Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Oh Golly

For awhile now, hubby has been encouraging me to make a golliwog doll. A golliwog is a black doll patterned after an illustration in Florence Kate Upton's illustrations of her 1895 book, The Adventures of Two Dutch Dolls and a Golliwog. The term golliwog seems to have come from a name given by the British Army to their 19th century Egyptian workers. Ms. Upton's illustrations, however, took on a decidedly minstrel-faced tone and has been seen by some as adorable and some as positively racist.

Consider Raggedy Ann and Andy. They're hideous! With their sleep deprived, drug adled look with dark circles under their eyes, frizzie ginger afros, jack-o-lantern noses, and clown tights, I can't imagine why anyone could possibly consider this a comforting 'white' buddy for their children. I place the golliwog next to Raggedy Andy and see a grossly exaggerated representation of two people.

I think both dolls are racist, if racist means to exaggerate the features or habits of an ethnicity to the point of cartoon style misrepresentation.

Australians love their golliwog dolls. So I made one. It sold the day after I finished it. I made more.

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