I felt like we were being excluded from the blonde-haired/blue-eyed club. Most of these revolved around the canon of Disney princesses whose popularity reached fever pitch at the exact moment my daughter started to show interest in sparkly things. Bad timing.
To be fair, the Disney princesses are sort of inclusive. Back then, in addition to the Holy Trinity of Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, and Snow White, there was the multi-culti trio of Pocahontas, Mulan, and Jasmine. But guess what? Little tiny girls don't understand why there's no glittery pink Mulan costume on the rack. The Pocahontas doll might have a more historically accurate-ish outfit, but check out that fancy dress on Sleeping Beauty! Mommy, I want that one. With the yellow hair. Come on, put an Asian doll in a ball gown already, I felt like screaming.
Before anybody takes offense, I want to clarify that I'm not anti-Barbie or pro-genderless, race-less rag dolls. I'm just saying that I know what it's like to feel frustration over a lack of toys that look like you, and that I applaud Colorado for taking kids of all colors into consideration.
Do you think making daycares stock diverse dolls is a good idea?
Image via normanack/Flickr