Quinceañera dolls ‘a bit racist’ and more

// 24 August 2007

Dolls don’t have a good rep with feminists anyway. But Mi blog es tu blog has found a particularly hideous example.

Laura points out that the porcelain doll is a touch racist, noting that the press release describes the doll as having “distinctly Hispanic facial features and hair styles”. But the whole presentation of the doll in the press release, at least, raises many questions of gender stereotyping as well.

Considering it’s not exactly a well-known rite of passage in the UK, a Quinceañera is a celebration of the 15th birthday of teenage girl in the Americas. It involves a big pink dress, dancing, and depending where it takes place additional lovely things like a dance with her boyfriend, a public vow to stay a virgin until her wedding day, or a waltz with daddy in which (according to Wikipedia) she may “sometimes changing from flats to high-heeled shoes, symbolizing her transition from child to young adult”.

All in all, there’s plenty to unpick there, in terms of heteronormative, gender stereotyped, princess-fantasy traditions.

These dolls in particular are meant to let “to let the littlest Latinas live out their Quinceanera [sic] fantasies”. The fact that the toy is made of porcelain says it all, doesn’t it?

clg.gifAnyway, this also gives me a chance to recommend everyone watches the film Quinceañera, which takes many of the questions this tradition raises head on. Emily Rios plays Magdelana, who is approaching her own Quinceañera when she finds out she is pregnant and gets kicked out of the house.

In other Quinceañera-related things, I love this painting by Chicana artist Carmen Lomas Garza, in which she turns a rather comic and loving eye on the tradition.

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