“What children are exposed to (in terms of play toys) impacts them psychologically in the long run. ” – Taofick Okoya
How freaking cute are these African dolls! Nigerian designer, Taofick Okoya, is the owner and creator of the Queen of Africa and Naija Princesses dolls. Okoya said that the idea behind the dolls was inspired by him going to stores to buy them for his daughter but couldn’t find one that “looked” like her or that she could identify with. He felt that children especially African children having toys in their likeliness not only gives them something to play with but can also improve their self-esteem, confidence, drive, and appreciation of themselves. In Nigeria, he feels as though being able to purchase a doll for your kids were kind of like having an elite status or a luxury. It saddens him that many children of low-income households were not able to purchase dolls for their children. He’s giving families, whether they are low or high-income earner, an opportunity to be able to buy their children dolls that they call their own at a very affordable price.
I, for one, would like to say that this is an absolutely excellent idea. I particularly remember Christmas shopping for my cousins and the children of family friends who are toddlers and found it very difficult finding a doll that looked similar to them. I don’t have a problem with Caucasian ones but I would love to see dolls that are more diverse. They shouldn’t just be one skin color with straight hair. We should see dolls with curls, natural, braids, straight hair that have different complexions, and wear different clothing. It just saddens me because I feel society is secretly brainwashing the younger generation by telling them this is what is acceptable in the world or what you should look like. I couldn’t imagine having a child and all they see in the toy stores are Caucasian dolls with long brown pretty hair on the shelves looking like they are “trophy dolls”. Like they are privileged and are able to be on the shelves because they look that way. How do you explain to your child that a doll that “looks like them” can also be on the shelf and seen as beautiful to the world. I cannot wait to get my hands on the Naija Princess doll. And whenever I have a daughter I will most certainly purchase several of these dolls for her. Though, she will already know that she is beautiful and a princess, I want to reassure her that no matter what you look like, you are beautiful to the world and dolls that look like you can too be seen as a “trophy”.