Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Apparently, girls can have faith AND fashion

Ever heard of Faith and Friends dolls?

Here is their item description:
"Let's face it, today's girls love fashion. Now there's a way to combine their love of fashion with their vivid imaginations and their faith journey...Each doll comes with a tiny Bible and blank composition book to get girls thinking and writing about their faith and encourage wholesome role playing. Your daughter will grow developmentally, educationally, and spiritually. And you’ll have a window into her soul like never before! Faith & Friends - it’s fun, faith & fashion!"

Since when did "faith," and "fashion" go together?

(On another note, since when did the doll below look fashionable?)

This doll is called, "Orange You Cute". It gives me the willies everytime I think of a young girl's doll called, "Orange You Cute."

Ok, let me see if I had pause for a minute and say: yes, I believe that girls do want a doll they can enjoy. And writing does allow children and adults alike to explore their thoughts. I mean, there is a good premise to having a doll that comes with a little blank notebook to encourage a child to write.

But I find it ridiculous that the way you convince your daughter to like this doll is by convincing her that the doll is "fashionable". And I find it ridiculous that our girls inherently like fashion. (See the first line of the Item's Description).

We certainly can use clothing to express ourselves. And young preteens do enjoy exploring who they are. But I believe that by believing young girls "love fashion", we are only participating in a system that already exists (LimitedToo, Hannah Montana clothing, Barbie) that teaches our girls that it's what is on the outside that matters. Girls don't just "come" this way - we TEACH them this way.

And these dolls just join right in.

As matter of fact, on the doll's website, there is a FAQ question that asks, "Why Fashion Dolls?"

The company's reply:
"The truth is that today’s girls love fashion–the colors, textures, styles, sparkles, beauty, variety, creativity, novelty. . . and the sheer fun of it all. Dressing in the latest styles and feeling "up to date" builds confidence."

No, I firmly disagree that confidence is built from wearing the latest styles.

They go on to say:
"Faith & Friends is a line of fun and adorable 14-inch vinyl playdolls with a complete collection of chic, mix-and-match clothing and accessories...Up to date fabrics are used throughout the line, and appropriate bits of "bling" and lace and fringe are used to add to the femininity of the wardrobe."

Did you just use the word "Bling" to describe a little girl's Christian doll's clothing??

To end, they say:
"Fashion has the wonderful possibility of being extremely personal. By creating fashion styles for their Faith & Friends dolls, girls will gain confidence about how they can dress in stylish ways that are suitable for their age, their activities, and their faith."

When did fashion have anything to do with your faith?? Except maybe playing with a conservatively dressed doll is being more faithful than playing with a sexually explotive doll?

And I must beg to differ: fashion is often not personal at all. Instead, it tends to create a desire to be like everyone one else. Participating in fashion has the ability to make one feel worse about his or her self, because he or she doesn't measure up to a standard set by someone else.

I'm not against fashion, mind you. But I'm against the idea of using "fashion" and "faith" to sell a secular doll and call it Christian.

Just provide a good quality doll that is wearing simple appropriate clothing and sell the doll as a beautiful doll children can use with which to imagine and enjoy. It should be no more than that.

Here's my alternative:
A simple ("hand embroidered face is simple, allowing your child to project a variety of emotions upon the doll"), handmade with all natural materials doll made in Bangladesh and India using Fair Trade ethics, where the artisans make a fair wage under healthy working conditions.

Isn't this a better toy? A natural toy that children can love, encourages imaginative play and takes in to account the lives of people around the world?

1 comment:

  1. you have some thought provoking points