“AG Rewards”Allows American Girl Fans Early Access to their new 1940s Hawaiian Girl, Nanea Mitchell!

5 Aug

For those of you who don’t know, American Girl is a brand that produces a line of wholesome and family-friendly dolls centered on encouraging girls to be the best they can be and to make their mark on history. Pleasant Company originally produced the American Girl collection in 1986 with their line of historical dolls as the focus, now called Beforever. Soon, the brand was sold to Mattel, creators of the Barbie doll, and it has expanded since then to include Bitty Baby, Wellie Wishers, Girl of the Year, and other contemporary and historical lines throughout the years since it’s been around.

Lately, American Girl has been pushing for “diversity” in their brand of dolls. Earlier this year, the first African American Girl of the Year ¬†, Gabriela, was released followed by American Girl’s first boy doll. Z Yang, a young Korean filmmaker, was also added to the group.

And finally a new doll was added to the Beforever lineup: Nanea Mitchell, a native Hawaiian girl from 1941, during the early WWII era.

I’ve done write-ups on the dolls before, if you want to check those articles out. –>Check it out here.

To promote the new 1941-1942 Native Hawaiian American Girl doll, American Girl has allowed all of their “Rewards” members early access to the doll! That’s right. Instead of waiting until the end of the month, AG Rewards members will receive their Nanea as early as this week!

Many AG Rewards members received their Nanea on August 1st, and already there are reviews everywhere of her. American Girl fans who have been excited for her arrival were surprised when American Girl bumped up her release for their active consumers.

And Reward members weren’t just getting a doll. Oh no. They received a collection.

What is AG Rewards?

 

It is just like any rewards membership you get with any retail store. The more you buy, the more points you get. Attending American Girl events can also give you points.

It’s free to join.

It’s kind of difficult to find on the main website. But you can access it by going to the “Shop” page, clicking “Sign in/Register” at the top right-hand corner of the screen. Or you can access it by going to the “Shop” page or “Stores” page, scrolling all the way to the bottom, clicking “About American Girl”, which then gives a drop-down menu that includes “AG Rewards”.

You must be 18 years or older to join, so kids should ask their parents first.

Other F.A.Q.s are listed on the page if you scroll down.

But don’t expect to get Nanea just because you decided to be a member today. You had to have accumulated 350 points or more (Gold status and Berry status) to be able to get the doll and her collection.

The doll and her collection run about $216 for pre-order. Nobody over my way can afford that right now, but happy days to the rest of ya’ll who can.

What was included in the Nanea collection?

Included in the collection are the doll in her Meet outfit, some accessories that go along with it, a hula outfit with some floral accessories, her Pjs, and her cute little dog.

There are videos out now from people who received their collection. I haven’t gotten anything yet. :/

One of the best videos I’ve seen has been lead by a very intelligent and bright child.

 

Another great video is by the Youtuber American Girl Ideas.

After watching the videos, I have my own review.

My Review

Nanea’s Meet Outfit and Accessories

I’ve already seen it a thousand times already. But I never really gave my opinion on it until now.

Nanea’s Meet outfit comes with a pake “Teatimer” blouse that became really popular in the 1940s and 1950s.

More searches on “Teatimer” blouses

She also arrives with sailor-inspired moku shorts. She has crisscrossed strap sandals. She has a bag/purse that can turn inside-out to match her outfit. And she has a blue-white shell necklace to tie it all together.

I love the color and style of the “Teatimer” top as well as the cute little shorts. But I’m not sure I like everything together. For some reason, it just seems like the jewelry and handbag are off with the outfit. The red in the shirt is the only color that pops. The blue with it isn’t doing it for me. The blue is nice too on its own. But it doesn’t seem like there’s enough to go with the red in her shirt.

But separately, everything looks really appealing. The doll itself looks stunning. Yet, I don’t know why they saw the need to paint the ends of her eyes. Was that to make it look more slanted than it was supposed to look?

Regardless, I personally appreciate the historical emphasis put into the wardrobe. I was especially interested in her Meet items.

Some other Meet items include a letter from one of her best friends, Donna, and an envelope. I read a bit about Donna, but there will be no spoilers from me. ūüėČ We can see Nanea’s address on the front of the envelope. This friend Donna lives in California …I’m assuming Donna’s family moved after the events of Pearl Harbor, December 1941.

Nanea’s Meet accessories also come with¬†two $1.00 bills with HAWAII printed on the back. This is a very historical detail. Right after the Pearl Harbor attack (so these accessories have to have been related to events that took place in 1942), dollar bills were issued with a Hawaiian print. This was so the US could distinguish the money during a Japanese invasion, if such were to happen. If an invasion were to happen, the Japanese could seize millions of dollars from institutions on the island. But with the Hawaii print, the USA could easily declare the money useless since the notes weren’t actually the legal currency of the nation. It was like making a bunch of fake dollar bills for people so the Japanese wouldn’t still the real ones.

All ¬†“bank notes” that were not stamped had to be turned in. Hawaiian residents were not allowed to use any other form of currency unless they had permission.

History on the Hawaiian Bank Note

So far, the most interesting parts for me about the Meet stuff are the accessories. I like everything else, but the other items just adds to the overall historical and story experience, which is something I appreciate about American Girl. The letter in its envelope kind of reminds me of the American Girl’s “adventure” books. You know, like Kit’s Railway Adventure? Samantha’s Ocean Liner Adventure? Molly’s Route 66 Adventure? I loved those books so much.

The Hula Outfit and Accessories

Sigh. I am not shocked, but mildly disappointed. Honestly, I wasn’t expecting much from Nanea. It’s an era I’ve already collected so much for (because I’ve had Molly, one of the original dolls, since 1997, and have shopped around for off-brand WWII items for her). I knew the only things that would make her different was her culture, the setting, and the extra floral prints.

But I was sort of hoping for maybe a more authentic Hula dress that was less…I don’t know…stereotypical?

I thought it was bad enough that Molly’s perception of Hawaii was the grass skirts (to add Molly’s mom thought it was a good idea to be a hula dancer for Halloween, but this was the 1940s).

But having a “native” Hawaiian girl perpetuate the same stereotypes as Molly almost gives off a worse vibe. This doll could be a gateway for little girls to learn more about Hawaiian culture and history.

When girls see Molly, they know she is just an ignorant white girl who doesn’t know any better. But when they see Nanea, they will think that she really is what she’s advertised as: a “Hawaiian” girl.

So, something a little less stereotypical would’ve been nice. Where was the advisory board when this was designed?

This is not to say there were no hula outfits with ti-leaf skirts being designed in the 1940s. The ti-leaf skirts may have been more common in the late 1800s and early 20th century, but they had them in the 1940s, too.

Before more hula skirts were being made with cotton, hula skirts were often made from raffia fibers. But originally, in the 1800s and before, Hawaiian ladies would just wear the skirts-and nothing else.

Because white missionaries wanted to spread their morality and religion, the style of clothing for the hula changed. It had to so it could fit the current “moral codes”. The dance was banned sometime before the 1940s because of the movement of the dances, the different spiritual undertones, and how “scantily clothed” the dancers appeared.

But by Nanea’s time, hula had moved beyond a traditional spiritual ritual and had become more of an art form. Girls by the 1940s wouldn’t have flounced around in grass skirts all the time. They often wore colorful skirts that may have been made from simple cotton. Then again, if they were trying to appeal to tourists in the 1940s, they may have used the grass skirts instead. Still, there were other styles that I wish had been made for Nanea.

The true evolution of the hula outfits have yet to be elaborated on by any entertainment mediums presented to children. And American Girl joins the other bulk of companies that fall into capitalizing off of the stereotypes.

Perhaps someone should’ve looked up the various different outfits hula dancers wear. Even girls today could provide better and more accurate examples of what is appropriate for hula. And it’s certainly not always grass skirts. Maybe they didn’t want Nanea looking so close to Kanani, but Kanani’s Luau outfit looks more unique than Nanea’s “hula” outfit.

Kanani Luau dress

Today, the hula is mostly done for entertainment and to embrace Hawaiian heritage and culture. Many Hawaiians do still wear the raffia skirt. But wouldn’t it have been refreshing if American Girl had gone a little deeper?

But no. I wasn’t shocked they didn’t. It was exactly as I expected. Still, I was disappointed that they met my low expectations with this outfit.

Why didn’t they just release that Muumuu dress on the cover of Nanea’s second book?

And from the look and feel of the hula outfit and the accessories, it just seems cheap and lazy. I know doll companies are struggling, but come on. Any time the lei and floral accessories and outfit are worse than Kanani’s, we’ve got a problem. Even the kid in the video can feel it!

The historical line of dolls should be of higher quality than the contemporary dolls. People can get away with wearing plastic everything nowadays. Nanea’s outfit is supposed to reflect the 1940s. Plastic was rationed! I understand the floral accessories can’t be too real because then the flowers could wither and die without proper care. But it should at least look¬†and feel real. It’s just unacceptable.

Sure, Kanani’s doll came out years ago when American Girl could afford to make high-quality items. The doll industry is really suffering nowadays. Mattel might be losing two of its biggest doll lines of the decade (Monster High and Ever After High) and may not be able to bounce back from that. But it still would’ve been nice if there was some effort to be original or different.

The top that goes with the skirt is nice, but Nanea has enough red in her Meet outfit to go around. And it kind of makes it look like a tropical version of Molly’s “costume”.

The “strapless” look of the hula top kind of reminds me of Disney’s Moana, but okay.

Overall, again, Nanea looks good in the hula outfit once everything is put on her. But the look of it is better than the overall quality. It’s like having food on the table that looks better than the taste.

Nanea’s Pajamas and Mele the Dog

The pajamas are cute. They kind of seem to relate to modern fashion styles. This isn’t to say this style wasn’t popular in the 1940s, but I can see how it can be pretty trendy for today, too. American Girl presenters said on facebook that Nanea’s outfits were sort of designed to be “timeless” where girls could mix and match some of her 1940s outfits with modern outfits.

Presenters

While that’s thoughtful and all, I’m not too on board with the idea of mixing the contemporary styles with those of the past. I enjoy the authenticity of the historical line, and quite frankly I find the modern outfits to be something I can find at my local target from another popular 18″ doll line.

But overall, I find the pjs to be okay. They look soft and comfy and I would like a pair for myself.

Mele is cute as a button. I love that doggy!

Overall, her collection seems okay. I’m not as into the outfits as I am the accessories this time around. But I hope this dress is released sometime soon:

I’m also curious as to when this will release:

*************************************************************************************

I hope I don’t sound too disturbed in this article. But I’ve been put-off from her since I found out I wasn’t going to be learning about a new era and was revisiting the 1940s. Forgive my skepticism. I’m trying to be fair.

I was also put off when I found out she isn’t really fully “Native Hawaiian”. She’s also not really fully a “doll of color” because like all the other Asian/Pacific Islander dolls from American Girl, one of her parents are white. I supposed that’s to make her “prettier”.

But it is more realistic for a Hawaiian girl to be mixed in the 1940s. Few islanders were fully Hawaiian by the 1940s. And even fewer are today.

Oh well. I guess it’s better we get some history on Hawaii now than not at all.

That’s my review of Nanea’s collection. What do you all think? Do you like everything you see? Are you impressed? Are you disappointed? Leave me a comment and let me know what you think!

 

Why I Can’t Seem To Grasp My Favorite Childhood TV Characters Grown Up (Raven’s Home Reboot, Following Fuller House and Girl Meets World)

23 Jul

Hello ya’ll!

So, recently I was one of the nostalgic adults who tuned in July 21st to watch the premiere of¬†That’s So Raven‘s reboot now called¬†Raven’s Home.

That’s So Raven was a comedy sitcom, possibly Disney’s first, made officially by the channel, about a teenage psychic who often sees something happening in the future and tries (mostly unsuccessfully) to stop the vision from coming true or to help a good vision come true. This obviously left room for a lot of humor, gags, and delightful slapstick. The three lead characters, Raven, Chelsea, and Eddie, really brought the show to life. They all had excellent comedic timing, great chemistry, and plenty of great actors to back the characters up, which helped to make this “kid’s show” into something for the whole family.

But there is something extra special about watching the show through the eyes of an on-screen teenager. Teenagers are not too young, but they aren’t too old either. They are usually free agents with their whole life ahead of them. They don’t have kids, so they can be as independent and fun as they like. At the same time, they aren’t so young they lose touch with adult issues. And yet, it’s fun to watch them live for the moment.

Even as adults, we long for the days of our youth, when life was simpler. It has been great to return to old re-runs of That’s So Raven on Disney Rewind just to re-experience that magic. It’s great to go back to a time when there were no smart phones, and fidget spinners, and when we had those flamboyant sparkly clothes and feathery jackets.

And, for me, that really doesn’t seem too long ago. For me, I’m still the teen I was 10 years ago. I can’t imagine even being an adult…And yet, I am. I have adult problems and issues now. I worry about my future. I worry about getting older and sicker. I no longer have that confidence in my youth.

Yet, in some ways I’m more confident and more successful and happier, too. It’s weird.

Sure, I’m still in my late 20s. But I’m not getting any younger. My friends are married with kids. They no longer can enjoy the same fun pastimes we used to enjoy as teens, like Laser Tag, ice skating, and horseback riding (though I still enjoy all immensely). We all have bills to pay and homes to pay for. It’s just not the same.

Of course, there are some perks to being an adult. Sure. But whenever we wanted to return to the past, shows like That’s So Raven was there.

Now, with the reboot Raven’s Home, Raven Baxter, the wacky psychic teen we grew to love, is older and is now a MOM. Wrapping my mind around this has been challenging, I must admit. The teen that used to make fun of her parents for being embarrassing, the teen that used to trick her parents or try to get out of sticky situations regarding her parents, is now that parent.

She now has two twin children, one of which is also psychic. So, she isn’t the focus anymore.

Trust me, I knew what I was getting into when I watched this show. But I didn’t realize how much it would hit me until the episode ended into the credits.

I’m old.

This is probably how many fans felt after watching Girl Meets World. I didn’t truly understand because Boy Meets World was popular even after the teens went off to college and even after Cory proposed to Tapanga back then. I was still pretty young during that episode. Fuller House may have had the same effect on fans. To us, 10 years or 20 years was not that long ago, but with many kids reminding us that they’ve never heard of these shows, we begin to think, “Am I really that old?” And now our favorite characters are parents, too? And trying to appeal to kids that know nothing of their greatness?

Girl Meets World

I think the shock for our generation (or for me rather) is because maybe we feel like we’ve grown up too fast. Our time seems to have sped even faster than our parents’ time. We’re also mostly at a standstill, still struggling to build careers, and not really settled financially, physically, politically, and socially (according to some experts). ¬†We’re just not following the “rites of passage” to the letter like former generations. Even the two lead actresses, Raven and¬†Anneliese van der Pol, don’t really have a family with kids and seem like real-life bachelorettes, even though they are in their 30s.

I think the two are playing really empowering roles as two single moms raising their kids on their own. I admire that aspect. They are bringing new kids along to help them navigate this new generation. We, as adults, are also navigating in this new generation’s world. These kids were born in the 2000s. We were not.

And yet, we just can’t see ourselves as adults because we kind of grew up in the Y2K era too.

I think what makes Raven’s Home particularly hitting is that the original show was even newer than Boy Meets World and Full House. It just ended in 2007, near the end of the last decade. Anything “2000s” doesn’t sound old.¬†Hannah Montana and High School Musical had come out before the end of That’s So Raven (and we know how iconic those still are). The generation that followed That’s So Raven aren’t just in their 20s and early 30s. Some of the demographic is in their TEENS. My younger cousins were 6 and 7 years old watching That’s So Raven. Now, they are 16 and 17 watching Raven’s Home, and they’re just like, “She’s a mom now?”

Even though Raven was always older than my cousins were back then, she was still pretty young and really cool to a kid who admires their teenage older sisters and cousins. She wasn’t a mom. That generation is still looking for that youth in Raven, for someone who is figuring out their life as maybe a young college student or as a free bachelor seeking to live a glamorous life (like what we have seen with Sex and the City or Friends, only in a kid-friendlier version). The glam factor goes out the window when our favorite characters become parents themselves. I don’t know why that’s so. Maybe because we don’t like glamorizing parenthood to young impressionable children, I don’t know. Maybe because it’s less sexy. Maybe because kids don’t want to think about having kids. I can think of hundreds of reasons why people prefer single and childless characters to those bogged down with a family, even if none of the reasons are rational. It’s just not appealing to watch the parent and everyone falls more in love with the kids (if these kids can act and charm a crowd).

Even Spider-Man got more praise when they brought his character back to high school in the newest Homecoming Warrior. And it seems Spider Man has always been more popular as a teen than he was depicted as an adult.

The adult characters that do make it into shows or cinema are usually more popular when they are single without a family. Possibly because this helps to give the effect to the audience that the characters need to grow, learn, and experience throughout this show or movie, which creates all kinds of story-telling and fantasies for fans. But none of it actually is final, and that’s what makes it great.

With Raven’s Home, with her having her family, it almost seems like her life as a teenage psychic, that chapter, is over. And that’s what makes me so sad about it all.

Don’t get me wrong. I love the kids in the show. Chelsea’s “son” Levi (played by Jason Maybaum) is a showstopper. He’s cute and can manage to land excellent comedic timing. But am I alone in wishing there had been no kids? When I thought of a “reboot”, I thought of them being older, but maybe the focus. I also didn’t imagine these children as really theirs. Maybe they were kids who lived in the building and came to cause mischief (like Cory, Stanley, and Devon’s sister have done in the original show). But theirs? I wasn’t ready.

Then there’s the problem with “modern acting”. The era of the child star, where movies used to set a high standard for what a good little actor was, has gotten more lenient. These kids just don’t have the same star factor as kids from the 1980s and 1990s (though it made those kids’ lives miserable).

And so, I’ve come to realize that I don’t really like reboots like this. I do often long for the old days, but the actual “old days”. Not reboots, not remakes, and not spin-offs. I like shows better as re-runs. There are some reboots that have done really well, especially in the cinema area. But on TV, I haven’t seen many great reboots.

Raven’s Home actually was the best I’ve ever seen. It’s actually funny and I want to see how it goes in the future.

I was not as impressed with Girl Meets World. The characters we watched the show for brought little to the show besides some throwbacks here and there. And I was less interested in their daughter and her more cliche teen story. Most of her drama dealt with relationships, which was just corny. I know it was Disney doing it this time, but it shouldn’t have been done.

After seeing these reboots, I think I’ll pass on asking for reboots in the future. Some people are happy to see their favorite characters return, and they don’t care in what fashion.

But here’s some reasons why I can’t grasp this concept, the concept that makes our favorite characters grown up with kids:

It’s Different

It’s not just different in the sense that it’s a different show. When reboots happen, certain characters are replaced by new actors (which I heard is happening to Orlando Brown’s character Eddie), characters are omitted, and new characters are added. The theme song changes (sometimes to a less likable one because the popular styles have changed). The demographic shift changes the tone of the show. And the overall product is usually quite the opposite of what fans really wanted when they asked for a reboot in the first place.

This “difference” can make or break the show. Most times, the show is broken by the shift in focus. When people fall in love with a show, they just don’t fall in love with some characters and the concept of the show. Everyone on that set worked to make that show a success. Everyone from that show brought a different flavor. Without even one of those key characters, a reboot can feel stale or empty. It just doesn’t have the same fire. It’s even worse when the original MAIN character is no longer the main.

Sure, we know some people will make an appearance. But we know that those appearances will be temporary mostly, not key. If the characters were single without a family, we could kind of see them attaching to new people as well as adding older people, which could help the characters grow as if they are still the same people they were 10 years ago, still navigating life and trying to find themseles. We could even see a more adult show, a show that connects to the demographic that will mostly appreciate the reboot. We would actually have gotten a continuation.

But with a reboot comes a new focus, like in¬†Raven’s Home‘s case. They basically have a new lead character (though we know Raven is the real character driving the story home). The child is the focus and is the one supposed to be bringing the humor to the new audience. But the younger child doesn’t have the same star power, and that’s what makes this concept weaker than the original. They’re going to have a lot to live up to. Stories about kids are also not as appealing as stories about teens.

But using having the kids play as a focus kind of works in Raven’s Home‘s favor because then we get to see how the psychic gene works. We get to see how a child could inherit these abilities. Still, it’s just weird to see Raven walking around with babies. Raven and Chelsea in the show haven’t changed personality-wise, and they just seem like they would be better as big sisters than mommies. But maybe that’s a new approach? I don’t know. I’m skeptical.

Nickelodeon is doing right by Hey Arnold! by continuing his story this fall with the long anticipated Jungle Movie. Most of the old cast is back, key characters are back, and the story is borrowing inspiration from the past. It’s the perfect way to go about bringing old characters. The designs have only slightly changed, but not really. I wish Powerpuff Girls had come afterwards so they could learn how a reboot should be done. I hope the Rugrats reboot brings the same old characters back and doesn’t try to grow them up again.

Reboots can completely change everything. And that’s just not what I want or what I’m ready for. I just don’t like when something is fixed without being broken to begin with. I want the original. Bringing in a new focus means bringing in a different story and show, not the show I loved.

The one thing that makes me happy about Raven’s Home is that the lead character is a boy. When was the last time Disney Channel had a male lead character? Even Stevens? Phil of the Future? The Suite Life of Zack and Cody? Disney XD has kind of taken over for the boys, but Disney Channel is the oldest and has the strongest fanbase. It’s about time.

I know a lot of people will say “Well, Disney is trying to bring this to a new audience. That’s why they brought kids along”. Of course, that’s true. But they didn’t have to make Raven and Chelsea moms to do that, and they didn’t have to make them “B-story” characters either.

Look at the success of Jessie starring Debbie Ryan. She was the lead character, not the kids. She played an adult nanny. And it turned out successful. I don’t think shifting the focus on Raven and Chelsea would’ve made this show any less interesting to kids. In fact, I think more people would find it interesting.

There are people who claim Girl Meets World didn’t hit it off with the primary demographic because “kids aren’t familiar with Boy Meets World“. I’d say the real issue is that there wasn’t enough focus on the people we learned to love in Boy Meets World, the people who really brought the comedy, fun, and depth. And when they did show up, they were corny, overly involved in their daughter’s life and didn’t seem to have lives of their own. And their daughter’s life wasn’t as interesting as theirs in their own series. Her trials were, quite frankly, stupid and over dramatic. There were hardly any funny moments either.

Sabrina Carpenter’s character Maya would’ve made a more interesting offspring than Rowan Blanchard’s character Riley (Cory’s daughter). But I guess with a now-preachy father like Corey and a corporate mom like Tapanga, Riley was the best they could come up with out of the union.

Sure, Boy Meets World had teachable moments, but ’90s comedies knew how to balance that with comedy well. Properly, shows back then touched on sex, violence, gangs, drugs, and peer pressure. Girl Meets World mostly touched on shallow cliche tween subjects like boyfriend issues and finding your own individuality. Then it had no “realism” about it. Sure, Boy Meets World had some out-of-the-box parts, but there was a slice of realism and life about it.

Throughout the reboot, classrooms were interrupted with Riley’s personal life. Everything was forced to teach her lessons, she didn’t gather her lessons from “real” classroom lessons or real life, like Cory did in the original. And unlike Mr. Feeney, Cory couldn’t seem to tell the difference between his classroom and his house. He showed so much favoritism to his daughter and her friends in the classroom, I’m surprised none of the other students reported him. Her father would literally change his classroom subjects to surround the topics on her. I understand this is her world, but it made the show really unrealistic, especially in comparison to the original. Scenes changed awkwardly and each story was just over-the-top for little reasons. This show had moral lessons, but for things that weren’t really deep at the core.

Cory and his wife Tapanga were once dorky and likable kids in the original show. Riley and her lover Luke, on the other hand, are perfect and popular. They are one-dimensional in comparison. And this is because they had a good foundation with the already fleshed out characters from Boy Meets World. How complex could their lives be? We didn’t really need Riley’s perspective at all.

Fuller House is better because Full House never gave us the illusion that the show centered on kids and teens. It centered on the family. This show is more like a continuation than a reboot. The show always focused on adults and we’ve watched the Tanner kids grow up into adults throughout the original.

The good part about the show is some of the key characters are still the key characters, if not more important than they were originally. The kids are now the main characters, but their father and uncles are pretty important, too.

Still, all the characters we felt were cool kids back in the day are now lame adults, and there are new less memorable kids to replace them. I feel bad for the new kids.

Different isn’t always bad. But in the case of a reboot, many times it just feels so different, it doesn’t feel as good.

So far, Raven’s Home brings enough comedy to keep my attention for awhile. Hopefully, it maintains the same level of humor as That’s So Raven. Still, it just feels different.

The Actors Have Changed

And I don’t mean changed as in they switched actors for a role. I mean the actors themselves usually have changed by the time of a reboot. Some haven’t been acting in years, which makes things a little hard for them and also makes it noticeable to the audience.

Actors who have had other acting experiences or other life experiences end up changing their character’s aura, which can always bring depth to a character but can also make the character seem like a stranger to the audience. Especially when that character is now nothing like expected or isn’t as likable as they once were.

With re-runs, the fun never dies. With reboots, sometimes we are left saying, “They’ve really let themselves go” or “Were they really this annoying?”. Public opinion of actors can tarnish their reputation and color people’s perceptions of a show, too.

Because of all that, many reboots are destined to fail at some point.

However, I see a lot of promise with Raven’s Home. Both Raven and Anneliese have become seasoned as actors over the years, which actually helps them get back into the swing of things naturally. This is more than I can say about Boy Meets World‘s Ben Savage.

We Feel Old

I believe I mentioned this before, right? Yes, because it keeps circling in my mind over and over again.

When a show makes a reboot years after the original, we are often seeing the adaption of newer technology, newer slang, and older (sometimes older-looking) characters. I mean Raven and Chelsea in Raven’s Home are sporting “old lady” clothes, not the at-the-time fashionable, trendy, and flamboyant styles they once did. That makes us feel old, which makes us feel lame, stiff, and irrelevant. For some reason, we have been taught that being older means we’ve expired, and it’s not a good feeling to find your favorite childhood show suddenly verifying that. I don’t know about ya’ll, but I watch television to get away from the stresses of the world. I think I just realized Disney Channel is just no longer for me. But that’s exactly what makes me worry about Raven’s Home.

Watching re-runs doesn’t give me the same feeling of being “old” for some reason. It just feels like I’m young again.

My favorite book series as a kid, The Babysitters Club, is still really awesome. It’s not just because it’s about a group of kids starting a business. It’s also cool because it came out of the 1980s and 1990s. When I read it, my era comes alive again and my generation is relevant to me again.

Watching the New Edition biopic gave me that feeling. It made me think, “Yea, that was awesome. Our generation was cool. We still got it.”

Reboots with the main characters as parents and their kids set up as the main characters give me the feeling that our time has passed, that a new generation is taking over our lives, and that our chapter is closing before we’ve even established ourselves. It’s a somber thought, but one that I had when watching these reboots.

What We Don’t Know Can’t Hurt Us

At the end of our favorite show, there’s normally a solid wrap up that let’s us know the journey has come to an end. Sure, there may be some unresolved conflicts or hanging relationships, but anything else is left up to the imagination or left hanging in the air.

Fantasies about the future of the characters can be a lot of fun, but fantasies are fantasies. Only we personally can enjoy them fully.

We can imagine that Raven Baxter has a happy marriage with her handsome boyfriend Devon. We can imagine her becoming a fashion icon, famous and fierce. Or we can imagine that fleeting relationship between Raven and Eddie getting off the ground. Whatever we imagine, at the end of That’s So Raven, the sky was the limit. Ironically, in a show about the future, That’s So Raven left the future possibilities endless. There is a certain amount of joy and excitement when there is a little mystery. This mystery might have still been there if her life still hadn’t been quite “there”, even with her being older now.

But with a family, a job, and a new start from her old relationship, Raven Baxter seems to have achieved what most in her generation actually haven’t achieved. And that means she seems to have her life set. This means, as a character, she no longer has anything to aspire to. She doesn’t seem to have any goals or dreams beyond living for her kids and reaching back in the past for things she’s lost. This is where she disconnects from the audience and becomes something we not only can’t relate to anymore, but also something we actually fear. Our generation actually has an issue with following the rites of passage (particularly when it comes to marriage and kids). There are dozens of articles showing that this generation just isn’t living like Raven on television. And of course, it’s TV, it’s not real. But That’s So Raven was just more relatable to us at the time it arrived on the scene. Even Raven Symone herself said she’s “learning to be a mom” with this show because, again, even she doesn’t have kids.

In the show, Raven Baxter might develop some long-forgotten dreams she’s had, but they will have to yield to her new role as a mom. That’s just not the same.

While we’re also peering into Raven’s new life, there are some dreams or fantasies that have already become crushed and will continue to be crushed. Any imagination we may have had about the characters have been written for us. And that’s just not as fun as leaving the end to the imagination.

Anyway, overall, I did enjoy Raven’s Home for what it was, just as I had the other reboots, but I’m just hoping it can continue to capture its audience’s attention, despite the shift in focus from Raven to her kids mostly, and despite the fact that it just isn’t That’s So Raven.

Raven Symone herself is just phenomenal in her role! She just merges so naturally with her character! Nothing feels awkward and forced! Anneliese is the same! On set and off-set during interviews, they’ve continued to entertain me. I do look forward to seeing more of them.

I just know eventually this show has to become an independent property.

Leave me a comment and let me know what you think! Did you enjoy the show? Were there things you didn’t like as much? Did you get the same feelings I got? Let me know!

 

 

Kingdom Hearts III Due for Release 2018! + D23 New World and Trailer

15 Jul

Last month, Square-Enix dropped a random trailer at one of the Kingdom Hearts Orchestras.

Yes Kingdom Hearts fans! Yes! This game will be released next year, 2018! We don’t know if it’s a worldwide release or the Japanese release date (as they’ve broken up release dates before), but we know something is coming out as soon as next year!

People, we have waited more than 10 long years for this game to drop. It has been 15 years since Kingdom Hearts I dropped, 12 years since Kingdom Hearts II was released, and years between the side games. We’ve been ready for this. A lot of us are older now (but we’re still into this game). We have more responsibilities, and can’t really focus on this game as much anymore. However, we also now have the money to buy this game. We just need it in our hands.

Tetsuya Nomura showed up at D23 Expo this year, all cool and collected like his character Riku, and expressed how much pressure he felt after the Kingdom Hearts III Orchestra. He felt how much we’ve been anticipating this. We were tired of all the teasing trailers with no release date. Even though we still don’t actually have a date, and things could be moved back, we know they are aiming for 2018.

The “brand new world” happens to be a Pixar classic and fan favorite. Many Kingdom Hearts fans have asked if we could enter a Pixar world. Toy Story, I know, was among the most asked for. It translates really well into this game. So far, most of my dreams are coming true.

All I need is confirmation from Utada Hikaru that she is returning to help with the theme song, and I am good to go.

New things I noticed:

  1. You can actually have more than THREE party members! In the original trailer, we saw that we had three. In this trailer, we had FOUR!
  2. New Keyblade transformations and attacks!
  3. New keyblade!
  4. This Toy Story seems to take place after the first movie since we see the aliens from Pizza planet in Andy’s room. We don’t see Jessie or Bullseye (yet).
  5. We are fighting Heartless and Nobodies in this game.

So, leave me a comment and let me know what you thought about D23 and what you think about it coming out next year! Do you think it might be rushed because of the hype? Or are you just happy the game is coming? Let me know!

To see a timeline of all the Kingdom Hearts games, click here.

Check out a video regarding Kingdom Hearts 3 HATE already!

Another Kingdom Hearts 3 Trailer + New Trailer and World At D23 in July!

18 Jun

There have been three Kingdom Hearts teaser trailers since 2013. Now, Square-Enix has given us a fourth. Now, things seem to be moving towards better development. For me, though, these teasers make fans even more hyped up, which can be good and disastrous at the same time (if the game takes too long to be released or if the game doesn’t meet expectations). Fortunately, we’ve been told that Tetsuya Nomura is a “perfectionist” and won’t release the game until it is perfect. Unfortunately, Nomura has also said they had to cut certain things out of the game to push up the release.

It has been more than 10 years since Kingdom Hearts II came out, and mostly the loyal fans (and the fans who can afford to) have played the side games (the most recent one being Kingdom Hearts 2.8). After looking at the reactions to this trailer, I was shocked. The fans really are still around!

Kingdom Hearts 2.8 Coming December 2016 + Complete Kingdom Hearts Timeline Finished!

This new trailer was so popular, in fact, even among everything happening at E3’s event (and outside of it) a little over a week ago, Kingdom Hearts was the top story in the gaming world among stories missed, according to IGN!

Most Kingdom Hearts fans were expecting to see information about Kingdom Hearts III at E3. But, surprise! A new trailer was dropped at the Kingdom Hearts ORCHESTRA tour.

Of course, as a Kingdom Hearts fan, I was super excited about the trailer.

Let’s review the trailer, shall we?

1) We’re seeing more from the Olympus Coliseum “Hercules” world.

2) The Command Style from Birth By Sleep Fragmentary Passage 0.2 seems to be adopted.

3) Party member combination attacks seem to be back, but better than before.

4) Hercules is now a party member.

5) Hades, Maleficent, and Pete are back.

6) The “black box” was mentioned. All my fellow fans who watched the Kingdom Hearts Unchained X Back Story¬†cinematic know where that line is going…

7) The magic has taken on the style from Birth By Sleep Fragmentary Passage 0.2. Awesome.

8) We see the drive forms have returned, along with the Sonic Blade command.

9) Sora is trying to bring Roxas back. Dream Drop Distance comes to mind. Sora made new revelations about the Nobodies, so I figured Roxas would come up sooner or later in KHIII.

10) I’m not seeing the “amusement park” attacks here. I hope they weren’t scraped.

11) Keyblade transformation seems awesome.

12) Shotlock has returned.

13) It looks like there will be a dive mode similar to what we had in¬†Dream Drop Distance. Are they discarding the gummi Ship? I really liked the upgrades for the gummi ship in Kingdom Hearts II and was hoping to see better upgrades in the new game… Then again, it got annoying at times. Maybe the dive mode is back because Sora is trying to become what he couldn’t become in Dream Drop Distance… Ya’ll fans know what I’m talking about.

14) Aerial Finish is back!

15) Flowmotion has returned.

16) D23 Expo July 15, 2017 will reveal the trailer and a NEW WORLD. We already got the word that Big Hero 6‘s world will be in the game. I wonder if the new trailer will show a bit of it. This makes me excited, but I’m afraid of spoiling the game for myself. XD I’m so weak to these teasers.

I’ve been watching quite a bit of reaction videos, too. It’s strange when I watch reaction videos that question “the black box” and are confused about certain commands. The fan’s overall Kingdom Hearts experience is exposed when watching these videos, and it’s obvious when a fan hasn’t played the game since Kingdom Hearts II. XD The fans who have really been keeping up with things not only understand what’s going on, but they are creating solid theories.

 

There are many other reaction videos out there! It’s quite entertaining.

Leave me a comment and let me know what you think about the Kingdom Hearts III trailer!

 

‘Wonder Woman’ (Quick Movie Review)

13 Jun

Last weekend, I had a movie day. I saw two long movies in one day at the movie theater. Spending money on movies isn’t normally my thing, but I needed someplace to cool down from the heat.

‘Wonder Woman’¬†was one I’ve been wanting to see for awhile.

I have grown up with the DC universe more than I have the Marvel universe. I watched the Batman cartoons on Cartoon Network as a kid, read Superman‘s comics, and was obsessed with Teen Titans. I know that’s not saying much in comparison to the serious fans, but it made Wonder Woman an attractive movie for me. Also, as a woman, why wouldn’t I support a female super hero movie?

That being said, let me sum up my feelings on Wonder Woman in one sentence: Your typical super hero movie.

Wonder Woman is getting quite a bit of praise from crowds. I can see why. It has the bells and whistles: Flashy lights, explosions, a moral center, and an attractive lead female character. Oh yes, and did I mention a lead female character?

Of course the feminists were going to eat this up. First off, it passes the “Bechdel test”, the test that requires a movie to have two or more women in a movie, discussing something other than men. With a look into the island of Amazons kicking this movie off, we are introduced to a warrior tribe of empowering women.

I was quite interested in this island. In fact, I found some of the other female Amazons on the island to be better representations of feminism than the leading goddess and would’ve liked to see more development for them. But no good movie can keep going without an idiot. Yes, the lead character has to be the “fool” otherwise this story wouldn’t have existed.

Yes, I said it. Wonder Woman played “the fool” in this movie. She was all brawn and no brains. I’ll give some spoiler examples…

When Wonder Woman, real name Diana, was trying to help the “strange American man” named Steve back to his home so she could “save the world”, there was this awkward scene with her speaking to him about the Amazons’ view of men, with her trying to understand why he won’t sleep next to her, and then her ultimately ¬†convincing him that this is okay. I couldn’t help thinking to myself that she probably shouldn’t have been running away from all of her studies as a child. I’m sure the Amazons wouldn’t have just taught her how to wield a sword, but I’m sure they were adamant about teaching her the details of life. That is, if she had actually stayed in one of her classrooms. But because she focused so much attention on being strong, no one was able to teach her to be observant. If she had been observant, she would’ve been able to maneuver in the “world of man”. When the American man refused to sleep next to her, a shrewd warrior would’ve quickly caught on to the custom of man and kept a healthy distance.

When Diana first arrived in the world of man, she walked around sporting a sword and shield. A truly observant warrior would’ve observed the people around her and realized, “Hey, no one else walks around with their weapons drawn. I should keep a low profile until the time is right.” Without the careful shrewdness of a real warrior, I couldn’t take this Amazon princess seriously. Then again, I’ve never been able to take most super hero stories seriously, and I suppose this moment was to give us light humor and add flaws to her almost-perfect package, even if it didn’t exactly make her the “feminist” ideal. Furthermore, she wasn’t considered a real warrior. She clearly lacked experience.

I applaud the female director Patty Jenkins for bringing a female superhero to the screen, though. And she is exactly what all the other heroes onscreen have been: balls of power with dim wit. Very few heroes are depicted as intelligent creatures. She was treated equally, and that’s all we can ask for.

If there was one area Wonder Woman delivered on, it was on the battlefield. Sure, she’s stupid. But she’s not afraid to charge head-first into bullets and bombs. She shows no restraint or hesitation when she slices her sword through a man she assumed to be Ares (the villain she believes is responsible for causing WWI).

Still, her whole voyage was lead by her naivety.

I also wasn’t too convinced of her romance with American spy Steve. To me, from the first encounter, the romance seemed to be developing, which made it feel forced. It was bettered developed than the romances in other super hero flicks, but that doesn’t mean it was the best. I’m not one for romantic flicks much anyway, but the few that I’ve gotten into seemed to develop slower over time and moved about unexpectedly. I’ll take the Hermoine and Ron coupling for example (though I’m still team Harry x Hermoine). Hermoine and Ron’s relationship developed over the course of the series. Yes, it took several sequels to build them up, but for me, that’s how long it should take. In that sense, the romance didn’t have to stand in the way of the main plot and story. I can’t jump on the bandwagon of a love-at-first encounter match nor can I side with a story where romance becomes the center (or even a secondary plot) without the proper time.

Despite the hang-ups, Wonder Woman was still an enjoyable time. I particularly liked the scene where Diana (aka Wonder Woman) hopped out of the trenches, sword and shield in, and faced the guns firing at her, repelling bullets with her wrist guards along the way, too. Even though this part was in the trailer, something about this scene on the big screen brought out the best of the character: her determination and her strength.

Throughout it all, Wonder Woman also showed remarkable compassion for humankind, even when they showed more flaws than she expected. She was outspoken and spunky in her own way. She doesn’t have the slut-shaming mentality, so she doesn’t care if her skirts are above her knees, which made us all seem small-minded in comparison. She truly had a broader view of the world, even if the world wasn’t as idealistic as she’d assumed throughout the story.

Still, as “compassionate” as she was, she was blind to who her real enemies were and failed to truly investigate the situation around her. For example, I wish she could’ve talked to her indigenous friend a little more. So captured by her boyfriend-to-be Steve, it’s almost as if she ignored her comrades’ words regarding how Steve’s people wiped out tribes of other people. Once I’d heard of that, as a warrior, I would’ve immediately questioned Steve about it and that would’ve lead me to truly question the honesty and integrity of humankind as a whole. It could’ve opened a gate to more knowledge about humans and brought deeper truths to the screen.

But I forgot, Diana is stupid. And they obviously wanted us to continue to see Steve as tender and handsome. So, I guess some issues will just have to be tossed to the back.

And then her “compassion” did not compel her to spare a General’s life, even after she was repeatedly told that individual might not be who she thought he was. Heck, she failed to truly understand Ares, the God she was seeking. Her whole moral character seemed to sit only on the surface.

If you want to turn your brain off to real history, but you enjoy a slice of it with some mythological tales, lots of explosions, action scenes, and a strong female kicking butt, you’ll love Wonder Woman. If super hero movies are your taste, you’re in for a treat. It was a good movie, but for me, it could’ve been better.

I give this an 8/10.

Bratz dolls VS. Feminists: “Oversexualized” or “Empowering”?

16 May

Lately, I’ve been going back¬†into the history of Bratz, where Bratz experienced a tremendous rise in the toy industry and where Bratz took a tumble downhill. As a major Bratz fan, I still have a difficult time coming to terms with the fact that these dolls are not going to be produced anymore, that they are discontinued, and that they are no longer popular. In 2016, MGA, the owners of the Bratz doll brand, announced that they were discontinuing the Bratz dolls after a less-than-glorious comeback from their hiatus the year before.

As a way to find a sense of closure, I’ve been researching all kinds of news articles on the Bratz, news that have been out since 2001. I’ve been going back into my own “archives” both online and offline.

In a former article, I reviewed what happened to the Bratz in the last couple of years, based on all the information I have: Bratz Are Back Again in 2015: What Happened to the Bratz?

While flipping and clicking through everything, I’ve come to realize that feminists, moms, and Bratz dolls were never far a part from each other, but¬†feminists and moms¬†never really met eye to eye with the Bratz. It doesn’t surprise me that “soccer” moms are against the Bratz. Their name is “Bratz” after all. Parents may have heard the name and assumed that the dolls encouraged their girls to rebel against their parents.

However, I’ve found the Bratz to be a very empowering line of dolls in totality. That’s why it shocks me to read about so many feminists who are really against this doll brand. In fact, many feminists have openly been against the Bratz since debut. Therefore, I’ve concluded that the details that go into the Bratz’s¬† recent decline in popularity have¬†at least a little¬†to do with active feminists. How so?

Before I get into the details, let’s review how the Bratz came to be, how I got interested in the Bratz, and how (and why) they got so popular in the first place.

Bratz: The Urban Fashionistas

Carter Bryant was the original designer of the Bratz dolls who came up with the idea for the dolls after looking at a Steve Madden shoe ad in Seventeen magazine, photographed by Bernard Belair.

Bryant liked the “cartoonish” yet stylish look of the ad and wanted to create dolls with a similar appeal. To put it simply, Bratz were never meant to look realistic, but they were going to be displayed wearing the latest teen fashions.

Carter Bryant has also shared with me that he was inspired from the urban and punk scenes he always loved. He is an edgy man at heart and wanted to bring that to the Bratz doll line. When he brought the dolls to MGA, Issac Larian, the CEO, was skeptical at first, thinking their heads and feet were weird. But when Larian showed the dolls to his daughter, Jasmin Larian, she thought they were cool. The Bratz doll Yasmin was named after her.

At the Turn of the 21st Century, tweens (kids between the ages of 10 and 14) lost interest in dolls. With pop music spreading around the world, many girls were growing too “old” to be interested in toys (though I’d say it’s worse now than it was then, now that there’s this emphasis on smartphones and tablets). The doll market was experiencing a decline back then just as it is now. Many doll companies were interested in turning the new pop culture trend around in their favor. They wanted to make “up-to-date” dolls specifically for tweens so they could bring them back into the market.

Barbie was dominating the toy market, but by the 1990s, she was considered babyish.

Barbie was also criticized by minority ethnic groups for “lacking diversity” and outshining her more “diverse” friends. To many, Barbie was a sign of “White Supremacy”. After all, she was invented at a very tense racial time (1959).

Since the 1970s, feminist writers began examining entertainment designed for girls. Barbie came under fire several times throughout generations of feminists.

Feminists have been wanting to encourage self-love since then. Barbie was criticized for having unrealistic body proportions (like bigger than average boobs, a tiny waist, super thin lips, full hair, tiny feet, etc), body features that didn’t seem realistically attainable for every woman.

Bratz wasn’t the answer to everything missing in the doll industry (according to feminists), but they did solve the “diversity” problem.

The Bratz were released wearing “urban” fashions, a huge trend among youths at the Turn of the 21st Century since the rise in popularity of African American hip-hop and rap artists and labels in the 1990s. White people had also jumped on the urban trends (thanks to groups like New Kids on the Block and Backstreet Boys). Bratz had bigger lips than the average doll. They wore the “latest trends”, which often included cropped tops, baggy pants, and mini skirts, as well as tons of makeup. The dolls came in a variety of different “colors” and hair textures even if their actual ethnic backgrounds were left ambiguous.

I was a tween at the time of the Bratz debut in 2001, the target demographic. I was one of the children that stopped playing with dolls at 10 years old (thought I still liked to collect them as a hobby). I would say books, video games, anime, and internet consumed my life rather than pop stars and MTV. I still liked certain doll brands, like Magic Attic Club and American Girl, but I never played with the actual dolls. I mostly bought the books, not the dolls. I completely lost interest in the regular Barbie doll (though Generation Girl Dolls peaked my interest for a short time).

To me, as someone who lost interest in playing with Barbies at 10, Bratz were amazing. As an African American, I was happy to see dolls with full lips, full thick hair, and urban fashions commonly worn in my own black community (and not the cookie-cutter suburbanite outfits I often saw on my Barbies as a kid in the 1990s).

That’s why it was perplexing to find that most of the articles kept describing the dolls as “oversexualized” and “materialistic”. I couldn’t understand it at 11 years old. “What’s so sexual about them?” I kept asking myself. Their clothes were cool and urban to me, not sexual. I couldn’t see how baggy pants and beanie caps (included in the 1st edition of Bratz) were even “sexual” in nature. The dolls carried a lot of sass and attitude. They seemed bold and confident to me. The quality was impeccable and very realistic at the time. If anything, these dolls were gender-defying for me! They were not prim, perfect, pink, and prissy. They said “So what!” to fashion norms and boundaries that told girls to be “presentable, lest you tempt the manfolk”.

It truly surprised me to see so many feminists set against the Bratz.

As I got older, I began to understand the feminists’ concerns a little more than I did as a child, but I still don’t agree with many of their assumptions about the Bratz.

Let me give you a little history about myself.

I’m not your typical doll collector. I’m not only an adult, I’m an androgynous tomboy. As a child, I was a complete tomboy. My parents, particularly my mother, would often dress me in dresses, but she was very strict about how I should eat when dressed up, how I had to wear each article of clothing perfectly, and she¬†schooled me on the people I had to please (particularly friends and neighbors). I got verbally (and sometimes physically) assaulted at times for wearing the wrong shoes with the wrong outfit. As I got older, because of these experiences, I began to reject social femininity. When I got more control of my fashion choices, I made sure to avoid dresses and skirts as much as possible. ¬†I became mostly uninterested in clothes and makeup. I prefer to dress comfortably. I became convinced that “femininity” was all about conforming socially, pleasing others, and dressing the part in every situation. Social femininity was translated as “threatening” to me.

So it might make people wonder how I could be interested in such a fashion-conscious doll line like the Bratz.

As I mentioned before, I didn’t see what many of these news journalists and feminists saw in the Bratz. When I first saw the 2001 1st Edition Bratz, I saw their art versions, which displayed four girls in urbanized fashions in the sickest artwork ever. They all wore baggy jeans and sporty crop tops! If anything they looked like tomboys with makeup on!

The clash of femininity and tomboyishness made me feel thrilled and excited. Bratz did renew my interest in fashion, but not as a way to please or impress others. Bratz made me realize that fashion could be used to express oneself, to express ideas, to express art. Bratz inspired me to take my boyish looks to the next level which was why I got interested in different androgynous looks. I became unafraid to look different. I became unafraid of the controversy.

I was an outcast in middle school¬†and high school. I was different. I was not only a tomboy, but a Black girl who enjoyed world music (like Japanese and Turkish music), among many genres including rock and roll, and enjoyed anime and video games. I never dressed up, so everyone thought I was weird. I looked like a 10 year old because I was so petite and never did my hair in the latest styles (which made me look even younger). I wore glasses and didn’t care for contacts. I would wear the same clothes year after year. I didn’t care, as long as they were clean. Many people thought I was a lesbian because I didn’t date in high school. Most of the guys thought I was too skinny to be attractive anyway. I didn’t have curves. When they discovered I wasn’t a lesbian, that confused them¬†even more.

When Bratz were introduced, they were just the kind of thing I was looking for in the world. The Bratz not only renewed my interest in fashion but in the fashion doll industry in general. The dolls also helped me come to terms with my own individuality.

I always loved dolls, even in high school. I didn’t play with them; I just liked collecting them and taking pictures. I collected a lot of 18″ dolls mostly. After the Bratz came out, I was looking for fashion dolls like them. There were few dolls like them though.

I wasn’t ashamed of liking dolls, though I’m certain many teenagers would’ve been. I think after dealing with being forced¬†to fit standards as a child, I had this counter-culturalist in me just waiting to break free. I didn’t think I was feminine at all, and so I rejected it in myself and in others.

Even though they were just dolls, Bratz helped me understand myself. My interest in them revealed something about myself. I realized I hadn’t lost touch with my femininity or my own sense of woman, I just had a different kind and that was okay. I realized that there were many ways to define¬† “being a woman”.

Bratz helped me at a difficult time, when I felt like I had to fit all of these standards. Unlike me, Bratz could do whatever they wanted to do. They had the courage and bravery, despite the backlash, to just be. It was obvious by their outrageous fashions, their exciting movies, and strong music that they just didn’t care. Much of their music still inspires me, like Bratz Forever Diamondz “Yasmin”‘s “Hang On”.

To me, the Bratz had a very strong empowering message of teaching girls to be confident and comfortable with who they are, no matter what anyone says.

When I saw their outfits, though, they seemed to wear mostly costumes rather than “regular” fashions. They reflected the latest styles with a twist. I was impressed with the detail, the various accessories, and the quality (hair that felt soft and thick, jeans made from actual jean material, etc), as well as the creative and bold themes.

Bratz also set many trends and broke many fashion rules. I liked Bratz because they reflected my own liberation from society’s norms. And at the time, they were the only dolls doing this.

Nowadays, there are many dolls empowering girls in many different ways. Many dolls out today have been inspired from the Bratz. Still, I have a special place in my heart for these dolls because they encouraged me to be bold and different, to be innovative and creative, and to think outside of the box.

My other favorite part about Bratz was that a blonde white girl wasn’t at the center. Don’t get me wrong, I grew up with Barbies, too, which I’ll go into further later. But Bratz offered me something I never could let go of, something I could relate to more personally.

Bratz had a variety of different characters eventually, of many shades, with most being dolls of color. I was so happy when MGA released Felicia, an actual dark-skinned doll that was designed beautifully and stylish! Many other Black characters have been in the Bratz franchise as well.

Sasha looks gorgeous in her “natural” hair!

Even though the Bratz dolls came in many shades, Black and Latino culture initially influenced much of the doll brand. From the styles, to the music (as you could tell above), to the full lips and thick hair, down to the urban fashion, Bratz were meant to appeal to a wider ethnic demographic.

In the early 2000s, gangster rap was just sizzling down. Many people outside of the black community (and even some of the old-school generation within) looked down on “urban” fashions and felt it represented “deviant” culture. This is partially why Bratz carried even more controversy at debut. Many people compared them to “urban thugs”. But most of the fashion was widely accepted among black and Latino/Hispanic cultures.

The more rebellious Bratz appeared, the more I loved them. Did it mean I was a¬†bad girl and that I didn’t want to follow any rules? Of course not. But I did recognize that I don’t have to let others define me or decide the type of clothing I needed to wear socially.¬†The Bratz showed me that¬†I can represent alternatives in fashion and let that make its own statement.

Of course, we do have to consider some things socially when picking our clothes, but adding a little creativity and imagination to our wardrobe also adds to our individuality (along with our personalities). Bratz taught me that.

Eventually, Bratz brought in wild lines like Tokyo-ago-go, Space Angelz, Rock Angelz, Pretty N Punk, and many others to the mix. That just gave me more courage to speak out and embrace my individuality.

Some Feminists’ Issues with the Bratz

It baffles me how many people don’t realize just how influential feminists and moms were when it came to the Bratz’s 2015 transformation and sudden decline. Yes, other factors contributed to the Bratz dolls’¬†decline in popularity (such as the ongoing court battles between Mattel, owners of Barbie,¬†and MGA, owners of Bratz). But the recent comeback, as well as the one in 2010,¬†was obviously specifically¬†“watered down”¬†to appeal to moms and feminists, which didn’t go over so well with many of the fans of the brand.

The moment MGA released the first batch of dolls in 2015, MGA shared a facebook post called¬†New Bratz dolls Tell Girls ‚ÄúIt‚Äôs Good to be Yourself‚ÄĚ. The article states that the dolls give a message that “won’t make parents cringe”. MGA must have realized that moms and feminists didn’t approve of the original Bratz and they wanted to ease the criticisms. Women have a lot of power and influence in the retail industry, believe it or not. MGA posted that article to show how Bratz have become more “innocent” in the last couple of years. They tried to put less makeup on the dolls, they made the outfits cuter, and made the eyes bigger so they wouldn’t look sassy or like they have “attitude”. It still didn’t work. Feminists still felt they were “underwhelming“. All it did was make the fans less interested in them and made the feminists criticize them even more.

The few feminists that are/were supportive of the Bratz have mostly been supportive of Bratz’s ethnic diversity and “ethnic” features (such as large lips, thick hair, and slanted eyes).

But most of these feminists overlook any of the positive regarding these dolls.

After reviewing many articles from feminists about the Bratz, I’ve learned that they take several issues with them (issues I find confusing):

  1. Their usage of makeup
  2. Their “sexualized” clothes and features
  3. Their unrealistic body proportions
  4. Their name
  5. Their “materialism”
  6. Their slogan

These Bratz dolls got an amazing feminist makeover

Tree Change

This artist is giving Bratz an awesome feminist Makeover

Bratz Is Not Happy That I Said Their Dolls Do Molly 

The Unsluttification Of Bratz?

Over-sexed and over here: The ‚Äėtarty‚Äô Bratz Doll

New Bratz dolls Tell Girls ‚ÄúIt‚Äôs Good to be Yourself‚ÄĚ

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-411266/Over-sexed-The-tarty-Bratz-Doll.html#ixzz4gPS3FGyI

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Now, many of these comparisons are made right alongside the Barbie doll. As mentioned before, feminists’ first gripe with the fashion doll industry came with Barbie. Barbie has been pretty influential in girls’ lives and she has been an icon of fashion and materialism. She has been a staple of femininity for even adult women. Many feminists have examined how Barbie influenced girls and were afraid the Bratz, who seemed to carry some of the same “problems”, would influence girls much the same way.

But here’s where I think some of these feminists miss the mark.

Yes, sometimes girls often imitate their dolls in various ways and grow up to be inspired by these dolls. However, from my experience working with children and being a child during the Barbie and Bratz era, I would definitely say it depends on the context and the way the dolls are presented. It also depends on one’s own life experiences. Barbie and Bratz gave me two different vibes and that influenced my perception of the dolls,¬†myself, and womanhood in general.

I don’t think Barbie and Bratz give a similar message at all. I think the feminists that think they do only know that the Bratz are considered fashion dolls, but know nothing else about them otherwise. These feminists may have seen one or two lines with the Bratz in more “conventional” fashion, but more than likely they didn’t dig deeper than that.

Let me explain why Bratz and Barbie are so very different and how this affects each of their messages to girls.

Bratz Vs. Barbie

I will share the history of both brands a little more because I believe the very inspiration behind the dolls shows how each was meant to affect girls.

As mentioned before, Bratz was designed to represent a “cartoonish” and yet stylish look, while also reflecting underground subcultures in fashion. Their inspiration came from an ad in a teen magazine.

Barbie was thought up by Ruth Handler, a woman who often watched her daughter Barbara pretend her paper dolls were adults. Ruth saw an opening in the market for adult-designed dolls rather than the usual baby dolls and paper dolls available.

When visiting Germany, she saw the Bild Lilli Doll, based off the popular German comic strip character. Bild Lilli was a beautiful bombshell woman who worked but was not above using men to suit her aims. The comic strip and the dolls were designed for adults, but kids would often take the dolls and mix and match her fashion.

Arguably, Barbie is the inspiration for all fashion dolls that came afterwards, so all fashion dolls will be watched by skeptics. But the intention behind the doll is significant when it comes to the art and presentation of the doll.

Barbie was designed to be an adult figure for girls to imagine and aspire to be. Initially, she was presented as an ideal adult female figure (more so from the White upper-class perspective).

I can honestly tell you, as a 6 and 7 year old, that was exactly what I thought of when I played with Barbie. Barbie may not look totally realistic in her proportions, but she looks realistic enough from a child’s perspective, and she looks realistic enough for women to “aspire” to “obtain” her look. Sure, her breasts are bigger than the average woman’s, especially on someone that thin, but breasts like that didn’t seem impossible to me as a child. In fact, Barbie looked like many of the blonde women I saw on Baywatch (which I often caught glimpses of on tv in the 1990s).

Thus, it was obvious in my mind’s eye that Barbie fit a perceived beauty standard.

In my mind, Barbie¬†had several differences from me. She was blonde, tall, white, and wore clothes only the wealthy could wear. I never aspired to be blonde and white like her, however she reminded me of all the adult women around me. I didn’t see too many women who deviated from the “norm” socially as a child. I would always imagine doing what my mother did when playing with my Barbies.

When I played with Barbie, I didn’t see myself, and that influenced how I felt about her as I got older. As I got older, I saw that I was not growing into an adult like Barbie. I began to disconnect with the doll. I saw my mother and everything she was: a glamorous working woman who could do anything she put her mind to. ¬†I didn’t see much substance in Barbie at all, though. And that may imply that I really didn’t see much substance in the women around me. It implies it and it is true.

However, even though I couldn’t relate to her, I admired her pink empire. I longed to live her wealthy, high-class life, a life my broke Black behind would have a difficult time achieving.

In the 1990s, she came with literally everything. But she had no “real” set personality, no real individuality. All of her friends were just ethnic versions of her that you could hardly find in stores. They literally often wore the same outfits as Barbie, though it would sometimes be in a different color.

Yea, her hair seems nicer in the picture, but the actual doll is not the same!

As a kid, I wanted to be more “successful” like her, but I knew that I was too different to want to be like her completely. I wasn’t girly enough to pull of being a Barbie. Many of my other friends wanted to have straight, blonde hair like Barbie. They wanted the perfect body when they grew up, like she had. They wanted to drive pink cars like Barbie. They wanted to live in mansions like she did. They wanted a handsome boyfriend like Ken. Many of them ended up doing those things in the future, perfectly fitting the social package. I can amusingly say that they often look like clones of one another, trying to outdo each other when it comes to the latest trends.

Bratz, in contrast, never had a body to “aspire” to obtain. They literally looked like cartoon characters. I couldn’t imagine anyone wanting heads and feet as big as theirs. In fact, big heads and big feet are normally considered ugly in America! The Bratz made it look cool. As someone who had big feet, I appreciated that. But I never heard anyone “aspire” to have a big head or big feet like them. It became clear that their¬†proportions were not designed to fit an “ideal” but rather they literally were made to be disproportionate.

Sure, they were skinny. But their breasts were not large. Even being skinny, no kid would honestly think their bodies are normal enough to pay attention. My friends and I would always make fun of the Bratz heads and feet. We didn’t sigh with envy, that’s for certain. But the outfits were super creative. It was hard not to anticipate what they would think of next.

Each doll was different in some way from the other.¬†Not only were there dolls of various colors, but each doll had their own wicked fashion sense and personality. They were very individual and not outshined by the “white” doll. The four core dolls were treated equally at debut, which I appreciated.

The Bratz were not designed to fit the usual beauty standard. They were meant to reflect the underground cultures, cultures that have developed a sense of community to help them cope with being an outcast. Therefore, in my mind, Bratz produced the opposite response of wanting to “imitate” and rather encouraged individuals like me to be “themselves” and strike out boldly. At 11, I was thinking that if each Bratz girl looks different, and has her own passion for fashion, that means all of us are different. We don’t all have to look and be the same. It encouraged me to find my own unique sense of style, not be the doll I saw in front of me (unlike with Barbie).

Barbie’s other media entertainment, like her movies, showed her as a gorgeous, glamorous lady who could do anything. Bratz movies showed four individual sassy teens who liked to hang out, dress up at times, dabble in their hobbies, and go on amazing adventures. The Bratz never seemed as shallow as Barbie.

Bratz Boyz were a stark contrast to Ken. Though they are all fashion dolls, the Bratz boyz weren’t just accessories¬†for the girls. They had their own lines, several individual¬†ethnic appearances¬†and personalities, many different hair textures and styles, and just as much detail as the girls. Boys were not ashamed to admire them. Girls saw more than just boyfriends in these dolls. In fact, only one of the main characters “crush” on a Bratz Boy. But that boy has his own interests, his own personality, and his own style.

With the differences settled, let’s¬†address these issues feminists have with the Bratz directly.

“Too Much Makeup”

Feminists across the board have been very critical of the Bratz’s overuse of makeup.

Some feminists believe that the Bratz have perfectly made-up faces, which teaches girls that they have to wear makeup to look perfect.

Among feminists, makeup in general has been controversial. Feminists are determined to break the social expectation that encourages girls to¬†be too interested in their appearance. Unlike men, women are often expected to appear perfect, without flaws. This has been linked to women¬†being treated like objects rather than creatures of “substance”.¬†Many jobs around the world won’t hire women or will fire women if they don’t wear makeup. Feminists have been pushing for women to embrace their natural features and colors without a “mask”. They have been pushing for businesses to remove the makeup standards/policies or equalize them (pushing men to also wear more makeup).

One look at the first Bratz dolls, and a feminist would definitely¬†think the Bratz’s¬†usage of makeup¬†further encourages¬†these harsh makeup standards in young ladies. As someone who doesn’t wear makeup, I completely understand this concern.

On the other hand, feminists also preach against body-policing and believe that women should be free to indulge in whatever they enjoy. If a woman truly enjoys makeup, does that make her a product of the patriarchal system and less feminist?

Some feminists recognize that makeup can be used artistically. Many feminists believe that if women truly enjoy makeup, and don’t look at it as a necessary tool to hide their “flaws”, then it isn’t necessarily anti-feminist.

Some feminists don’t think women should be controlled¬†to either extreme considering some companies also control how much makeup a woman wears, which isn’t fair either.

Still, there are feminists out there who believe a real feminist would not support makeup at all and they often do shame women who wear it.

Admittedly, Bratz are designed with a ton of makeup on. However, I think it would be unfair to compare Bratz’s use of makeup to¬†other fashion dolls’ usage, like¬†Barbie’s,¬†or any other¬†usage of makeup that is deemed designed to make someone look¬†“perfect”.

When looking at Barbie, for example, Barbie’s “makeup” has consistently been painted on her face to give her the ideal¬†packaged look¬†for every generation. She is literally considered “gorgeous” with it on. She has the perfectly colored cheeks, darkened eyelashes, and perfectly lined¬†lipstick. Her face is clear of blemishes, moles, freckles, and any other “imperfections” she could possibly have. Her eyebrows are perfectly arched and tweaked. Even the best makeup artist can’t get a real girl’s face that beat. Barbie is plastic perfection. Any girl who admires her will want to be plastic perfection as well. Her made-up beauty fits a conventional standard, yet no woman can ever really look like her 100%. Real women get older. Real women have wrinkles, freckles, beauty marks, moles, scraggly eyebrows, and all the other distinct features. And yet, real women do make themselves up to look like Barbie all the time.

Bratz’s use of makeup is/was entirely different.

For starters, the makeup wasn’t designed to hide any “imperfections”. The Bratz doll Yasmin had a mole under her left eye. Her makeup didn’t hide that mole. Other Bratz dolls had moles and freckles, too.

Though, admittedly, a lot¬†of the Bratz makeup was polished, there were many times their makeup was experimental and could hardly ever really be called “perfect”.

Take Bratz Space Angelz Cloe for example.

What is perfect about her makeup? Nothing at all! Her lipstick is asymmetrical, hardly what I would call “designed to appeal”. It would be fair to argue that anyone who wears their makeup like this is looking for attention, but it’s hardly the sexual or attractive kind. While Barbie’s makeup was clearly created so she could look pleasing¬†out in public, this makeup is hardly what I would call public-friendly.

Any child who imitated this would end up getting stared down by the public, and maybe even teased and mocked. I’m sure most children were/are aware of that. But it’s clear that the makeup is different and unique. Keeping that in mind, it’s easy to see that the Bratz are giving a different message with their makeup. They are showing just how artistic and creative it can be, even if it isn’t necessarily attractive! They are showing that it’s okay to do something different with makeup! It definitely doesn’t give the message that girls¬†have to wear makeup to appear normal. In fact, the above doll line made makeup seem very unusual, almost abnormal. Even makeup’s rules were bent by the Bratz dolls!

Much of the Bratz’s other makeup was used to match up with the theme or subculture they represented. Pretty N Punk, for example, represented punk culture. Many punk princesses wear dark makeup to show their edge and fierceness. They don’t wear it to appear “attractive” or sexy or perfect. Male rock stars often wear eyeliner and black lipstick, too, and I’m sure it’s not to appear more attractive and perfect.

Most guys might think these styles are cool, but hardly any of them would consider these girls “bombshells”. It’s easy to tell that their makeup was purely designed to better make a statement rather than to appear perfect, without imperfections.

Again, Bratz used makeup in a variety of ways, even in more conventional ways. But because of their constant changes, they never managed to give the impression that they wore makeup to please others. They never gave the message that a girl had to wear makeup to appear attractive. They literally seemed to just be having fun with it. As a tween, I liked that.

Bratz may not have been the fresh-faced, innocent-looking, demure dolls mommies wanted, but they weren’t exactly anti-feminist either.

By feminists criticizing the Bratz usage of makeup, it’s as if they are placing a rule on who gets to be a feminist. So, are they implying women who enjoy trying different makeup tricks¬†aren’t feminists? This leads to greater questions about modern feminism.

Sure, makeup was created by men and is a reminder of the “patriarchy”. But so is everything in our societies. Does that mean makeup is bad and can’t be used for positive and creative purposes? Absolutely not!

Overall, I’m not sure where some of these feminists are going when they attack the¬†usage of makeup on these dolls. I think most of them are purely ignorant about the brand.

Bratz Are “Over-sexualized”

All the articles I’ve read from feminists, especially from Jezebel, have said that the Bratz are “hyper-sexualized” dolls. What exactly makes a doll sexualized? Short skirts? Cropped tops? Makeup? Pouty Lips? Glossy eyes?

And if they do, what exactly makes these things sexualized?

They are only sexualized when people sexualize them. To say that a doll with a short skirt is sexualized is indirectly saying a woman who wears a short skirt is sexualizing herself.

That would go against most feminists’ mantra: “My clothing is not my consent”.

Haven’t we gone beyond policing a woman’s attire and attributing her wardrobe to sexual and physical attention from the opposite sex? So why is it condemned when dolls reflect just that attitude?

Arguing about dolls being over-sexualized may be more appropriate for Barbie to a certain degree because of the “intent” of some of her lines. Most of her early attire is for the physical attention of her boyfriend Ken (though even she has moved beyond that point). Barbie has been a sex icon for most men for centuries. She was inspired by a “Call-Girl” doll, Bild Lilli, a doll meant for adults. Barbie has literally had lingerie lines. She has had “pregnant” dolls.

Barbie, sex icon

Sure, Pregnant Midge isn’t wearing a fitted¬†skirt and a lot of makeup. But she’s pregnant! This opens the doors to other controversial subjects that kids really aren’t mature enough to be exposed to (though children often witness their mothers pregnant all the time).

Barbie is meant to be a blonde, gorgeous adult woman who does “adult” things like have sex and get pregnant. And she allows girls to imagine their lives as “adult” women through playtime with her. Children who play with her are reinventing an adult lifestyle. Sometimes, this produces controversy.

But even with Barbie, should we police all of her fashion styles and attribute it solely to sex and seeking male attention? Not all of it.

If we want to talk about something being sexualized or “hyper-sexualized”, we have to consider the context of the lines the dolls are released in.

The Bratz, on the other hand, have never initiated a sexual response to anyone who played or collected them. The context of their clothing, the intent of their lines, have never been to produce a sexual response. They were intended for a tween and teen audience. They were meant to showcase the latest fashions and the most revolutionary styles out in the cultural world.

In fact, if you look up “Bratz as a sex icon” on Google, hardly anything¬†sexual comes up except these feminists’ articles! While Barbie has many photos of a sexual nature, Bratz don’t!

Most men do not see Bratz as sexually attractive. First off, their bodies are too disproportionate to even be considered “real”.

If you want to argue that Bratz’s skirts are too short, short enough to look like underwear, let’s consider the fact that Bratz hardly wore skirts in the past.

To me, the Bratz have mostly been presented as “fashionable”, not sexy. And if fashionable is considered sexy, women and men have a problem. Clothing itself is a problem. Taste and preference is a problem.

Dolls are designed to mimic the real world around us in some ways. If we don’t want dolls to mimic the styles we find “sexualized”, then we as women need to stop wearing makeup and fashionable clothes that are too sexualized. We need to go back to the point where our skirts were below the ankles and our collars were high. But feminists fought to move away from that point. Why? Because it was uncomfortable to walk in those long, horrible skirts. The collars were itchy and hot in the summer. And it didn’t stop women from being objectified or from being looked at as sex objects.

What is considered sexualized is subjective. In the above Bratz photos, I’m still trying to scan them for any hint of sex and I don’t understand it. Someone else may be able to spot it. If some of us, like myself, can’t spot it as easily, that means it’s not as “overt” as these feminists make it out to be.

Arguably, feminists come from all walks of life, from many different religious and moral backgrounds. Some feminists are Muslim or Hindu and believe in a certain form of modesty. But there are many village women out in the world who often go topless or wear crop tops, and it isn’t considered morally indecent. It’s mostly considered practical in the heat!

If we can honor that women come from all walks of life, we should also be able to understand that the Bratz represent those women that actually enjoy using fashion as a form of self-expression and connecting with group culture, especially sub-cultures. We should understand that the Bratz wear their short skirts and crop tops and think nothing of it.

The short skirts that they wear are simply fashion statements. The Bratz’s legs seem freer, which is why the Bratz give off the image that they are liberated from societal norms. But their lines are hardly ever to cater to male or female sexual fantasies.

The Bratz do often wear cropped tops. But cropped tops aren’t always worn for sexual attention. If we’re going to say that, we might as well condemn every woman who wears one in the summer, on the beach, or at home relaxing. Bikinis should be outlawed then. They’re revealing. If that’s the case, return to the 1800s idea of “fashion”¬†when bathing suits weighed 8 lbs!

But women will not regress. Women have many reasons for wearing the fashions they wear and it is not always to seek male attention. Feminists are the ones who’ve educated the world on that. So why can’t they accept the Bratz dolls for wearing it?

The Bratz’s cropped tops are no different from the ones sported by empowering and feminist female pop stars and figures today.

And yet, most feminists’ honor these women as strong and empowering influences on girls. Are Alessia Cara and Pink seeking male attention with their cropped tops?

It’s true that fashion sends a message to others about us, even if it doesn’t tell others¬†everything. However, if we look at the context of the lines produced, we can clearly see the dolls’ intended nature, even if they’re wearing cropped tops and mini skirts. From the Bratz, we can obviously see they are fierce, independent, and revolutionary dolls that simply want to take fashion to the next outrageous level.

When we look at Bratz fashion lines like Tokyo-ago-go or Pretty N’ punk, what message are the lines sending?

Bratz Tokyo a-go-go tells me that the Bratz are ready for a wild and fun Tokyo adventure, not a date with a hot guy. Their cropped tops don’t hint at any sexual message in this line. Pretty N Punk tells me that the Bratz are ready to listen to some rock music and party at a rock club.

Neither of these lines give the message that they want a male’s attention or that they even want to look sexy at all.

Many of the feminists that complain about the Bratz often complain about anything “too revealing”. If you wear skinny¬†jeans, you’re sexualizing yourself to some of these feminists!

That’s why they were on my list of 7 Feminists That Make Me Cringe.

These feminists also associate makeup with sexualization. I think makeup makes people look older, especially children, but that doesn’t mean it’s specifically for looking older and hotter to the opposite sex. There is kiddie makeup out in the world that’s toned down and it’s a lot of fun to share makeup moments with mom. Spa dates aren’t sexualizing to a child.

Face paint can be a form of makeup as well. Face paint isn’t sexualizing. Bratz have often used makeup that way.

What really kills me about these feminists’ accusations is how they equate “features” to sexualization. I find it interesting how “big lips” and “glossy eyes” are associated with sexualization. Bratz have a vague “ethnic” look about them. They were meant to relate, again, to a wider ethnic demographic.

But some of these feminists have associated the Bratz’s big lips and eyes with sexualization. What?

Black women have bigger lips than other races. Are they sexualizing themselves when they wear lip gloss or lipstick on their lips? I think this goes back to a Eurocentric standard of modesty, where thin lips and big eyes are considered “innocent”, while full lips and almond-shaped eyes (more similar to other ethnic groups) are considered immodest and ugly.

I can understand how the Bratz could encourage thin-lip girls to get surgery just to blow their lips up. However, thin-lip dolls can just as easily encourage big-lip girls to get surgery to reduce their lips. I think the Bratz, who are widely looked at as unrealistic in form and design, make big heads, feet, and lips, once considered undesirable traits, more acceptable.

I grew up having big feet. Big feet run in my family. Many of the women in my family wear size 11. The smallest feet in my family have worn size 9! Most people have called me “long feet”. When the Bratz were released, I didn’t feel so bad about it. Their feet were obviously exaggerated though.

To me, the eyes showed attitude and confidence, not flirtation and sexuality. So if a woman glosses her eyes, she’s trying to flirt with someone? This contradicts everything feminists stand for!

 Unrealistic Bodies

Feminists have attacked dolls with skinny bodies for years. This is because many are afraid girls will strive to have unrealistic body weights, starving themselves or getting surgery just to appear skinny.

Bratz have very skinny arms and legs.

I can understand why feminists fear this. After all, many people desired to have Barbie’s figure after being exposed to her. However, we have to also analyze what the standard of beauty was before Barbie was released. Being slim, blonde, with thin lips, perky breasts, and blue eyes were always standards of beauty since the 1950s and 1960s. The media played it up. Barbie just reflected that standard in a perfect doll form.

http://www.thefrisky.com/photos/human-barbies-slideshow/barbie-valeria/

Bratz’s body design never reflected a particular standard of beauty from the very beginning, skinny or not. No one ever desired to have large feet and huge heads (at least in the west) with a skinny body. It never has been an ideal (at least in the west) and never will be.

If we look at Bratz as a doll brand separately from Barbie, objectively, Bratz don’t look realistic enough to begin with to cause children to want to look like them in real life. That’s like assuming little girls would want to look like a Powerpuff Girl just because they like the cartoon. Children are smarter than that. They know when something looks unrealistic.

Barbie and Jem dolls had more realistic appearances, appearances that seemed to fit media standards, so I can understand how individuals could strive to look like them. Bratz dolls have larger than life heads with huge feet. They look like they walked out of carnival fun house mirrors.

If you’re looking to bring body politics into the Bratz world, you’ve got a few¬†things to consider.

First off,¬† keeping in mind their cartoonish look, they aren’t supposed to have realistic bodies. They are supposed to look weird and sort of funny.

Second, you have to consider what kids see when they look at dolls that obviously look disproportionate. I think children get the same vibe from these dolls that they do from characters in¬†My Little Pony. Humans don’t have purple and pink skin, so we can’t be like the Equestria Girls. That’s the vibe I got as an 11 year old when it came to Bratz. In fact, I thought it was cool that they looked like funny, but edgy cartoon characters. Being skinny was not even a thought. I’m skinny, but their type of “skinny” was like watching Anamaniacs¬†characters walk around.

Therefore, it’s simple to conclude that their “skinny” bodies do not honestly matter because the bodies aren’t mean to reflect real bodies at all. They could’ve easily had thick bodies with extremely small heads and feet. It would still look like figures in a fun house mirror, not a real body representing real figures.

The only things the Bratz mimic about humans are their fashion, accessories, hobbies, and personalities. Just like cartoon characters.

Please don’t come and tell me that Gumball toys, based off of the cartoon, make kids want to become clouds, cacti, and fish. Please. Those characters obviously look strange. The Bratz are more similar to them. Kids obviously know that the Bratz bodies aren’t normal and they recognize that they would get teased if they looked that way.

It’s not the same with Barbie or other fashion dolls like her, like Jem. If kids looked like them, they would be “praised” by beauty-conscious individuals.

“Bratz” for a name

Moms may have more of a problem with the name than feminists, but a few feminists have expressed their disdain for the name as well.

Sure, a “brat” is someone who is usually depicted as spoiled, misbehaved, and demanding. It doesn’t sound pleasant over all.

But considering Da Brat was one of my favorite female rappers in the 1990s, I didn’t have a problem with it. Like Da Brat, the name seemed designed to represent their urban, tough, and sassy attitude. It reflected their nonconforming nature. To me, Bratz represented individuality and the beauty of diversity (in style, ethnicity, and interests). The name just made their sass pop.

Da Brat took gangsta to a whole new level with her tomboyish looks!

Again, I can see how this makes the former generation uneasy. After all, they’re still getting used to gay marriage. They wouldn’t be used to a name like “Bratz” being used more positively. To the older generation, nonconformity is dangerous.

But as advocates of nonconformity, it shocks me that there are so many feminists who are so against the Bratz, name and all. I get that we want our little girls to be pure, wholesome, and solid citizens in society. But there should also be room for girls to be bold, innovative, expressive, and revolutionary. I think hijacking the name Brats, adding the “z”, and the halo is the definition of revolutionary and innovative.

Their Emphasis on Materialism

Bratz came with hundreds of accessories and clothes throughout their run. In many of their movies and in their TV show, they are often depicted shopping for outfits for each occasion.

This leads many feminists to believe that the Bratz encourage materialism.

I believe that, as humans, things are apart of our life. Sometimes, things have significant meaning in our lives. In many cultures, family heirlooms are passed through the family and they end up having personal meaning.

Of course, the Bratz’s accessories aren’t as meaningful as a family heirloom, but their items do reflect items we use or see in real life. It’s kind of cool to see miniature-sized items.

Material things are especially a part of being in the 1st world west. I do believe that our lives have been changed for the better by modern conveniences such as cell phones and tablets. I believe that makeup and fashion constantly updates, which says a lot about our culture, so people do spend a lot of money to look good. But I don’t think these things make a person bad or materialistic.

A materialistic person is someone who only cares about material things and can’t live without those material things. The Bratz have shown many layers throughout their shows and movies. Though they do love to look good, they also enjoy their hobbies and connections with friends and family.

Sure, the Bratz have shown that they love to shop. However, they often emphasized being resourceful or finding innovative ways to get the items they wanted. Shopping in bargain bins or designing their own styles were just some of the things Bratz have been shown doing to express their resourcefulness.

The Bratz have shown interest in other things such as sports, music, science, animals, among other things. I don’t think they’ve emphasized material things all the time. Furthermore, I think their use of material things haven’t necessarily made them seem spoiled or privileged.

However, there is nothing wrong with wanting or owning nice things and trying to enhance the quality of your life by collecting something you love or enjoy.

I personally find the Bratz items to be fascinating and enjoyable for playtime. Who wants a doll that comes with nothing? Kids want to bring the world of their dolls to life with mini models. Mini items add to the overall experience each doll line brings.

If we want to question whether we are instilling materialistic values on our children, we shouldn’t be buying them expensive I-phones and tablets. I’ve seen worse behavior come from children demanding the latest technology than from the influence of a Bratz doll.

“Passion For Fashion”= Obsessed with Appearance

Feminists believe the slogan suggests that the Bratz are completely focused on outfits and nothing else substantial.

But isn’t it possible for an individual to be interested in fashion, as a practice, and still have substance?

And why can’t there be substance in fashion?

I can understand if people mostly focus on fashion just to be pleasing or attractive to others. But the Bratz use fashion for many purposes, mostly to showcase many ideas and subcultures, not just to look “pleasing” or “attractive”. Quite frankly, many of the Bratz’s outfits don’t look pleasing. Midnight Dance, Pretty N Punk, and Space Angelz are not really of the “pleasing” sort, though some of the Bratz’s outfits are.

It’s clear the the doll brand is emphasizing not being concerned with pleasing others. Bratz are encouraging individuals to enjoy fashion without fitting into fashion molds. Fashion doesn’t always equal attraction and attraction doesn’t always equal fashion.

I believe the one thing that is lacking among girls today is passion. Girls are not encouraged to be passionate about the things they like and want. They are encouraged to scatter their interests, which makes it difficult for them to master a practice. The Bratz encourage girls to be all about their passions, despite what others think.

I also find it odd for feminists to be against having a “passion for fashion” when we consider the fact that the majority of fashion designers are male!

Females are still in the minority

I think the Bratz’s kind of passion for fashion encourages¬†girls to be future designers and inventors. They don’t encourage girls just to buy clothes, but to also come up with their own ideas, to think outside of the box, and to express themselves in unique ways.

Using myself as an example, I don’t think I would’ve embraced my own gender expression as well had I not been introduced to the Bratz dolls. I don’t think I would’ve thought it was possible to see the individuality in fashion. I don’t think I would’ve found my own social identity.

When feminists began criticizing the Bratz, it affected the overall design of Bratz. MGA made things worse by dragging the brand into court with Barbie’s company Mattel, but feminists began growing in influence and they are the reason the latest Bratz design changed into something long-time fans could hardly respect or appreciate. MGA expressed that they wanted Bratz to have a “better image” for girls. Who made the Bratz image look bad? Why would they decide that the Bratz image wasn’t good enough? Someone had to be criticizing the brand in order for them to make that statement on Facebook. We have to acknowledge that feminists had some hand in the drastic change.

In my opinion, Bratz moved from a more ethnic look and vibe to a more “Eurocentric”-friendly design.

I know it seems like I learned a little too much from a line of dolls, and it may seem that I invest too much time appreciating these dolls, but that is partially why I have a special connection with this brand. I really feel if feminists’ had really and truly tried to understand¬†the meaning behind the Bratz, if they’d actually given them a chance, they would see that the Bratz are/were not too far off from feminists’ goals.

I just hope that when, or rather IF, the Bratz return, they will return to their original authentic design. I hope they truly produce something earth-shattering, regardless of what anyone says. Even if feminists disagree, for me, that’s truly empowering.

Leave me a comment and let me know what you think/thought about the Bratz controversy, feminists’ involvement in it, and the future of Bratz.

Ask the USA: “Why Do Americans Make A Big Deal About Race and Ethnicity?”

14 Apr

Hello readers!

Early in February, I introduced a new series to my blog called “Ask the USA”. In that introduction, I explained the purpose of this series, what inspired this series, and why I feel qualified to answer these questions (to the best of my ability, of course).

With that being said, one of the questions¬†I’ve been receiving from foreigners all over the internet is:

“Why Do Americans Make a Big Deal About Race and Ethnicity?”

Let’s just get one thing straight here. The USA is full of diverse people with diverse opinions. When it comes to race and ethnicity, people handle it differently here. Obviously, there are many people who don’t make a big deal about it. There are people who are actually prejudiced¬†and don’t care about it. There are people who make a big deal about race and ethnicity and see them as serious issues. There are people who use these issues to “progress” in life and use it as an excuse to do whatever it is they want.

But those who understand “prejudice” will act against it, right? That group may not include those of a minority racial group. It may include those of alternative¬†sexual orientations, minority religions, feminists who feel oppressed, and ethnic groups who live alternative lifestyles. With all of these people acting against prejudices of all kinds, they will obviously loudly act or speak against racism.

However, there are people in the above category (including those from a minority race) who really don’t care about racism either way.

Yet, we still have to acknowledge that people do make a big deal about these things.

So, let’s begin with a little history lesson…

How Did All of these Race Issues Begin?

America is still a young country in comparison to most other countries. It is exactly 238 years old (if we’re not counting when the settlers first arrived on the land and the thousands of years the Native Americans have lived on the land).

With that being said, many of the early issues that affected the USA still sort of affect us because they really didn’t happen that long ago (if you consider the fact our history is more recent than the histories of other nations).

This nation has a majority white population. But it wasn’t always that way. The Europeans did a lot to make sure it became that way. Their actions¬†left a lot of bitter and resentful people. Unlike other countries, the USA began as a melting pot, with a majority Native American ethnic group, and ended with white people as the majority. It was never homogeneous. Let’s start with the original people.

Native Americans

The ancestry of these people trace back to Asia, so they weren’t always on the land, but they discovered it first, thousands of years before Europeans arrived.

Before the Europeans arrived on the land, it was owned by the various indigenous tribes within. They divided the land up their own way, just to keep the peace among them.

They learned to work on the land, they hunted and/or grew crops, fished, and developed their own cultures.

The first Europeans to arrive were from Spain. Most were explorers. They were helped by the Native Americans. The Spanish traded with them, which was how horses were introduced into the different western tribes.

Eventually, though, they¬†fought with the many Native tribes on the west coast, some of the southeast coast of America, and in present-day Mexico and took over¬†the land. Most of those settlers were greedy for land. “Hollywood” now resides in one of those lands.

However, even though Spain fought many tribes, they also befriended many tribes, including the Pueblo. Eventually, some of the Spanish mixed with many indigenous tribes and formed the ethnic group of Mexicans (Mestizos) we are most familiar with today. They learned from the other indigenous tribes and lived peacefully for years.

Mexico eventually fought and won independence from Spain in 1821 (after years of revolt against Napoleon’s occupation of Spain). Mexico won all of the west coast from Spain and continued to live peacefully soon after.

The French came as well, but they were overtaken by the English. They had issues in their own nations, a feud with Great Britain, and Canada to manage as well.

When the Europeans from England arrived, they were escaping religious “persecution” in Europe, sent over to the land to chart it out, or sent there as a punishment for crime (since it was considered the “wilderness”, fairly with large forests and mountains and unfamiliar wild animals). ¬†This means that most were looking to spread their own religious values, were sent to conquer the land, or were criminals.

Many of the criminals were trapped as indentured servants. Orphans and other lost people were sent to the land as well.

When the Europeans arrived, they didn’t literally have a thing. During the Starving Times, some people ate their own shoes.¬†¬†The Native Americans helped out their foreign invaders, even though the Europeans had no business on their land “illegally”.

The Europeans were so brainwashed by their religious leaders, they truly believed “God sent them” to the New Land. With that being said, they also believed the Native Americans were heathens that needed to be “civilized”, like they felt they were. This attitude led to Europeans setting up missionaries and trying to baptize the indigenous tribes. Most tribes didn’t have a problem with this…until the missionaries started whipping people, even adults, for “breaking God’s law”.

Many of the Europeans also just didn’t understand other cultures. They weren’t exposed to anything different, but they had knowledge from books and affinity with writing. Most of the information was full of prejudice. They abused many Native people for not converting to their religions and yet consumed the resources of the land. The Europeans began to over hunt and over plow, overstepping the cultural rituals regarding hunting and agriculture. They were like guests who overstayed their welcome. ¬†They were also not clean (hygiene especially) and were full of disease. That wiped out many indigenous tribes.

As more and more white people arrived, and shortly after the American Revolution (the colonists’ break from Great Britain), it was harder to divide the land. Europeans began complaining about the Native Americans. The Europeans eventually fought with the tribes on the East. They depleted their population and drove the natives out. They indigenous people were forced to the land west of the Mississippi.

Later, around the 19th century, the new Americans felt they deserved ALL of the land, even the land to¬†the west of the Mississippi. They were greedy, experiencing several economic issues, and trying to fit all of these immigrants in the land. They made treaties with the Natives to the west, but broke ALL of their promises. Eventually, wars broke out. Some tribes were just killed off without even being involved in wars. The Native people surrendered, tired and looking for peace. The United States set aside land for these people called “reservations”. They were not considered citizens, they were just allowed on the land.

But when Americans found gold on the reservations, they kept making the lands smaller and smaller, just to get hold of the resources. They tricked, cheated, and harmed many tribes up until the 20th Century (1900s)!

They put most of all the Native children in boarding schools, forcing them to dress like Europeans, talk like Europeans, and prevented them from seeing or living with their families and friends. The children were brutally punished if they showed any connection to their culture. This is why the languages are hardly spoken to this day and why many cultural practices are lost.

To add insult to injury, the Native Americans were never granted citizenship until 1924.

Why does this matter to Native Americans today?

1.The reservations still exist to this day. The US government has yet to be apologetic about the land they stole, the promises they broke, the people they cheated, and the people they’ve murdered. The terror that they caused to these people has been tremendous. Sadly, many of the reservations are impoverished, crime-ridden, and full of drugs (like most low-income areas in the US, where minority groups often reside, thanks to years of prejudice and oppression). The reservations were stripped of resources, so many of the people couldn’t thrive. Their hunting practices were lost because they were often put out of their original hunting grounds. Unapologetic Americans, quick to release themselves from guilt, often retort “Just leave the reservation, then you’ll live prosperous”. Many Native Americans stay on the reservations as their last stubborn fight for justice. Unfortunately, it feels more like a losing battle at times.

The land the First Nations people were allowed to live on were stripped of resources, and if resources were found on any of the lands after the reservations were drawn up, the government would make them smaller just to access the resources.

The U.S. and state governments are still trying to take the little land they have away, just to get more resources and to build more homes over their lands. They are still breaking promises and still disrespecting the people by trying to take their lands away from them. They don’t care. They are getting rich, fat, and comfortable off the land they stole.

http://nativenewsonline.net/currents/new-north-dakota-wants-congress-modify-indian-reservation-system-turn-power-states/

This isn’t a historical problem, this is a MODERN-DAY problem.

2. Many grandparents and great-grandparents experienced the boarding schools, are living on the reservations, still are scarred by those times in history, and pass their stories down to their children as warnings, as teaching tools, and as truth. Those children carry those burdens with them. It eventually turns into anger, sadness, and bitterness that continues on with loved ones for generations. Who wants to hear that grandpa and grandma were harshly beaten in boarding schools just for speaking their own language? That’s frightening and fear leads to anger.

3. They are no longer the face of their own land. Thanks to most of the media, most of Hollywood, other countries, especially in far east Asia,¬†consider America to be a land full of “blonde hair and blue eyes” or black people. And they aren’t wrong. Most of the Native people were wiped out by Europeans.

Therefore, the Native people get little respect and little representation. Without that representation, their struggles are forgotten, their history rewritten or unwritten, and their culture disrespected time and time again. From the late 19th century to the 1950s, some Native Americans, along with Africans, were kept in zoos!

To them, when they watch people across the world explain what an American is to them, it is likely to make them roll their eyes because they constantly hear descriptions of white people instead of them.

4. History books teach a distorted view of Native Americans, if at all. Thanksgiving is even taught all wrong to children. Many children even believe Native Americans (often called “Indians”) are fairy tale characters…

Arguably, before the Europeans arrived, the Native Americans didn’t get along with one another, and one tribe may have just as easily conquered the others much the same way the Europeans did.

But I don’t think the issue is so much that they were conquered. I believe it was the way¬†they were conquered. It wasn’t through a fair fight. There were lies and cheating involved, which was not the way many Natives fought. And the fight continued even through to the modern century, which made this more of a modern history issue that affects Native Americans today.

African Americans

Many African Americans are descended from various western tribes in Africa. The African and Arab slave trade was practiced for centuries before Europeans arrived on the continent of Africa. During wars, many of the losers would be taken as slaves. Around the 15th century, slaves were being sold outside of Africa.

There are many different kinds of slavery. The kind of slavery the Europeans introduced was different than much of the slavery practiced in Africa (though Northern Africans practiced a similar form at times).¬†In many African nations, people would be enslaved as punishment for a crime or to pay off a debt. They would have certain rights and it was more like indentured servitude. Slave families could buy their freedom and become a part of the master’s family. Many dressed nicely and were fed well. Many were sent to work gold mines, to tend the land, or work in the master’s homes.

At first, enslavement was just on a small scale. But the demand for slaves in Europe and many Arab nations increased. Wars increased and slavery increased.

Many of the African Americans living in America today are descendants of the slaves bought by Europeans from Africa.

Europeans practiced a kind of slavery called “chattel slavery” where a slave had no rights and was¬†treated like property or like an animal. America had the longest history of slavery in the world, practicing it up into the 19th century (1800s).

African Americans helped build the USA with their labor and brains, but they got little recognition or respect for it and often times white people took all the credit for things they did, which made black people appear as if they weren’t contributing much to American society. Many families were separated and unacknowledged. Their heritage was stripped from them, they were beaten for speaking their language and practicing their culture, and so the cultures were lost. Many African Americans don’t even know where their ancestors came from in Africa and are completely removed from their nations’ cultures.

There were some African Americans who came to America as immigrants but most came as slaves.

The American Civil War is what changed things for African Americans.

The Civil War was mostly about the division of territory, but slaves were swept up into the debate. Certain states were slave states. The South mostly relied on slaves. They were more agricultural. The North relied on factories and immigrants to thrive. They wanted to move America into the future with machines and technology. They felt the South was holding them back. They felt the way to force the South forward was to get rid of the slave trade, which would cut into the southern economy. The South felt that the North had no right to tell them what to do. As Americans expanded west, they began to debate over which states would be slave states and which would be free states. It moved from a debate into a war.

Eventually, the North won the war. African Americans were freed, but they still were not treated equally. They were given the right to vote, but hard tests were put in place to discourage African Americans, who couldn’t read, from voting and holding public office. Many places were segregated or didn’t allow black people inside, so many black people had nothing to call their own. They were forced to move into run-down neighborhoods with immigrant families.

The South made living there difficult when they put Jim Crow Laws in place, which were designed to prevent African Americans from progressing.

Many white people murdered black people from the end of the Civil War to the 1970’s, and no justice was served. Some cases didn’t reopen until the 1990’s, like in the case of the Birmingham Church bombing that killed four little girls, and by that time many of the criminals had passed on, living most of their lives comfortably and guilt-free. Many cases still aren’t resolved and have gone cold.

The people who lived during that period lived in the 1960’s, 1970’s, and are still living as parents and grandparents today, and were greatly affected by the period mentally, emotionally, physically, and financially.

A lot of people feel these issues have ended years ago and don’t realize how the past can affect the future. If a war between North and South Korea still exists, and the feelings are still holding true, what makes the feelings from those harsh racist times in America any different? The past affects the future.

How does this affect African Americans today?

The slave trade has had an affect on all of African Americans except the ones who migrated to America on their own. African immigrants wouldn’t relate to the actual history.

The history has affected the culture in various ways:

1.It influenced the way African Americans speak. African Americans grew up in the South. Much of the South was owned by France and Spain. African Americans developed a “cajun” accent. Even when the English took over, the accent remained. They weren’t taught to read and write, so many learned English simply by ear. Many spoke broken English as a result.

Once slavery ended, many slaves still didn’t have access to schools, as white people still kept schools segregated and made no efforts to build schools for the newly freed black people. Many had to migrate north for schooling, but many didn’t have the money or health to make it that far. So, the manner of speaking stuck. It traveled all the way to the present day.

Nowadays, African Americans receive an education and are taught the proper way to speak English. However, if their grandparents spoke that way, their parents did, too, and so the manner of speaking carried on into many African American households. Many black people return to the manner of speaking to relate to other people within their race.

2. It influenced African American music culture, American music, and their place in the music industry. Blues, rock and roll, pop music, and much of the modern music we listen to came out of the African American community. Black Americans didn’t have much to call their own, but they were able to make music. They used music to express their feelings in ways they were not free to express.

Unfortunately, many white people hijacked the genres and denied African Americans airplay on the radio, causing people to acknowledge white contributions over black¬†contributions. For instance, Elvis Presley is considered the King of Rock and Roll though he did nothing to truly contribute to the genre other than moving his hips¬†on stage. He stole the songs of many African Americans and brought them to the “mainstream” which was really just the “white audience”. Many African American rock and roll artists didn’t get respect until the 1990s and many still aren’t respected in the rock community. The Beatles get more attention and they aren’t even American.

That’s why African Americans today get so butthurt when white people get famous from things they’ve invented. They don’t feel appreciated or respected. They feel treated as inferior. This is why they are the first to pull the cultural appropriation card. They are afraid of their contributions being wiped under the rug like it once was before.

Even in movies, white people would often portray African Americans, and sometimes they would play up racist interpretations. This is where the “black face” stemmed from. Many of these interpretations put African Americans in inferior positions to white people. They put African Americans in a negative light and made fun of African Americans’ station in life, their culture, the way they spoke, etc.

When there were roles that honored a historical figure of color¬†(like an African Queen), a white person would portray the person. This caused most of the world to believe that all the major royals of the world were white and that black people were always inferior. Movies were segregated and black people were not invited to play roles in major movie productions or in major playhouses. This whitewashing happened up until the 1970’s. Many of the executives and/or the families that approved of the whitewashing are still in control today.

This is why white-washing is so looked down upon by black people. This is why so much of a stink is made when white people are put in roles that could potentially go to other races of people. Many people of different backgrounds already feel undermined.

And then racism really does still exist. When the role is reversed, white people don’t like it either.

3. Like in Native American communities, parents and grandparents are still around to remind the younger generation of harsher times in history. They remind their children to be watchful of racism because they were victims of it. Of course hearing these stories are enough to make the newer generation more defiant of a system they felt betrayed them. It’s enough to make them angry and bitter.

4. It is the reason so many still live in low-income, crime-ridden neighborhoods. Many businesses that are major in the USA today began as early as the 1700s. African Americans were enslaved during these periods, putting them behind everyone else in the job and business market. Laws interfered with their education and racism had a major impact on families. Even with the inventions created by black people, many had to go through white people to get it sold or to get it off the ground. They had jobs, but were underpaid and were paid less than white people up until the 1970s.

Angry about the injustice, many black people turned to a life of crime to take what they felt they deserved. They learned about gang life from the Irish and Italians who lived in the inner cities (before they learned how to integrate into wealthy and middle-class American society). Anger groups sprung up to fight white supremacy.

The “gang” mentality influenced the black community and eventually influenced the culture in both large and small ways.

As mentioned before, racism in the 1960s and 1970s had an affect on the grandparents and parents that are still alive today. Even when the Civil Rights Movement ended, some people were still bitter towards black people and found ways to keep them away from the working world. Most black people grew up in homes with parents who had low-income jobs as a result.

The children of these people grew up with little, which set them back. Many of them found success in the 1980’s and 1990’s, but if there were any other problems in the domestic structure, many continued to struggle. Poverty often leads to poverty, and it’s the very reason many African Americans are still in poor situations.

This made a lot of African Americans bitter towards white people.

5. Certain standards in a Eurocentric society come out of¬†systemic racism. The European standard of modesty, beauty, manner of speaking, and even living washes¬†over the nation and around the world. Anyone who doesn’t fit in with that standard is “odd” or “eccentric” or inferior. Black people get called “ghetto” or “uncivilized” if they deviate from the norm.

Black people deviate the most from these standards, simply because their culture is different and their appearances are different. This stands in the way of getting good jobs or getting elite positions in society, especially in an industry where presentation is important.

Black hair is considered unprofessional.

6. It is the reason so many African Americans struggle in school to this day and have a hard time achieving in society.

Before slavery ended, they weren’t allowed to read and write. Slave owners did this so slaves wouldn’t learn how to buy their own freedom and so they wouldn’t run away to free places.

Some black people taught themselves secretly, stealing books or overhearing conversations or listening outside of school yards. Some of the house slaves (slaves that worked in the master’s house and not in the fields) passed notes from house to cabin.

But most black people resigned to the fact that they would never learn how to read and write the language they were forced to speak. To cope with this fact, many developed pride in their ignorance, using it as humor and resisting White education altogether. After all, they felt, “Why should we have to learn English? Why should we learn at a white man’s designed school? Let’s resist them by resisting their education.”

Unfortunately, this established a rebellious attitude in the culture and made it difficult for them to assimilate into American society once freed.

Even after they were free, the Southern part of the USA, the part of the USA that mostly practiced slavery before losing the war, refused to establish schools for black children and some schools for blacks were burned down. Teachers and students were killed for helping, white and black. This scared black people off from an education.

Even after school became mandatory at the turn of the 20th century (early 1900’s), many schools for African Americans had little money to provide books for each student. Poor kids still had to work, so many black students worked while attending school. Many kids had to drop out to help their parents make ends meet. They couldn’t fund raise in the black community because most didn’t even have adequate jobs. White people were unsympathetic and felt freeing them was enough, so must didn’t put money behind black schools. And schools were segregated, or separated, between blacks and whites.

All-black schools continued to suffer up until the 1970’s, after the Civil Rights movement. But even then, progress was slow. The government began funding the money after schools were desegregated and everyone got their legal rights, but they were still way behind schools with a majority white population. And still some people were against the integration of black kids and didn’t want to help black people, just like some don’t want to today. They felt it was up to black people to fix themselves. But the problem was it was difficult to start at the bottom in a society with white people at the top. Progress would have to be slow if black people were to fix themselves.

And The Civil Rights Act didn’t end actual racism. Racism is an ideology that produces feelings, something the law can’t change. Racist feelings continued. The people who were mostly at the top found ways to implement that racism without being caught by the law. Many were successful at segregating black people from communities and businesses, using other means of discrimination.

Many black kids just gave up on trying to receive an education and gave up trying to assimilate into American society. That’s why we ended up with a culture heavily on welfare, strongly against authority, and uninterested in education as a whole. In many ways, it’s a courageous stand, but foolish, and it sets many black people back. The attitudes and behaviors that came from slavery give white people a reason to ignore black people and establish racist rules.

Racism still exists as a result. Because of racism, segregation still exists. Black people still end up with the short end of the stick. This is why black people are some of the most defensive minorities in the country. Many of them don’t trust white people, and it doesn’t seem many white people care to earn that trust and would rather ignore the issues.

Segregated Proms Just Ended in 2014 in Georgia

My Experience

I am a very open-minded person, and I have friends of many different backgrounds. From reading my various articles, most people know I’m not the first to pull the race card or jump on the “black power” bandwagon. But I know from experience racism, especially systemic racism, exists and/or¬†has existed in the 21st century.

I graduated from high school about 9 years ago, but I still remember this incident.

All my life, I lived in an all-black community and attended all-black schools. Yes, my school was the stereotypical violent school. The school performed poorly academically (only 50% of my class graduated) and the behavior was off the charts horrible. I personally had good grades, but everyone around me didn’t really appreciate school and didn’t really respect the teachers or administration in place. Gang life was common. I was in a school full of people who glamorized thug life and would start a fight with each other¬†if they were stared at the wrong way.

Of course, not everybody was like this. Some people were peaceful and involved in school. But they were considered lame or stuck-up to the other kids in the school. My clique was called the “Lames”. We liked rock music, anime, video games, and tried to have fun with school and such.

One year, I was taken out of that school and placed in a relatively mixed school, with the majority of students being white (though that majority wasn’t that large). Almost all of the teachers were white. In fact, I only remember there being one black teacher in the whole school and no black administrators at the District office.

I was really excited to go to this school. The school’s academic stats were high, they had fun activities that I was eager to get involved in, and I wouldn’t have to worry about people picking fights with me, threatening me, or any other nonsense like that. In my mind, I assumed that being at a black school was the problem. I used to be one of those people who acted like a coon, bad-mouthing black people and feeling resentful because I was bullied for being different. So, I was excited to be around people who might actually appreciate rock music or anime like I do.

After attending the school, it wasn’t exactly what I thought it would be. I did make friends of all races, don’t get me wrong. But everybody was so divided into cliques, it was hard to mingle. And then by the time I moved there, I was a Junior in high school, so everyone had already made their friends. Still, mostly it was peaceful.

However, I ran into this one group of girls (all white clique) who seriously looked down on people. They were racist, but they also looked down on poor white people, too. I remember one time, one of the girls bit off her cookie during lunch, came over to me and my friends’ table, and said, “Here you need this” to one of my poorer white friends, handing her the bitten-off cookie. This girl and her friends also used to make fun of a Middle Eastern boy at the school. I remember they would pronounce his name wrong on purpose and tell him he smells. He got so fed up one time, he almost dumped his tray on their heads.

And those girls were just laughing.

They would talk about my black friend, saying she tried to act white, talking about how ugly she looked, etc.

They didn’t bother me because at the end of the day, they weren’t in charge of my grades. And then they weren’t a bowl of cherries. They all had this ugly orange fake tan they got at a cheap booth, so there was a lot to discuss regarding them. ūüėõ

But then, second semester, I ran into a racist teacher. That’s when it got tricky.

Because I was so excited to go to this school, and because I’d never been around too many white people, I assumed everybody was going to be normal or nice. Even if I knew some teachers might be mean or strict, I never expected them to be racist. Not in the 21st century, oh no.

Initially, a lot of black students warned me about her, but I didn’t listen to them because at my old school, kids would say teachers were racist all the time. And all of the teachers they said were racist would turn out to be nice to me. So, whether they were racist or not, this didn’t affect my grades. What racist teacher would want to work at an all-black school, under all-black administration, anyway? And some of those students were just awful bad and used the race card to avoid taking responsibility.

I didn’t personally have this teacher, but my sibling did. My sibling and I are the same age and we felt the same way about the school. At first, she didn’t listen to anyone around her who told her about this teacher. I didn’t either and just brushed it under the rug.

But when my sibling walked into this class, right away she felt something wasn’t right. My sister would say good morning to the teacher, like she did all her other teachers, but the teacher would never say anything back. But when the white students came in and greeted her, she would get into long conversations with them. My sister didn’t think anything of it at first, assuming maybe she didn’t say it loud enough or assuming she rubbed the teacher the wrong way. I assumed that, too.

The class didn’t have assigned seats, but the majority of the students of “color” or of a different ethnic group (black, Asian, Hispanic, Afro Latino, Muslim, etc) sat at the front of the room, while the white kids sat all over the classroom, with the majority sitting in the back. One time, my sister wasn’t feeling good and decided to sit at the back of the room. The teacher told her to sit at the front. My sister asked her why, and the teacher said she’s used to her sitting there and wanted to keep track of everyone in the room for attendance purposes. So, my sister didn’t make a big deal about it. But the next day, a few of the white students, who normally sat in the front, moved to the back, and the teacher didn’t say anything to them. In fact, the white students switched seats all the time.

Still, my sister just listened to what she said and didn’t really think she was racist. She thought the teacher didn’t like her for some reason, but she didn’t think she was racist.

The teacher would focus on the black and Mexicans kids, but some of them were bad.

But there were far more black students that cared about their education in this school. One of the black girls in the class was in the top 10 of her graduating class.

The first sign that the teacher was racist came with this student.

The white students in the class were talking in the back of the classroom. Whenever the other students of color talked, the teacher would issue consequences, but she never did that with the white students. In fact, she would laugh and joke along with them!

One day, they were talking during a lesson. She pointed out a black student, who had the highest grade in the class, and told her to stop talking. This student was very quiet and was writing her notes. She looked up surprised and said she wasn’t talking. The teacher told her not to talk back to her and she wrote the student up! The student was trying to explain that the students in the back were talking, but the teacher said she didn’t want to hear excuses.

Fortunately, the principal and administration weren’t racist. The student was able to talk to them and get the referral thrown out.

But it didn’t stop there.

The second incident came when a Mexican student in the class received a D as a grade in the classroom, even though he turned in all his work and said he’d gotten good grades on his work. He asked to look at his work and review it. The teacher refused. He stormed out of the classroom, yelling, “Racist bit**!” The teacher shrugged and said “whatever”.

The third incident came when the teacher kept telling one of the other black students to be quiet and the student refused. Of course, the student was being disobedient, which was bad. But the white students in the back talked throughout the whole lesson. The black student brought this to the teacher’s attention, stating “Why don’t you talk to them in the back? I can’t wait to move back to the city.” And the teacher said “Me too. I can’t wait until all of you go back.” My sister was thinking, “all of you”? What does she mean by that?

The final incident, the final straw, was when a final project was due and my sister almost failed the class because the teacher lost her assignment.

My sister and I have always been conscientious about our work. There was a big assignment that determined the final grade in the class. This assignment was to write a letter to Red Lobster. If the letter got to Red Lobster, they would send a letter back. So, there were supposed to be two copies: one for the teacher and one for Red Lobster.

My sister turned her letter in a week before the due date. Red Lobster sent a letter back to her; that’s how she knew she turned it in.

The teacher comes up to her and says she didn’t receive the letter. My sister reminded the teacher that Red Lobster responded, but the teacher said that if she didn’t receive a teacher copy, my sister would fail the class! My sister kept a couple of copies in her locker, and asked the teacher if she could go and get it out of her locker. The teacher said no, and said that that was that. My sister asked if the teacher could look on her desk again and check around. The teacher refused and told her to sit down. My sister was panicking, afraid, worried, crying.

Then a white girl comes up to the teacher and asks the teacher if she can get a pass to go the library to DO THE PROJECT. Girl didn’t even do it and it was passed the due date. And guess what the teacher said? “Oh sure, I’ll write you a pass.” SAY WHAT? It was then my sister realized the teacher was racist. She immediately told an adult, my family.

After that, you know fam jumped on the phone with the school board and the principal, explaining the situation.

They asked the teacher to search her stuff again. Guess what? She found it. Interesting… She told my sister it was somewhere on her desk…

After that, my sister realized she had come face to face with her first racist experience.

It’s not a big deal when it’s some person who can’t affect your life in any way, like that clique of girls I mentioned in the beginning of this story, but when it’s someone in authority, someone who can potentially stifle your growth, like a teacher, or put you in jail, like a police officer, that’s when racism is scary. That’s where it should be stopped. That’s when it gets serious.

After that, I never questioned whether racism existed. I don’t see racism in every incident, but I know it exists. Even though things may have changed since 9 years ago, I’m still watchful, still prepared to be disliked simply because I’m black. It taught me to pay attention to my surroundings and not to assume things have changed just because we’re in the “modern era”.

In that classroom, none of the white people realized how racist the teacher was. She treated them nicely. Of course, they thought we were all just pulling the race card. They assumed that because she treated them nicely. Some of them turned a blind eye to what was going on, just happy they were getting special privileges.

I think they had a hard time believing it because one half Mexican half white boy got away with sitting with the white kids. He dyed his hair, was pale, and didn’t have a “Spanish” accent. He blended in well, so the teacher treated him nice. He concealed his ethnicity the whole time and she never found out he was Mexican. I think that’s why my sister questioned herself.

But eventually it became clear.

People of a minority group are taught early on to recognize signs of racism as a result of the stories they’ve been told by their parents and the experiences of other people of color. Some miss the mark, paranoid of being treated unfairly, but others are very aware and on point.

Watch the movie Get Out. It’s really good about pointing out how deep racism can be seeped into the hearts of individuals and shows how black people are taught to recognize the signs.

Mexican Americans

At one time, the whole west coast of present-day USA was owned by Mexico. The Spanish settlers were the first to settle in the land. Many mixed with the indigenous people forming the Mexican ethnic group we know today. After they won independence from Spain in the 1800’s, they opened trade with the USA. This turned out to be a big mistake.

I already mentioned that white Americans felt they should own all of the land west of the Mississippi River. Eventually, Americans went to war with Mexico and managed to take much of their land. They didn’t take all of their territory, which is why Mexico is still standing today, but they down-sized it tremendously.

When cowboys and other outlaws entered into these territories, they tricked many Mexicans out of their land and stole their resources. Many Mexicans had been living on their lands for years and lost the papers to prove their ownership. Most didn’t speak English and were tricked into signing contracts that relinquished their control of their land. Mexicans lost their rights and were considered foreigners in their own land. They didn’t get citizenship until 1910, several decades after many of the states they lived in became a part of the US!

There are still signs that Mexico once owned the west coast. The states once owned by Mexico have Spanish names. California, Florida, and Texas were just three of the territories owned by Mexico. Many of the buildings and cultures within these states originated with Spain and Mexico, and there are visible signs of that cultural influence.

Nowadays, Mexicans are associated with illegal immigration. This deviation from their original station on this land has caused many Mexicans to resent full-blooded white people. Many Mexicans feel that the land should still be theirs and they may resent the takeover of Americans.

Many Mexicans work hard to assimilate into American culture, but are still treated as inferior in many ways. Mexican Americans aren’t honored or respected in the USA like they should be. Their language is now considered foreign. Their culture isn’t considered “American”. Their businesses and riches were stripped from them during the war and many of them had to start from scratch, amid prejudice. Some turned to a life of crime to make ends meet. This is why crime also seeped into their culture.

Asian Americans

Asian Americans haven’t had it as bad as other races and ethnic groups. Many came to America as immigrants, hoping to assimilate into society. But they brought their rich culture and language with them, mingled with westerners, and still had a nation to call home in case things didn’t work out in the USA (unlike many other races and ethnic groups).

Still, within the nation, America made it hard for Asian Americans to enter the land and grow. When Japanese people first started coming into the USA, most came illegally. Many were brought over by contractors who needed someone to work the land in Hawaii. The Chinese came to strike it rich during the Gold Rush and send the money back to their families. They were trying to escape harsh conditions after China lost the Opium war to the British, which allowed the British to take over different cities/provinces in China, placing many Chinese people in poverty. But even in America, they were placed in subservient roles and prejudice stopped many of them from getting the riches they wanted.

Still, Asians played a large role in the building up of America.

The¬†Chinese especially gave their strongest efforts in America. Many helped with the Transcontinental Railroad project. When they first arrived to find gold, they were well-received. But when competition got stronger, many Americans began to dislike any immigrants coming into the country–including Chinese and other Asian immigrants.

The Chinese helped California’s economy tremendously, but they were still driven out of many cities. Eventually a ban was put in place.

After the Chinese Exclusion¬†Act, many Chinese weren’t allowed into the USA. This affected other Asians, who were often confused for Chinese or pit in the same category. Later, another Act banned all Asians from entering the country. This is partially why Asian Americans are still the smallest minority ethnic and racial groups in America.

As such, they are largely underrepresented and unacknowledged. Without proper representation, ignorant stereotyping persists.

Most people today just consider them as foreign. Eastern culture is widely different from western culture, and some Americans (black, white, Hispanic, etc) are ignorant towards them because they don’t understand them. Many Americans associate the “look” of Asia with foreign or alien, even if the person was born in America. This greatly alienates Asian Americans, making them feel odd and out-of-place.

Today, middle easterners and west Asians are catching a lot of fire because of recent radical attacks in the USA. Even the people that aren’t Muslim are being scrutinized simply because they came from or their families came from a middle eastern or west eastern country. All Muslim people are categorized in the same place as one another, which causes frustration for the ones who are truly peace-loving.

People from the middle east and western Asia came to America between the late 1800’s to the 1920’s, escaping war and economic hardship. Because of the Johnson-Reed act, all Asians were prohibited from entering the USA. Again, this is why, of all the races and ethnicities, Asians are the smallest minority. They weren’t as welcome in the USA because they provided competition for White Americans.

Middle Easterners and West Easterners were normally darker-skinned and confused for being black. Many people treated them the same way they treated black people.

The act was repealed in the 1960s, which brought over many more Asian Americans. Still, by then, they were the smallest minority, which makes their ideas and interests largely underrepresented in politics and media.

White People

The modern white people have had to shoulder a lot of what their ancestors did. Because many of their ancestors from the 1950’s and 1960’s are still alive, some of them have carried on the same attitudes.

While there are now more sympathetic and open-minded white people today than there have been, many either ignore racism, have deep-seated racist attitudes, or just avoid getting involved with minorities and any issues regarding them for fear of offending them.

There are several reasons why this racism, indifference, and segregation continues:

1.Some white people have deep-seated prejudices. Even though nowadays most white people won’t treat another person of color mean or won’t openly¬†discriminate against black people (though some do), many have in their minds that a Eurocentric way of thinking is the superior way to think. Many white people feel this is “their country”, the one they conquered, and they can’t understand a culture that’s different from there’s.

For instance, in black culture, it is customary to shout out loud when excited or congratulating someone during celebrations (like graduations, weddings, etc). White people might shout when excited too, but they tend to be more toned down. When black people are shouting or cheering, white people may think they are being “rude” or being “ignorant”. The cultures have differences, but white people may have been taught that their way of expressing happiness or excitement is the “proper” way. This often makes black people look bad when they might just be misunderstood. That’s just an example of a culture clash. But because the majority rules, the scales tip in favor of one over the other.

Some may¬†also look down on tribal living, finding a progressive way of living, with Eurocentric laws, manner of dress, and manner of speaking to be the best way of living, while looking down on people who don’t live that way. And don’t get me wrong. Many people enjoy living in the land we call home with the freedoms we have, with the Europe-inspired laws and everything. But then again, most of us minorities were raised here and never experienced anything different.

2. Some white people are fed up with trying to be nice to minority groups, especially black people. There are some white people who feel that it doesn’t matter what they try to do for other communities, they will always come out looking racist or not doing enough. Many are still not aware of which phrases or words are racist and which words aren’t. They may know the obvious words like “ni****” and other such words. But they may not realize that generalizing all black people in certain categories could come off as racist, even if white people feel the generalizations or stereotypes are true in their perception.

And that fact makes them feel uncomfortable around other ethnic and racial groups, especially when they feel they have a real concern regarding these people. This gives them a reason to exclude other races and ethnic groups from certain events, schools, or businesses. Some don’t want the “damage control” issues that could follow.

Some white people do want “white only” spaces, spaces where they can talk comfortably with people who are similar and share the same culture or music. They may not necessarily hate other races or ethnic groups, they just want to spend time with people like themselves. Unfortunately, this increases segregation and causes controversy.

Admittedly, some minority groups¬†do get angry over every little comment towards them or another person like them. Even a judgment of character is often referred back to racial issues at times. Some minorities do try to profit off of racism and “racist” situations and try to bring attention to themselves. Some minorities just find it easier to blame racism for some of the issues in the community instead of doing more to build up their communities.

This makes it frustrating for the white people that may not have initially had prejudices per se, but may have formed them based on reactions from minority groups. For instance, Mackelmore, a pop artist in the USA, marched in Seattle for the issues going on in Ferguson. Many black people criticized him, asking why he was there and stating that he just wanted attention. They were mad at him for taking home the best Hip Hop artist award at an awards’ show when he is 1) not considered a Hip-hop artist by most Hip-hop experts and 2) not considered the best Hip-hop artist to many in the Hip-hop community (who are mostly black and Latino). Most black people felt the award should’ve gone to Kendrick Lamar, but felt that Macklemore won because he is white. They felt he didn’t speak up then. So they felt he was only marching for the show.

This made a lot of white people angry, who felt that black people would find a way to criticize them no matter what. This disconnects them further from minorities and makes them just want to ignore issues. Some feel it’s better to ignore than to address it to avoid having their words and actions criticized.

3) There are white people who have been victims of prejudice, even crime, at the hands of those of a minority group, and so have a fear of them, which leads to hatred.

Remember I told you I attended a all-black school? Well, it’d be unfair to say no white people attended. It was a majority black school with two white people and one Asian girl. There was one white girl and one white boy who went to the school.

The girl was raised around black people. But the students, teachers, and administration made it hard for her in school. They were racist towards her, oh yes, racist.

The other black students would talk about the way the white student spoke, saying she was trying to “sound black”. She couldn’t help it because she grew up around black people and so she picked up their vernacular. But they wouldn’t let up.

Some black students would pick fights with her, intimidate her, and exclude her from things. And whenever she would tell the administration, they did nothing about it and asked her whether she “provoked” the situations. I literally saw one incident where a girl pushed her down for no reason.

This is what happened when she became the minority. Many white people are afraid of being a minority in this country because they are afraid of being treated this way by bitter people, but it would be on a larger scale. They are afraid of their rights being ignored. Then, they would have to face and carry the burdens of their ancestors.

How do you think this white girl fared? I’m sure that if she had became angry enough at her situation, she would’ve turned into a severe racist person.

The good thing about it is she did manage to make a few black friends. That made her realize not all black people were evil and pressed. I was one of those friends. Still, I don’t know what feelings she carried throughout her adult life.

And the ones whose family members were victims of crime by minorities will also resent them. They may attack everything about the criminal, including the race of the individual. This may cause them to be scared of minorities, and fear leads to hatred.

Are All White People To Blame?

No. The newer generation didn’t create the mess. It’s messed up that they are getting dumped on because of things their ancestors did or allowed. Many white people today treat others fairly. There are still ignorant people everywhere, but there are also nice white people out there, too. Everyone in America is diverse.

I think the issues started with minorities’ anger towards the government, a system that failed to issue liberty, freedom, and justice to minorities, but preached about liberty, freedom, and justice. I think most are bitter towards the system. However, mostly white people are in that system, and that is creating a modern-day race problem.

However, there are some white people that support that system and refuse to listen to any rhetoric that makes them feel guilty. And racism still exists. There are still people in power (very few though) like teachers, police officers, and mayors that are racist and use their power to execute discriminatory acts. But it’s important for those of a minority group to sift through foolishness and find the real racism, otherwise they risk losing any support to their causes.

Some minority groups get pretty triggered over little jokes or comments that may not even be racist and may just be “racial”. Some minorities may assume that any person like them getting arrested by a white police officer was “racially targeted”, which isn’t always the case.

Some people can’t handle history lessons and have formed prejudiced views of modern-day white people based on what they’ve learned about the past. Of course, this annoys many white people.

I think all ignorance would be diminished if people learned to walk in other people’s shoes. But maybe that’s way too idealistic.

I think in many cases it seems to some people that everyone else can learn to walk in a white person’s shoes, but it doesn’t seem white people are capable of walking in another culture’s shoes without judging or comparing it to¬†their own culture.

For instance, other cultures and races around the world can watch a movie with a white lead and with European culture (like Game of Thrones) and relate to the humor and story of it, along with movies with lead characters of their own races. But white people can’t relate well to movies with black themes and leads, Asian themes and leads, or Native American themes and leads. To many people, they seem to be the only group of people who don’t know how to assimilate or adapt.

Even in Asia, Asians often speak of running into white tourists who are often confused as to why certain signs aren’t in English and why the people just don’t speak to them in in English. Some ethnicities have had bad experiences.

In South Africa, many white people protested against black girls wearing braids and Afros to school. IN AFRICA.

But there are many white people that do connect with other cultures and races. There are some that can switch between Harry Potter and Diary of a Mad Black Woman. It’s senseless to put everyone in the same category. But sometimes these white people might feel rejected by the group of people they try to connect to. They get labeled “appropriators” or attention-seekers.

Some people use the race or ethnic card when convenient but have no real intentions on making changes. That’s when it becomes less effective and irritating. That really hurts the actual organizations out here fighting for true equality.

Why Would Something From Over 100 Years Ago Affect People?

Does Thomas Edison’s inventions affect us? Yes. Do we realize it all the time? No.

Without him we wouldn’t have light bulbs, movies, or sound recordings. We forget about his importance¬†because other people have upgraded it, but he invented it and it still affects us today because we use these things.

Does the Korean war still affect South Koreans? Yes. In the same manner? No. The war happened back in the 1950s. However, because only a ceasefire was issued, the threat still exists.

History has an affect on us as humans, especially history that is¬†100 years old or less. As long as grandparents and great-grandparents live, history has an affect on everyone’s social, emotional, mental, and even economic health. It affects their children and grandchildren. Events in history just don’t happen, laws get put in place, and then it’s over. There is always an aftereffect. The aftermath can last for centuries, depending on the actions of all involved.e

So, Should They Be Mad At Each Other Forever?

Of course not.

However, some people have to overcome their pain and start the process towards healing. When people are suffering, it’s easy to try to find someone to blame for their problems. Many of these people need to find the courage to let go of the past, pick up where they left off, and make a new start.

The biggest reason these issues still exist is because there are no real solutions floating around. If people came together to actually discuss solutions, things might actually improve.

I hope I was able to answer all questions about this topic! Leave me a comment and let me know what you think or what you could add to the discussion!

7 Types of Feminists That Make Me Cringe

4 Mar

A Recap: 7 Feminists That Make Me Cringe

Generation Next

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There are several definitions of feminism out here:

  1. The advocacy of women’s rights based on the equality of the sexes (Google.com)
  2. A range of political movements, ideologies, and social movements that share a common goal: to define, establish, and achieve political, economic, personal, and social rights for women. (Wikipedia.org)
  3. The belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities. (Merriam-Webster Dictionary)
  4. Refers to any ideology that seeks total equality in rights for women and people who self-identify as women, usually through improving the status of females. (RationalWiki.org)
  5. Thedoctrineadvocatingsocial,political,andallotherrightsofwomen equaltothoseofmen. (Dictionary.com)

With the above definitions in clear view, we can conclude that overall the feminist movement is calling for equal rights for women, for anyone who identifies as women to be seen as equals to men, and for women‚Äôs ‚Äúroles‚ÄĚ in society to be respected. Some‚Ķ

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Ask the USA: “How Did Donald Trump Win the Presidency?”

2 Mar

united-globe

Hello readers!

Early in February, I introduced a new series to my blog called “Ask the USA”. In that introduction, I explained the purpose of this series, what inspired this series, and why I feel qualified to answer these questions (to the best of my ability, of course).

With that being said, the first question I’ve been receiving from foreigners all over the internet is:

‘How did Trump Win the Presidency?’

Since Trump has been running for office, he has been a topic all around the world. The news media hasn’t died down yet about him. This question was bound to come up sooner or later.

If you’re an American conservative, the answer is simple; if you’re an American liberal, this question may even baffle you.

However, I’m pretty independent. I try to remain objective and see both sides of this coin.

Here’s the deal.

Much of the media has painted the picture that the majority of America hated Donald Trump, America’s newest president. Many newspapers would reveal the polls back in October and November showing Hillary Clinton in the lead¬†with the popular vote. And there are many Americans that do dislike Trump, including the news media.

But let me inform you about American politics: ¬†during a political campaign, especially very close to election, it is normal to see “political propaganda”, propaganda that’s usually meant to discredit one candidate¬†in favor of another. Hillary’s team was very effective in painting a negative picture of Trump by pulling out his dirt. She didn’t have to try. It was no secret that Trump “distrusted” most news sources, so of course most of them would help Hillary. Trump dug his own name in the ground with his careless statements. Trump gave the media many reasons to discredit him and he left a bad history of carelessness that allowed the media to take advantage of it.

So Trump ended up looking like the villain. After observing the things he’s said, most foreigners can’t understand how he could have any fans. Don’t get it twisted.¬†Trump has insulted and offended many people across the board, and it was once considered a joke to even consider him the president of the USA.

But let’s also remember that what we see in the media isn’t always going to reflect the opinions of all the people in the nation. Despite his rhetoric, there are many people who actually agree with his ideas. Most people are just quiet about it.

trump-as-president

I don’t think most of us took him seriously like we should have. People felt there was no way this guy could be a president. He’s not diplomatic, he’s not well-spoken, he’s a rich guy who cares nothing about the “little man”. He was underestimated. This allowed him to make an impact on politics and maneuver things in his favor. There are many¬†ways he managed to take the presidency¬†from his last opponent, Hillary, despite what was fed to the media.

For the past decade, despite the positive reception Obama and his family have received, the average American did¬†not reap many benefits from Obama’s presidency. He seemed more like a celebrity than a president; a positive figure rather than a man of action. He was famous for being the “first president of color”. He was diplomatic with many nations, giving the USA a good¬†name to even our enemies.

However, he didn’t do anything impactful for his own nation (as far as we could see). He didn’t make any strong changes to the economy, he didn’t make many efforts to improve our overall security, and he seemed to sleep on many other matters that many Americans felt required urgency. Of course, none of us can pretend to know what it takes to do the job of president. Even the current president Trump is starting to see the challenges that come with it.

Still, Trump has things very few other candidates before him had.

Trump, the Business Man, Not the Politician

Trump may be blunt, rude, ignorant, and bigoted. But guess what? In a country that has honored and upheld the “freedom of speech”¬†portion of the Bill of Rights (the rights in the USA that make up the first ten amendments to the constitution, the¬†nation or state’s fundamental set of laws), in a country that has come to distrust government, Trump seemed to be the Honest John some Americans were looking for. He didn’t sugarcoat or take back his opinions. In fact, he is the first president to be truly active on social media, connecting with a wide range of people. With social media becoming a major form of communication, Trump is better able to get his ideas across on many different platforms.

When did America become so leery of their government, enough to trust a man who has spoken badly of so many people, people he’s supposed to help and protect? I would say since the Watergate scandal in the 1970s, people have been looking for an honest man in office. Watergate refers to the incident where someone broke into the¬†Democratic National Committee headquarters, which was at the Watergate office complex. Richard Nixon, who was actually voted into office, tried to cover it up. An investigation exposed this and it lead to Nixon’s impeachment. Since then, most Americans have questioned their leaders, how their leaders are getting into office, and it even lead to people being more critical of the Republican party (the party Nixon was a part of).

But scandal from the Democratic president Bill Clinton in the 1990s, and little action during the Obama administration, has lead to a complete turnaround for the Republican party.

Trump has been super different from the “lying” politicians we’ve had before. Everyone doesn’t like what he has to say, but he says it anyway. I guess people figure if he¬†was this honest about people as a candidate, what does he have to lie about as president?

Trump¬†also became the hero or spokesperson for¬†the “white, middle class, aged man” who has come under fire thanks to¬†the “politically correct”. The politically correct far left have taken over media, politics in the last decade, and daily life. People have been slinging the word “privileged” around, which often refers to the white, middle class men in the USA, the people most assume never had to face prejudice and oppression, and the people who are assumed to actually have been and continue to be the oppressors. Our country has had a history of severe oppression, despite our “free” laws. This has been the reason many people are speaking out. I will go into more detail about America’s race and gender relations in future articles…

But people have been speaking out so fiercely in the last decade, white, middle class men have been fed up with being blamed for everything. They were tired for having to be apologetic to every sensitivity. Trump seemed to be the answer.

Before people began to really take Trump seriously, he was mostly funny, a celebrity, and a rich business man. His personality was definitely strong. But as propaganda began to reveal his derogatory statements, the media and the far left fought hard to keep him out of the white house.

It obviously didn’t work.

Trump is just too good of a salesman. Maybe it came from being a businessman for all of these years. Maybe he paid his way into the seat. Regardless, he was very clever throughout it all.

Speaking of businessman, because he was already a very rich man, he didn’t really need the charity of anyone to boost his campaign. Maybe that’s one of the reasons he had no reason to be so nice. He could pay off anyone he wanted, he could pay to run his own ads, and his name alone was promotion. He has had a book published, he’s spoken on several shows about the things he believes in, and he’s been a familiar figure in the entertainment world (and entertainment in the USA is a major industry). Really, there was nothing stopping him from being successful in this.

Hillary, on the other hand, was Clinton’s wife, and most people were done with the Clinton administration in the 1990s. Clinton seemed to be the same oily politician we’ve been seeing for years, the ones who lie and say nice things just to get the vote, just to let us all down by doing nothing remotely different. The only difference is she was trying to make history by being the first female president. But we learned that “different” doesn’t always make it better. Obama was a president that made history, but it didn’t make him a great president. He wasn’t bad, just not good enough. I think after Obama, we learned to pay closer attention to the campaigns. And frankly, Hillary’s campaign was weak.

Bernie Sanders, one of the original candidates during the early race, probably had a stronger chance with his campaign, but he doesn’t have a big name like Clinton or Trump. Most of the votes went to familiar names.

A Strong Campaign

That’s another thing. Trump had a really strong campaign. No, his ideas weren’t popular across the board. This is possibly why he didn’t quite take home the popular vote (though some argue he did, but if he had, it was definitely by a landslide). But he actually had ideas of his own. He wasn’t just mimicking politicians before him, like his opponent. He had real beliefs that he stood for, real solutions to these issues (even if they proved more difficult to implement than he planned), and the will to get there and make those changes.

In one interview, he said if he lost, all of this would’ve been a “waste of time”. You could say that he had a bad attitude about running for president, or you can say that shows how bad he really wanted it. ¬†But it’s this will to win that has gotten him to the top every time.

He played into the sympathies of people. He reached out to those who felt victimized by terrorism. Since 9/11, many families of the victims’ of major attacks in the USA haven’t felt safe. They didn’t feel that true justice was served, not with the Bush or Obama administration. Media did have a hand in sensitizing these events, causing a “scare”. But the victims’ families, friends, and associates obviously didn’t need the media to feel angry, grief, or fear. And Trump offered strong solutions to this problem. It was a sure-fire way to gain the vote from those who would’ve otherwise voted for Hillary.

On the other hand, despite a need for stronger national security from terrorism, many of these people didn’t want their gun rights taken from them. I think I explained how loyal most Americans are to their Bill of Rights, correct? After the recent mass shootings in the USA, many in the far left wing of politics offered a solution: stricter gun laws. This was a threat to gun owners. Those same people who wanted to better screen immigrants did not want to better screen guns. Most were fearing a ban. Trump seems like a free-spirited man. He doesn’t seem likely to ban guns. Hillary, on the other hand, openly promoted stricter gun control, which wasn’t really popular among moderate liberals or conservatives. Trump hasn’t really addressed the gun culture in America…

However, he has offered to send martial law in Chicago and other cities to rid it of gangs, guns, drugs, and violence in general. Possibly, this is his solution to America’s “violent” culture?

Last, Trump offered to bring and keep jobs in America, something many politicians have been promising but haven’t yet pulled through. Since the recession in the early 21st century, people have been concerned about the shortage of lucrative jobs. Trump seemed like the man to fix the problem. He is a businessman, after all. He seemed to many Americans to be the most qualified to handle the economy.

Despite Trump’s unpopular ideas, and his spontaneous actions, he actually has beliefs and stands by them. Though most people dislike the way he goes about his plans, he actually does go about them. And if there’s nothing left to respect about him, people can respect the fact that he has taken action the moment he was ushered in.

Clinton, on the other hand, has changed and rearranged her ideas, ping-ponging when it came to gay marriage, national security, and many other issues. This made her seem weaker and more motivated by the public pulse. She seemed to side with whoever would give her the vote, and she didn’t seem trustworthy. Most people knew what they were in for with Trump. With Hillary, it was difficult to know. She changed her mind too often, and that left some Americans insecure.

There are many other ideas Trump¬†gave, many other ways his campaign was strong, but those were the most popular ideas. Though most people were skeptical about how these ideas would be tackled, many people were ready to take risks and give new, more direct, more assertive suggestions a try. The passive-aggressive manner of tackling issues haven’t worked in years. People wanted someone who could make America “strong” and “sure”. Trump seemed to represent a stronger and bolder American identity.

Some democratic supporters¬†that voted for Bernie Sanders didn’t vote for Hillary, and¬†that left a divide on the democratic side. This brought strength to Trump’s campaign.

Electoral College

The final thing I want the world to know about American politics is the system.

I already kind of touched on the Bill of Rights and the Constitution (I will go further into it in the future).

But our voting system can be a little confusing.

Americans pride themselves on their right to vote. It’s one of the most important forms of “freedom of speech”. But our election isn’t completely influenced by our individual votes.

In fact, the popular vote¬†(the votes cast by the people) only makes up 1/3 of the overall “vote”. The other votes are based on Congress (our body of people who govern the land) and the Electoral College. Of the three, the Electoral College tends to have the most influence.

The Electoral College was designed to be a buffer between the people and Congress. They are supposed to be unbiased people who hardly meet with one another enough to influence each other. The Electoral College also gives power to the smaller states.

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America is divided by 50 states. Each state has its own governors, laws, representatives in Congress. If the popular vote had that much power over the vote, the smaller states’ views wouldn’t really matter. Bigger states, like California, obviously have a larger population. Their votes would make the biggest difference in the popular vote method (unless the people were divided).¬†In this case, most of our laws would be influenced by California, California’s laws, and California’s culture. This wouldn’t be fair to the rest of the United States, especially to the smaller states whose opinions would matter the least. The popular vote is influenced by the population.

History Central explains that “the founding fathers were afraid of direct election to the Presidency. They feared a tyrant could manipulate public opinion and come to power.”

Hamilton and the other founders believed that the electors would be able to insure that only a qualified person becomes President. They believed that with the Electoral College no one would be able to manipulate the citizenry. It would act as check on an electorate that might be duped. Hamilton and the other founders did not trust the population to make the right choice. The founders also believed that the Electoral College had the advantage of being a group that met only once and thus could not be manipulated over time by foreign governments or others.

The electoral college is also part of compromises made at the convention to satisfy the small states. Under the system of the Electoral College each state had the same number of electoral votes as they have representative in Congress, thus no state could have less then 3. The result of this system is that in this election the state of Wyoming cast about 210,000 votes, and thus each elector represented 70,000 votes, while in California approximately 9,700,000 votes were cast for 54 votes, thus representing 179,000 votes per electorate. Obviously this creates an unfair advantage to voters in the small states whose votes actually count more then those people living in medium and large states.

One aspect of the electoral system that is not mandated in the constitution is the fact that the winner takes all the votes in the state. Therefore it makes no difference if you win a state by 50.1% or by 80% of the vote you receive the same number of electoral votes. This can be a recipe for one individual to win some states by large pluralities and lose others by small number of votes, and thus this is an easy scenario for one candidate winning the popular vote while another winning the electoral vote. This winner take all methods used in picking electors has been decided by the states themselves. This trend took place over the course of the 19th century.

While there are clear problems with the Electoral College and there are some advantages to it, changing it is very unlikely. It would take a constitutional amendment ratified by 3/4 of states to change the system. It is hard to imagine the smaller states agreeing. One way of modifying the system s to eliminate the winner take all part of it. The method that the states vote for the electoral college is not mandated by the constitution but is decided by the states. Two states do not use the winner take all system, Maine and Nebraska. It would be difficult but not impossible to get other states to change their systems, unfortunately the party that has the advantage in the state is unlikely to agree to a unilateral change.

Trump has openly spoken against the Electoral College until it ruled in his favor. Despite him reaping the benefits of it, it has become pretty clear that the system isn’t perfect.

Even though Hillary may have gotten the popular vote, she couldn’t win over the “buffer” votes. Those votes added to the overall vote. So, for example, if Hillary was winning the popular vote because most of California and the rest of the west coast voted for her, a smaller state with the majority of Trump supporters wouldn’t stand a chance unless the Electoral College stepped in to supply them enough votes. These votes put all states, despite the population, on equal footing.

After the votes of the Electoral College, Trump won the vote. But this means he had to have been pretty popular to begin with as well in order for him to gain a complete win.

Should this system change? 3/4 of the states have to agree with the change and the amendment has to be ratified. Would Americans be so willing to change that?

I think at this point, times have changed since the days of our founding fathers. Because of all of these changes, it has become difficult for Americans to know which amendments should be analyzed, which amendments actually need amendments, and which should be left alone. Some people feel our constitution is outdated. Some people feel that the constitution was built to stand the test of time.

Throughout the decade, throughout¬†the election race, and Trump’s new presidency, people have been paying¬†close attention to¬†the Bill of Rights, such as freedom of religion, freedom of the press (1st Amendment), the right to bear arms (2nd Amendment),¬†and even questioning whether cruel or unusual punishments should be inflicted, especially regarding those who commit horrible felonies (8th Amendment). People have also been observing the constitution in general, our laws.

With the temporary immigration ban set up according to religion, it has brought up serious questions regarding our 1st Amendment. Is the ban against that Amendment? Or is this just one of the loopholes?

Trump has attacked the news press time and again. Many Trump supporters feel there needs to be restrictions regarding what comes out of media. This calls the 1st Amendment to question as well.

Since people have been victims of mass shootings in the last couple of years, the right to bear arms has come under fire.

And since we have some of those mass shooters and terrorists in custody, avoiding cruel punishments for these crimes is definitely coming under scrutiny (since it could conflict with the 8th Amendment).

People are also really skeptical about the Electoral College.

In our country, the minimum amount of years they can stay in office is four years per term. A president can get up to only two terms. We don’t know what kind of president Trump will be within the next four years (or up to eight years should he be reelected). We only know how his campaign went. So far, we see that he is assertive, but very rash. Hopefully, though, something good comes out of his presidency for everyone in unexpected ways.

If not, there’s always impeachment.

Leave me a comment and let me know if this answered any questions for you! Americans, if you have more to add, please feel free to add!

I hope it was answered as simply and as down-to-earth as possible.

American Girl Introduces Five New Characters for 2017 (Logan, Tenney, Felicity, Z, and Nanea)+ “Perma” Panties

16 Feb

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Greetings readers!

Generation Next is back to talk about American Girl and their reveal of not one, not two, but FOUR new characters, as well as one comeback, released or coming out in 2017.

Many of these dolls have been rumored for months now within the American Girl community, but I thought instead of just making a review about “rumors”, it would be best to wait until the reveal of the products.

American Girl has not only released pictures of their newly released and upcoming products, but they have a live stream that goes into a little detail as well.

Check that out on Facebook!

There are plenty of changes American Girl, LLC is implementing this year. The changes, for many, are both exciting and a little overwhelming. I’ve heard the new changes are due to there being a new CEO at American Girl, LLC. I’m not sure her history with the brand prior to becoming “commander-in-chief” at the company, but I hope she actually understands the base of the brand enough to drive it forward.

Because so many changes and new products are hitting us all at once, I’m going to break down each release in detail (based on what we know so far about them), and I will be giving my opinions and my feelings on all the new releases.

I already did my review for Gabriela McBride, so I won’t go into any more detail about her.

My review will cover, in the order of release:

  • Tenny Grant and Logan Everett
  • Felicity Merriman
  • Z. Crew doll
  • Nanea Mitchell

Tenney Grant and Logan Everett

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Tenney Grant is an aspiring singer-songwriter from Nashville, Tennessee who is trying to form her own band and get her music out into the world. Logan Everett is a boy who joins her band and they eventually become friends.

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Synopsis Book 3:¬†Tenney & Logan are a harmonious match onstage, but behind the scenes, they are totally out of tune. With her recording contract signed, Tenney is ready to make the album of her dreams . . . she just wishes she didn’t have to do it with moody Logan Everett! They’re supposed to be songwriting partners, but Logan doesn’t even seem to be trying. Just when it looks like they’ve found their harmony, Logan suddenly disappears, and Tenney wonders if he has bailed on their act. A couple of months ago, Tenney would have gladly taken the opportunity to go solo. But as she learns more of Logan’s story, she begins to wonder: Do she and Logan need each other-and their music-now more than ever before?
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So we’ve got the story and we have pictures from her collection. Here’s my spill on it.

Dolls

Tenney

Tenney Grant is blonde with freckles, brown eyes (like Julie), and it looks like a little lip gloss…Her hands are molded to appear like she’s holding an instrument, which is different from older American Girl dolls.

I personally think that Tenney Grant is a cute little blondie! I love the freckles and I think she looks cute in her little outfits. She sort of reminds me of Caroline.

However, I’m not really interested in investing in another contemporary line outside of Girl of the Year. My budget isn’t wide enough for the leap.

And the fact that I have Caroline makes me less enthusiastic. There is really nothing that is compelling me to buy her. She just isn’t unique enough for me.

My thing is…this new line isn’t offering anything to me that Girl of the Year can’t offer. I get she’s targeted to older girls, and I’m sure her books will be interesting enough. However, as far as the doll goes, I just don’t understand why she couldn’t have been a Girl of the Year character with a male best friend…

Is she meant to only last one year and be gone like Girl of the Year? If so, why make this new line?

If she’s meant to last longer, that would be a plus. Girl of the Year has fans crunching and saving so that they can purchase a doll within a year. If this doll lasts a while, it would give fans a chance to purchase her. Still, the overall design and feeling of the line could easily be placed in Girl of the Year at a later date.

And now, we’ve got more modern characters than we need.

American Girl, LLC told us on facebook that this pair of dolls will be a part of a contemporary line that will be released at “random” and will just be a “side” thing. At this point, it doesn’t look like they will have a better name than “Contemporary Characters”, if this line really gets an umbrella name at all (considering the cover of her books just say “Tenney”). So there really isn’t any distinction between this line and Girl of the Year really.

That aside, we are expecting to get more dolls for this line throughout the years at random, much like how American Girl Beforever started. It won’t be a set date, like Girl of the Year.

With that being said, I don’t know if I’m happy that she is the first character for the line. She’s blonde, she’s trendy, she’s a singer. It just feels cliche, like your typical debut character.

I’m not even a huge fan of her clothes (not really my taste, though there is mix and match potential). I know what she’s wearing is the trend, but I’ve seen better from American Girl.

A lot of American Girl fans do not like Tenney Grant’s face tan¬†and her “unflattering” freckles. I personally like the doll. I’m just not on board with the idea overall. I just don’t see the point.

The contemporary dolls are¬†supposed to be more appealing to older girls in middle school. Girl of the Year has already jumped on the “middle school” bandwagon with Gabriela (who is in sixth grade). I don’t understand what this character is offering girls differently from the GOTY line.

Some fans also don’t like her lips, which appear “shiny”, like she’s wearing lip gloss. I personally don’t see anything wrong with shiny lips, as many 18″ dolls are carved or created with shiny lips. It does give her a more sophisticated look and it does make her appear different from the classic “American Girl”. But I don’t see the harm in makeup that subtle.

Despite how cute she is, I think I would’ve rather had Jaya, her Indian best friend, as the first debut character for the line. The only thing really driving this line so far¬†is Tenney’s “best friend” doll, Logan.

Logan Everett

Logan is American Girl’s first ever 18″ BOY doll (they had a boy character in the Bitty Baby line). This has been rumored for awhile for those who have been in the “know”.

I’m going to be honest though. When I first saw Logan, I thought, “Finally, a girl character who doesn’t look like a stereotypical girl!” I would’ve been really excited if Logan had looked like this and been female. Talk about breaking gender norms.

But no. It’s actually a male character.

For many young male American Girl fans, this is a dream come true! Finally, there is a boy that represents them!

According to American Girl, LLC, fans have been begging for them to release a boy character. In this world, where diversity and inclusivity have become themes, this is American Girl company’s step forward.

As I said in my article about American Boy dolls before, I do believe that boys desperately needed dolls that mirrored kids their own age and were good, positive role models. Why should the girls be the only ones included?

However, I’m going to, once again, address¬†the concerns I had back then. I’m not sure if having a boy character is good for the brand.

Eat me alive if you want to. American Girl is called American Girl. Why was American Girl such a big deal for girls? It wasn’t just because it provided wholesome dolls for girls with educational books and positive messages, something fashion dolls didn’t offer. It was also because most of history, prior to American Girl, was told from the perspective of males. Most of the heroes honored in our history books are male. Look at Marvel and DC comics, and you will see that even most of our modern¬†heroes are male. Most action-adventure stories, like Harry Potter, have a male lead.

American Girl offered heroes for our little girls.

Nowadays, we do have more movies and shows about female heroes. But back in the 1980s, when American Girl first arrived, there were hardly any women taking on the “hero” title.

American Girl has been one of the first companies that brought these young females to the front. The contributions of women, especially little girls, may have been insignificant among other historical toys or books, but not in American Girl.

With the inclusion of a male doll in this brand, I can see why some American Girl fans are concerned that this brand will branch out. Some people have already expressed that they would like American Girl to honor mostly girls.

And this is not to say that Logan is outshining Tenney. However, with the success of Logan, will American Girl be considering more boy dolls in the future? We may start to see more male dolls in the future.

Some young male fans were hoping for historical boy characters instead. I think if Mattel creates another branch called ‘American Boy’ that might work. That way, it wouldn’t take away from the American Girl brand.

There’s another reason why I would’ve preferred another branch for American Boys.

  1. With Logan being a “best friend” to Tenney, he is nothing more than an accessory, like the other Best Friend characters were.
  2. With him being a male, it does leave room open for “romantic” playtime among children.

Logan is basically just “the boy”. He doesn’t get his own book. None of the books are told from the perspective of a male with a male author. He is an “accessory” to Tenney’s story, meaning he can be archived with Tenney if the situation calls for it. He is a background character, still not considered important. I mean, I guess I can just be happy they created a boy character at all. But this is one of the ways Mattel, the mother company to American Girl, has ruined doll lines before.

He seems meant to appeal to girls and not really meant to be designed specifically for the male fans, which I think is cheating our young male fans.

I also get the feeling he will be confused as the “boyfriend”. American Girl swears up and down that he is not a boyfriend character. I don’t think we should look at every male-female relationship as romantic, but it’s kind of hard to convince young girls that “shipping” two people with one another is wrong. And that is exactly what I think will end up happening with the two of them. If not while reading the story, just during playtime. What’s stopping a girl from pretending Logan is Tenney’s boyfriend? And so, here we end up with Barbie and Ken…

They kind of look like Barbie and Ken, too.

And why did they have to start off with a white male character? It would’ve been great if he’d have been Asian or something different for a debut. If they started this as a line of boy dolls, there may been a more diverse range of male characters.

It’s good I’m not too interested in this line. I’m happy there is finally a boy doll, but I’m just not happy with where he is placed.

The last issue I have with Logan is his AGE. Logan is said to be FOURTEEN (14) years old, according to American Girl’s facebook! He’s way older than the most of the target demographic. He’s not a kid; he’s a TEENAGER. His doll actually gives the illusion that he’s a 10 year old. I don’t know, but having crushes, whether on Tenney or not, wouldn’t be too far away from this character…

Story

I really get a ‘Taylor Swift’ vibe from the story. It seems cute enough. I’m especially interested in the story with her best friend Jaya. I wonder¬† why she didn’t get a doll…

I was hoping there would be a “singing” theme eventually with Girl of the Year, but now that the Contemporary line has it, that’s out for me.

Still, I was hoping the contemporary line would touch on the deeper issues affecting middle schoolers, something Girl of the Year has failed to do.

Remember those books by American Girl called The Care and Keeping of You? That book really helped girls as they were growing up and reaching puberty. I was hoping this contemporary line would be a good guide to giving advice for girls. But no. These books are just other forms of Girl of the Year.

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I read a preview of Tenney’s books, and honestly I just felt like I was watching a Disney Channel or Nickelodeon show. It lacked any real substance. But it’s cute enough.

Unfortunately, because the series is told from the girl’s perspective, Logan is given a bad-boy, mysterious, and moody personality that seems unflattering. He doesn’t seem created to directly relate to boys, but rather seems created to better appeal to females. The personality is reminiscent of male characters that are often found in female-driven literature…and these characters often end up being the “heartthrobs” (the moody Edward from Twilight is an example). They are designing a male ideal here, not really giving boys a good role model.

Unfortunately, what I’m seeing and reading are¬†not enough for me to be interested in Tenney or Logan. However, I would definitely buy Tenney and Logan as a gift for kids. Just not for my collection.

One thing is for certain: We can call bull on American Girl claiming they were”moving from the best friend strategy”.

Felicity Merriman, American Girl’s Revolutionary War Character

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Can I give an outplayed “Yaaasss”? Guess who is back (again) out of the archives? Felicity Merriman!

They must have wanted to tie in with the new “Hamilton” popularity or maybe jump in on Shailene Woodley’s recent popularity (considering her first acting role was as Felicity).

Felicity is a long-time historical favorite. If you don’t remember, she represented the Revolutionary War era. She was our fiery, spunky, independent red-head (before Maryellen arrived).

I wrote about her archival, and I can’t believe I’m now writing about her return.

Remember when she was retired in 2001? Then she returned in 2005 and was retired again. Now, she’s back again. They really just can’t decide what to do with Miss Merriman!

Felicity is coming with a new Meet Outfit and a new book layout.

Unfortunately, I’m not a huge fan of either one. I like her blue dress better than her lavender one, considering the quality seems better, but something about it is unflattering. I think I’m just biased to her first Meet dress. It just felt more authentic, more natural. This new dress looks more like it was made for a Disney Princess character.

Still, I’m giddy one of my favorite characters are returning and I’m happy the American Revolution will not be forgotten in the Beforever line.

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My only gripe is that she will be released with Tenney, which takes away her shine. The website didn’t even update her “Play” page, she’s barely on the front home page, and she’s not boldly announced in the Shop section either. So far, she’s only come out with her new Meet outfit, which isn’t much fun…

I also heard she doesn’t actually come with a shift or hair ribbon, which is really cheap.

The worst part is she’s only being sold online and at the three major stores in Chicago, New York City, and Los Angeles.

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Z. Crew Doll

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Z. Crew started off as a stop-motion series (created by American Girl) about a Korean American “character” doll named Suzie Yang who¬†creates her own vlogs online, often using her “American Girl dolls” (usually minis) as themes. Obviously, American Girl company was inspired by actual American Girl fans who often make their own stop-motion videos or often make videos in general using their dolls. It definitely put all of those people out of business…

Well, now, Z is getting her own doll! (Though technically, this doll has been around awhile now. #40 anyone? #64 anyone? #30?) And I suppose this is American Girl’s response to more diversity and that push for an Asian American Girl doll?

Here’s why this character does not suffice:

  1. She is not the historical Asian character we asked for.
  2. She is another contemporary character, competing with other contemporary characters.
  3. Most of her clothes from the series are borrowed from their Truly Me line (their line of customizable contemporary dolls…)

I’m sure most of us already have some items similar to what American Girl is offering for her or will buy the clothes and put them on dolls we already have.

Most people have not been asking for a modern Asian American doll. Most people felt pretty satisfied with Jess (even though she was part Asian). But we have been asking for an Asian character for Beforever, one that wasn’t just an “accessory” doll (like Ivy was to Julie), and one that has her own story and moment in history. And what did they give us? This.

I’m not going to say I hate this character. I think she’s really cute and unique. Her stop-motion series is cute. But again, why so many contemporary lines? And why all at once, in the same year?

The content and themes being pushed by American Girl for these random contemporary lines could’ve gone over well with Girl of the Year. I really don’t understand the point of the Z. Crew line. Maybe the stop-motion series is so popular, kids wanted to buy dolls inspired from the series. But I’m just not that in love with the character to feel compelled to buy her. And if you already have #40, it’s a wrap.

She’s also getting a book, for whatever reason, and a live-action movie (and cringey Amazon Prime is doing it again).

I wonder if Z’s whole crew is joining her in this doll line…That might make things a little interesting. Still, I can only see myself purchasing Z after making other major purchases…

Z is supposed to come out in April, but already she has quite a bit of competition this year. Why would they release their only Asian American character amidst so much competition? It’s not fair. They are setting this doll up to fail.

But for anyone interested, I think she will be a unique and diverse addition to any contemporary line, considering they don’t have many Asian American characters, and none that are Korean at that.

However, I don’t think she will last more than two years. Stop-motion can get old after awhile. There needs to be something else driving this line.

For anyone interested, her doll is set to be released April 27, 2017.

Nanea Mitchell, Hawaiian Character from the 1940s

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The rumored Nanea Mitchell has finally been unveiled!

And yes, she is just as I feared: ANOTHER 1940s character.

Nanea Mitchell, 1941
She’s a Hawaiian girl who does her part to help and heal during wartime.¬†

Nanea Mitchell learns the importance of generosity and sacrifice throughout her stories. 

Set for a fall release is Nanea Mitchell, a Native Hawaiian girl growing up during World War II in what was then a U.S. territory. “Nanea’s stories teach girls that kokua‚ÄĒdoing good deeds and giving selflessly‚ÄĒsometimes require sacrifice.” NBCNews

Her stories take place around the time of the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Many speculate that she will live in Oahu, Hawaii, close to where the events occurred.

I am excited to learn more about Hawaiian history and culture. I am interested in learning how this story differs from Molly’s (if it does). Don’t get me wrong.

But I don’t care how beautiful Nanea is. I don’t care how touching her story may be. All of that superficial crap does not disguise the real problems I see. I still feel cheated.

1.Instead of giving us a new era in history, American Girl decided to “rinse and repeat” an era.¬†

I mentioned before that it felt like American Girl was running out of era ideas. Nanea, to me, is proof that they really couldn’t find any other different eras in history. I said this before: I’m not interested in reading about WWII twice. Especially not before we touch on eras that have never been touched on by American Girl. I’m still waiting on the 1920s. And I don’t care how diverse this makes the brand, history is a priority of mine. I care more about diverse and accurate eras in history than I do about the color of dolls.

Unlike other fans, I don’t like this brand for its dolls alone. I was drawn to this brand for the history. And I am eager for American Girl to introduce new history to kids. We’ve talked about WWII with Molly. What about eras we haven’t talked about, like Western Expansion? The Roaring Twenties? Early Exploration (Pilgrim)? I would even go with the 1980s. I get there are many perspectives in each¬†era in history, but we haven’t even touched on ONE perspective in those eras I just named. Let’s double back AFTER all ground has been covered.

This story of Nanea’s even sounds similar to Molly’s (pulling together, lending a hand, helping the war effort, and making sacrifices). I can’t say her descriptions sound original or unique. Felicity carried unique themes like Loyalty and Independence, something not shared by other American Girls. Nanea is carrying the same themes Molly carried. And that’s just not very appealing to me.

You know what’s going to end up happening with most Molly fans? They will just be taking Nanea’s collection and putting it with Molly. And if Nanea’s collection is bogus, which something tells me it will be, she will be archived soon and replaced with the original Molly.

Or it could be the other way around, where Nanea is bought more and just dumped with Molly’s collection. Either way, the lines are now interchangeable and less unique.

Fortunately, Nanea is cute enough to go over well. And if they focus on her culture, instead of over-emphasizing WWII, I may be able to deal. Otherwise, I’m sorry. I can’t get excited about an era I already know so much about.Well, I can’t get as excited as I could if this were a new era in history.

My other concern is this: Will this new “rinse and repeat” method continue? Are they going to make two girls each era? I don’t know if I would like two 1960s characters. For starters, the character would more than likely be white. Then, if she’s really popular, she would diminish the importance of Melody significantly (because we all know she would sell better).

The “doll a decade” thing worked so well because one doll could get so much in her collection. Now, with two, one doll will get the things the other won’t, just to promote them differently. There is still a possibility Molly will come back. After all, she does have a big picture¬†on the front cover of American Girl’s new Story of America book. American Girl is still selling her books and movie. Because she’s still being promoted, there has to be a line between what we can find in Molly’s collection and what we could find in Nanea’s, just to make them both uniquely appealing.

Nanea isn’t going to get as many “WWII” types of items¬†like Molly did considering her era takes place much earlier before the war began to really affect everyday life. The things Nanea does get will probably look (or will actually be) exactly like Molly’s! Since I already have Molly, I’m hoping there will be some differences. Hopefully, the setting and culture (Hawaii) can provide some unique items that can last longer than two years.

I’m also hoping that there will be new 1940s references within the story. Molly already had a hula costume, so I don’t care much for a Hawaiian get-up. Molly introduced us to strap-on skates, newsreels, girl scout camps, patriotic songs that were especially sung at school, the popularity of tap dancing, the Three Stooges, the Red Cross, rationing, victory gardens, Halloween, snow globes, and so much more. I really don’t have a desire to hear about any of those things again. I don’t even want to hear a similar manner of speaking. Molly and her friends often said “Gosh” and “Golly” and such. I don’t want anything redundant. I will end up comparing everything to Molly.

I had the same problem with Cecile and Marie-Grace back in the day, but I warmed up to them. Maybe I will warm up to Nanea.

2. Is she the¬†“Asian American” character we asked for? It doesn’t seem like it.

Most of us asked for a JAPANESE AMERICAN character, possibly, but not definitively, living in Hawaii. Yes, I heard all of the requests. Most people did not actually ask for a Hawaiian character. In fact, most fans hoped internment camps would be apart of the story.

I’m not sure of the actual ethnicity¬†of this “Hawaiian” character, but it doesn’t seem like she will actually be “Asian”. Nanea is a Hawaiian name. Mitchell is an Americanized surname. The worst case would be if she was a mixed half white, half polynesian child. That would be the dumps.

American Girl has not truly been answering our call for diversity. They’ve been skating around the real issues. Even with Gabriela McBride, they’ve just pulled out an old retired doll, came up with some random modern outfits, and released her. That’s not really developing a Girl of the Year.

And this “Hawaiian” character is not exactly what fans wanted. Most of us wanted an Asian character.

Now, I do know some people who are excited about Nanea because they missed out on Kanani and may have wanted some pretty Hawaiian doll with a tan to add to their collection. I was not one of those people. So, I hope she has some Asian blood running through her veins. Otherwise, I will boycott this doll like the plague.

American Girl has already come out with a doll that brought out Hawaiian culture and that was Kanani. But which Asian character in American Girl truly brings out Asian culture or history through her collection? NONE. This is why we have been asking for an Asian American historical character,

They only made Nanea because they wanted to lighten the perspective of “internment” and they wanted to bring a doll out with a tan, hazel eyes, and wavy hair. Not truly to add diversity, but to cash in on Disney’s Moana’s success.

The thing is there are more eras they could’ve done the Hawaiian historical character. They could’ve made her from the 19th century, during the Annexation period and European-Asian contact, during the reign of one of the last queens in the west coast, among other interesting historical events. She would’ve really looked like Moana then.

But there are not too many eras that truly affect¬†Asian Americans in the USA. WWII would’ve been the perfect era. It was an era that truly affected Asians, and the Asian struggle during the period has been glossed over largely. Instead, they gave us Moana, excuse me, Nanea.

And most people are probably thinking that there’s no difference between an Asian and Hawaiian…The ignorance of it all. I’ll bet American Girl thought the same thing when they made her.

3. She seems like a modern doll.

When I first saw her, I swear I thought she was another contemporary character. There is nothing “staple 1940s” about this character. When we look at Felicity, we know she’s colonial. When we look at Kit, we know she’s from the 1920s or 1930s. When we look at Maryellen, we know she’s from the 1950s. We know these things based on the clothes. That was the most fascinating thing about the fashion. The fashion reminded us of the era.

I do not see “history” when I see Nanea. It’s almost like they specifically designed her to look more “modern” so that she could appeal to the next generation. She looks like a “modern version” of the 1940s.

Her name isn’t even very historical either (even if a few people did have it in the 1940s). Nanea didn’t become a popular name until 2005. It’s like they chose the most “easy to pronounce”, remind-me-of-Moana name and slapped her under the label of Beforever. It is ridiculous. If people were thinking that American Girl is moving away from their historical emphasis, this would really validate their fears.

There used to be a time when the dolls were created as a compliment to the book series. This is why there were more accessories and dresses, and why there were pictures. This was also why it made sense to design a doll an era. Everything that was in the books was made for the dolls, and most of the books’ “timeline” lasted two years at times, allowing for a multitude of items to fill a decade. Samantha’s stories began in 1904 and ended in¬†1906. Molly’s stories took place from¬†1943 to 1945. Kirsten’s stories took place from 1854 to 1856.

Nanea is mostly supposed to cover 1941 and maybe a scrap of 1942. Just like Marie-Grace and Cecile, who only covered 1853. And trust me, the books felt very short and rushed as a result.

Now, the stories are mostly made to compliment the dolls. They create the dolls first, and then add or fix those details in the books later. The history is an afterthought now. Stories are not nearly as important as pretty dolls.

I feel like this story was thought up to create a pretty Hawaiian character, one that replaces the popular Kanani, not truly to add more history to this line of dolls.

4. She looks like a Wellie Wishers Doll or Another Brand’s Doll Entirely.

I really thought Nanea was from another brand. Her face mold looks different. She almost feels out of place in the Beforever line up. She doesn’t feel American Girl. Therefore, it’s hard for me to warm up to her. She somehow looks older…She doesn’t have the sweet, young look the other dolls have.

She really looks similar to a Wellie Wishers doll. It cheapens her a little bit. I hope they also reduce the price.

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5. She’s another character with wavy hair and hazel eyes.

More hazel eyes? Really, American Girl? If I see another hazel-eyed character, I’m going to snatch myself bald.

What happened to the days when American Girl characters had the features and combinations of real girls? What happened to the days when a girl living in the 1940s would actually be depicted with the braids most girls had in that era in time?

Nanea is over-glamorous. She just doesn’t feel like a natural little girl from the 1940s.

Maybe this is why I’ve always been so attached to my Molly. She had glasses. She had pigtails. She was unique. She was simply irreplaceable. Nanea is another hazel-eyed, wavy-haired glamor girl.

But what can we expect? She’s pretty and photogenic. She should sell well to the fan community.

Oh well. Maybe she will¬†teach me something different about Hawaii and WWII (hopefully). I won’t know until she is officially released.

She will officially be released August 24, 2017.

I’m hoping she has some Asian background, and if not, I hope they design an Asian American character set in the 1980s or some other time period in the future. It’s time for American Girl to stop skating around. Nanea is nice and everything, but she’s not going to make up for the Asian historical character you lack.

Permanent Underwear

I may sound a little negative in this article. I am feeling rather negative. Perhaps I’m a little frustrated with American Girl because of their push for the new “permanent underwear” for some of their dolls.

If you haven’t heard, American Girl announced that the new “permanent underwear” will be sewn on to all of the new modern dolls as well as some modern Beforever characters (Maryellen, Melody, and Julie, fan favorites).

This is very infuriating. This takes away the whole point of doll playtime, which is really to mix and match fashion. And if someone wants to change their doll into a different era, like into the colonial era, they won’t be able to do that without looking at the permanent underwear.

American Girl claims they are doing this because they’ve noticed that some kids have been losing their dolls’ underwear.

“We assure the design change was made only to make play easier for some children and to ensure the underwear cannot be lost.”

But it doesn’t make play easier for all children, does it? Just some. And it definitely takes away the value for collectors.

This move to ensure children don’t lose the “underwear” is utter cow manure. It’s like saying, “We want to sew all of the clothes to the doll so the kids won’t lose the clothes”…It defeats the entire purpose of PLAYTIME. Children WILL lose items at times. They will mix and match or replace those items with something else. That’s the fun of it. It simply makes no sense to sew them on the bodies.

They may be trying to move toward “modesty” with these dolls. Some people feel that American Girl is teaching girls to be ashamed of their bodies by sewing on panties.

If they are trying to move towards modesty, it’s the stupidest move they’ve ever made. Honestly, the dolls’ bodies never looked realistic in the first place! They don’t have female parts underneath their clothes. They have a soft, stuffed torso overall.

What this really does is put restrictions and limitations on playtime. And it tightens everyone’s pockets.

American Girl claims it shouldn’t stop girls from mixing and matching the fashion, but it does, especially if you want your Julie to become “Elizabeth” from Felicity’s books or something of that nature.

It also can ruin photos and make the bathing suits on top of the underwear look chunky and awkward.

People speculate that American Girl’s introduction of the “beautiful” Nanea this early in the year is a “distraction” to coerce American Girl protestors into buying their dolls, despite the fact they are ignoring fans’ complaints. Some people have been persuaded to make one more purchase, but will only be buying Nanea and none after. Some will only be buying the dolls that don’t have the underwear (which puts Maryellen, Julie, Melody, and all the Truly Me dolls in a bind).¬†Many are boycotting the purchase of all dolls until this is fixed.

It has really come to the point where the quality is being called out. Unfortunately, American Girl is confident that their dolls will sell, no matter what they dish out at us. And they have every reason to be. Tons of people on Youtube and beyond can’t resist Nanea.

And¬†there are tons of parents and feminists that support the “sewing” of the underwear.

Me, personally, I could look past the new boxes and the new zip ties. I was a little more incensed at the new vinyl for the mini dolls. Many American Girl fans could not handle any of those changes.

But I draw my line at sewn-on underwear.

On facebook, Aryn Bedrick said, ‚ÄúThe point is that AG is supposed to be authentic and geared towards intelligent play. The target age for these dolls is 8+. This move makes you look cheap and generic, like many of your other recent changes like the move to zip ties from strings, and packaging that requires clothing be attached with plastic tags that screams ‚Äėthrow me away‚Äô instead of ‚Äėsave me for your future daughter‚Äô as your original, classy packaging did. You are losing the things that set you apart in this industry.‚ÄĚ

Many people consider a lot of these new body changes, packaging, and zip ties as a sign of disloyalty to the brand. I personally felt that the whole idea of Tenney, Logan, Z. Crew, and Nanea was breaking “loyalties” as much as the other new changes. But American Girl has been going down that road for the last couple of years, especially after the launch of Beforever.

The funny part about it is, for me, I’m more angry that Nanea Mitchell is sharing a decade with my beloved Molly. I’m more angry that another more interesting era was not chosen. I’m more angry that there are now more contemporary characters in this brand than there needs to be.

I don’t like the movies being produced out of Amazon Prime. I don’t like that the Wellie Wishers face mold and packaging are¬†taking over the brand. I don’t like that Logan is Tenney’s sidekick and/or “boyfriend”. I don’t like that Z. Crew is so boring as a doll. I hate the new bodies with the new zip ties.

And the icing on the cake was the sewn-on undies.

I’m sorry this article is so negative. I tried so hard to be positive in my spirit, and maybe my views will change with time. But right now, my collection days feel very close to coming to a close. I’ve been with American Girl since 1997, and maybe it’s just time for me to retire. American Girl really needs to fix what’s broken and leave the fun stuff alone.

Well, that’s all I have to say. Leave a comment and let me know what you think about the new releases and all the different changes.

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