I’ve been told that the very first doll I ever had was a brown ragdoll. Apparently my father had refused for me to have a “white” doll and insisted that I be bought a doll that “looked just like me” .
He strongly believed this would ensure I never have any inferiority complex about who I was. My very first doll was a ragdoll bought while he was on a trip in Port Elizabeth.
I seldom think about Mxolisi, yet for some odd reason, being in PE this week made me think of him and I imagine him stopping his car near a market and buying the ragdoll for me. Perhaps this imagination, is my way of holding on to very few positive thoughts of the stranger I never knew.
Although I had many other dolls afterwards, thanks to my more relaxed mom, I often wonder how much of that ragdoll influenced my perception of beauty. I don’t and never have looked anything like a rag doll, as you can imagine. I do though, have a strong appreciation for dark healthy skin, I think it’s gorgeous. But I genuinely appreciate healthy porcelain skin too. When someone is beautiful to me, it really doesn’t matter what colour skin she/he has.
I don’t relate to girls who grew up feeling “unpretty” because they were dark skinned. Yes I had my own insecurities, but they were never attributed to my complexion. If anything, in my adolescent years I always felt too skinny, my arms were too long and my eyes and ears were too small. It was rather funny to me in later years when suddenly everyone seemed to want to know my secret for staying thin and looking young, while eating as much as I do. I learned about the fickle nature of the world’s definition of beauty and I soon became stubborn about appreciating my own unique looks instead of waiting for the world to give me their own unqualified opinion.
Although I cannot say for sure if my ragdoll had influenced my appreciation of perfectly healthy skin, there has been many writings and articles on the theory of children and dolls that look like them and why it matters . I do believe in a balanced approach though. The rise to fame of the oscar winning actress, Lupita Nyong’o is a great reminder of how gorgeous African women really are. But I also think it’s important to be objective about these things. Ms Nyong’o’s is not just beautiful because she’s dark skinned. She has a healthy skin ( dark or not), a pretty smile, a strong bone structure and a lovely healthy body. The dark skin is just the cherry on top, it gives her that natural luster.
There are many of these beautiful people in Africa. If you’ve ever believed the rumour about lions roaming in the streets of Africa, come to my hood, and you’ll discover that by lions, they mean rather really powerful and gorgeous, chocolate, caramel, milk skinned royal beauties, with perfectly manicured manes, cappuccino in one hand and stylish hand bag in the other, “strutting their stuff” daily, in the concrete jungle of Sandton, roaring with confidence and ready to take on the world.
You best believe it! 😉