You all know how skeptical I get about ethnic dolls. It seems that most times, the manufacturer either over shoots the mark and we end up with something like the Mexico Barbie fiasco with a cartoon representation of an entire race or no real effort is made at all and we end up with the same Barbie only with brown hair. This is also not acceptable. There has to be a happy medium.
They are sold exclusively at Target so I am assuming since most of us spent at least $80 twice a week in that joint, we’ve all seen them. I was provided one of each doll for review purposes.
Viviana (Vi) and Valentina (Va) are teenaged sisters. The other two dolls in the series are Felicia and Roxxi who are not just friends, but family. All four of the girls are related. The purpose of the line is to help young Latina girls embrace their heritage while showcasing the diversity in the Latino culture and celebrating family bonds. This is what the press release tells us.
Here is what I think. My girls took the dolls out of the boxes and immediately loved them because of the diversity in how they looked. You see, my girls understand that not all Latinas look alike. We come in all shapes and sizes (like the rest of the population). For example, my sister is 5’2″ has jet black, very curly hair, green eyes and beautiful olive skin. I am 5’7″, have dark brown, wavy hair, light brown eyes with flecks of green, very fair skin with freckles. My daughters have blue eyes, one has straight and the other has wavy, blonde hair and both are very fair-skinned. We are all proud Latinas and I was happy to see a doll that looked sort of like all of us.
I know that some people were offended by the fact that the dolls came with a boom box, an art easel, a baking tin and a guitar. I get it. I was offended that the Mexico Barbie had papers but I can’t be offended by what the Vi and Va dolls have because, in my house, we do all of these things.
Both my girls and I have guitars. Both girls have an art easel and regularly can be found walking from room to room with a sketchpad in their arms. Both of my girls have been in ballet since they were 2-years-old and you’d better believe that while we don’t have a time machine so we can’t get our hands on a boom box, my girls can’t pass up an opportunity to dance if music is playing on Pandora. And if I’m really being honest, my 10-year-old loves to cook. This not something I forced on her. My husband is quite the chef and she enjoys cooking with him. I’m not offended by the accessories, at all.
The dolls come dressed in bright, vibrant colored clothing with bold patterns and prints. You know, just like most teens (Latino or otherwise) are wearing these days. In fact, when I asked my 7-year-old about the dolls this is what she had to say, “I like them because they look like me and Bella and they dress like us. I only wish that they switched the things they do because I am the artist and Bella likes to cook!” What can I say, I think if making all little Latina girls feel “Latina” was the point, they hit the mark, at least for my girls because when you don’t look stereotypically “Latina” sometimes its hard to feel included.
My girls have been playing with them non-stop since they opened them. I really think they feel special because there is a “Latina doll” with blonde hair (like them) but she’s Latina. That might not make sense to you if you are not Latina, but if you are you know exactly what I’m taking about.
They only had two small complaints. First, they are annoyed that the 1 million Barbie outfits they own, won’t fit the Vi and Va girls. They are built different than Barbie; shorter and curvier. Secondly, the doll’s feet are weird. What can I say, I am not a fan of feet on anyone but there should be a warning for small children, “Do not be alarmed, the tiny toes are there, you just can barely see them.” Other than that, my girls really like the dolls.
Look, these dolls are not supposed to take the place of human role models. It’s just a very small step to making our littlest Latinas feel like they belong, are represented and help them to be proud of their culture. I think Vi and Va does that wonderfully.
As for role models, well, that’s my job so I’m not too worried that just because a doll happens to have a baking pan, my daughter might begin to believe that she is supposed to be barefoot and in the kitchen. I want my daughters to know that they can be and do anything they want, no matter what they look like, where they are from or what others think of them. I want my girls to know that if they are willing to work for it, there is nothing they can’t do.
What? A Quincinera and a Sweet 16 party in the same year? If you think your little girl would enjoy this set, please enter to win via rafflecopter below.
This is sponsored post in collaboration with Vi and Va Dolls and Latina Bloggers Connect. However, all opinions expressed are my own.
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