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Talking of Golliwogs.. . .. .

(209 Posts)
WinkyWinkola Tue 18-Mar-08 19:35:55

I was a bit taken aback when I was looking for a dolly for my DD's birthday and I came across this:

{[ It's the Mimi doll]]

I made an enquiry about the size of the lovely dolls on this site and also about the Mimi doll. I just felt it was a total caricature of the black slave especially when you can get her dress embroidered with Every Day is Wash Day .

The response to my enquiry was:

Mimi doubled as a student and our live-in nanny when we lived in Cape Town in the 80s.

She was very much part of the family when Penelope started to make her dolls. The whole family was still all living under the same roof then and each of us provided a name for at least one of her prototypes. Which is they all take their names after one of us.

Mimi liked the doll then and it while I understand the sensibility in Britain over the "golliwog" image, that is not what it means to us and we would be loathe to discontinue it.

Am I being over sensitive to find this doll offensive and not buy from the site as a result? Their other dolls are lovely.

WinkyWinkola Tue 18-Mar-08 19:36:27

It's the Mimi doll

themildmanneredbunny Tue 18-Mar-08 19:36:39

do a proper link for us

McDreamy Tue 18-Mar-08 19:37:33

Can't get the address to work

themildmanneredbunny Tue 18-Mar-08 19:38:23

well it's not a golliwog

you can presumably get her dress embroidered with anything

morningpaper Tue 18-Mar-08 19:38:29

It just looks like a normal ragdoll to me

I think maybe you are a being a bit over-sensitive

Just mho

Chequers Tue 18-Mar-08 19:39:30

Message withdrawn

morningpaper Tue 18-Mar-08 19:39:43


Taweret Tue 18-Mar-08 19:39:54

A tad over-sensitive.
You can get the message changed to whatever you like.
They are rather expensive.
But not offensive.

OverMyDeadBody Tue 18-Mar-08 19:40:25

Yes you're being over-sensitive.

It's just a doll ffs. They've already explained that it means something else to them so what's to be offended about?

WanderingTrolley Tue 18-Mar-08 19:41:20

There's something about that that makes me feel uncomfortable, but then I did read the Guardian today.

Politically groovy or not, the doll's a bit crap imo.

Drusilla Tue 18-Mar-08 19:42:08

I think perhaps you are looking for a meaning that wasn't intended. You can get other messages put on the doll.

morningpaper Tue 18-Mar-08 19:43:25

they are a bit dull for a child though

this is much better - she can make it with you

SorenLorensen Tue 18-Mar-08 19:43:58

It reminds me of the housekeeper in Tom and Jerry cartoons - I do think it's a stereotype and I can't say I care for it much. But, no, not a gollywog.

morningpaper Tue 18-Mar-08 19:43:59

(I did one with DD, it was fun. We sewed it rather than glued it so it is very durable)

sushistar Tue 18-Mar-08 19:46:46

Surely it's sort of anti-racist - at least they have a black doll, they're not all white!

Black people do washing just like white people... I wash every day and i am white! grin

i would not be offended by this.

WinkyWinkola Tue 18-Mar-08 19:47:31

No, I know it's not a gollywog. But it made me think of Mammy from Gone with the Wind and it made me uncomfortable.

WinkyWinkola Tue 18-Mar-08 19:49:47

Yes, white people do washing just like black people but they're not depicted as doing it as a character. IFYSWIM.

But I probably am being oversensitive.

I really like the Play Merrily kits though. Or are they sexist and gender stereotyping?


sushistar Tue 18-Mar-08 19:49:54

i guess it's partly what other cultural references we carry around that make something offensive. I havn't seen gone with the wind, so i wouldn't associate the doll with anything particularly negative. She doesn't remind me of slavery.

sushistar Tue 18-Mar-08 19:52:32

When i was little i had a mrs tiggywinkle doll - the washer woman (hedgehog) from beatrix potter. She was a great favorite - not white or black, a hedgehog - and mimi reminded me of her.

morningpaper Tue 18-Mar-08 19:53:52

Ah well whole theses have been written on Mammy in Gone With The Wind so whether that's good or bad is debatable

Yes they are probably stereotypical kits but they are rather lovely

Indith Tue 18-Mar-08 19:55:52

You can get the white doll above Mimi with "every day is a wash day too" So there we go, both white and black can do the washing, problem solved

I rather like that they have used their childhood memories and the people around them to make the dolls.

WinkyWinkola Tue 18-Mar-08 20:01:49

But in South Africa? In the '80's?

Chequers Tue 18-Mar-08 20:07:15

Message withdrawn

Indith Tue 18-Mar-08 20:10:38

With the same message available for other dolls though I doubt it is inferring that she was a slave and that it is a black doll washerwoman thing, rather one of those slightly twee things you can buy to put in your home as an adult (you know those little hanging things for your kitchen, plaques etc) that say such inspirational things as "A woman's work is never done" etc.

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