Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Science and Mattel's Blue-Eyed or Green-Eyed Black Dolls

Magic Jewel Ken AA, Cali Guy Steven, and Skate Date Ken AA

First, I want to state that I have brown eyes. I have NEVER wanted any other eye color. Why not? Because I was born with brown eyes. They allow me to see - a little less sharp than many - but I see. I love my imperfect brown eyes because they are mine. Nothing against blue or green or hazel or any other eye color. If I had been born with any of those colors, I would have loved them. Genetics gave me brown. Period.

I mention this stand because I do not want to be compared to Pecola Breedlove of The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison. No longing for another eye color here. Any eye color has the potential to be beautiful.

(Sounding defensive? Cranky? I have a cold. Insert wry face. Aaahh chooo. Sniff.)

Yesterday, I was clicking cat-themed pins on Pinterest when I came across this infographic that reminded me about several of my Mattel black dolls with blue or green eyes. Well, I assumed that those dolls depicted people wearing contact lenses. Because … black people do not have blue or green eyes unless they are mixed race. Blue or green eyes are only found in White people. Right? Cough. Wrong. Any race can have [almost] any color eyes.

When I did not find the original source for that pin, I delved a little further to uncover these sites about the odds of eye color and the science of eye genetics. I'll leave you to digest that information. Short story: it is possible.

Oh ... so maybe those black dolls with blue or green eyes are not wearing contacts. Check out these black people who have blue or green or hazel eyes. Now why did I not remember them when I thought of my Mattel dolls?

Do I think that having blue or green or hazel eyes makes a person more attractive? No. Any eye color has the potential to be beautiful. After all, beauty is in the eye of the beholder.


Muff said...

I think Mattel's use of light colored eyes in black dolls is more about appealing to a broader audience than owing to the probability of genetics.

I myself have a tendency to make my blue eyed dolls brown eyed simply because I find that more to my liking. Just like I prefer black and red hair over blonde. No offense to the blue eyed blondes of the world.

People sure were getting hot in the comment section of the Black celebs with blue eyes blog. Yeesh.

Black Doll Enthusiast said...

I love my dark brown eyes, too, D7ana and would not have them any or color, even temporarily so.

It is true: We come in all colors, skin tone as well as eye color and any combination can be beautiful.

I prefer dolls with brown eyes but there are some dark skinned, blue and green-eyed dolls here. Like Muff, I have changed some blue eyes to brown as well.

I found it interesting that your three blue-eyed male subjects all wore blue shirts for their photo. Did they plan that?


D7ana said...

Hi Muff and DBG!

@Muff - lol, you are right about Mattel's motivations. I doubt that they were thinking, "Oh now this is biological possibility ... let's go for a recessive eye color."

Aside: isn't it interesting how in the doll world, blue is a more common eye color while among people, brown is a more common eye color?

I painted my Suntan Tuesday Taylor's eyes darker when I was young because I wanted her to have darker eyes. Think of the dolls available in 1976 ... Superstar Barbie with blond hair and blue eyes. I wanted difference.

As for hair color preference, I, too, prefer black, dark brown, or russet red.

And oh, yes, there were tempers flaring in the comments left by the readers of that article about black celebs with blue/green/hazel eyes. I don't see getting that worked up about something a stranger says. Most of the time, I barely notice what the celebs eye color is ... I have a small screen tv and I used to have black and white tv. (Oh, confessing my age now, lol.)

@DBG - Yay, Brown eyes! I have darkened some light eyes, too.

Regarding the guys in my photo - actually, only the middle guy has blue eyes. The others have brown eyes. They are all wearing blue because I had found 3 pairs of blue corduroy pants for them -yay and 3 cold weather blue pullovers and pullover/shirt dickey combos for them to wear.

(Initially, this article was to have been about choosing which of my Jamal-faced guys I will keep and which are going and why. Then I came across that eye probability chart on Pinterest. This article is the result.)

I will use additional lights the next time, I take photos ;-)

RoxanneRoxanne said...

I hope that you're feeling better, D7ana!

On my father's side of the family, I have several relatives with gray, blue, and hazel eyes. When I was a child, I wished that I had lighter colored eyes because I wanted the same attention that some of my cousins got. By the time I was in high school, I was over it, and I would not trade my dark brown eyes for any other color.

I never thought of any of my dolls as having contact lenses. I haven't tried making any of my dolls' blue eyes brown (can I make that into a song - Don't It Make My Blue Eyes Brown). I'm sure that I'll try re-coloring doll eyes one of these days.

Thanks for sharing the celebs blog. I had never even noticed the eye color of some of those celebrities.

Carrickters said...

I've never really thought about eye colour in relation to darker skin colours or even particularly noticed that Mattel use light coloured eyes in black dolls. However looking at the picture of black celebrities with light coloured eyes has finally given me the description for what my eyes are. I've always described them as hazel but they are not really. So now I can say they are 'green with a hazel starburst'. Fascinating.

D7ana said...

Hi Roxanne and Carrickters!

@Roxanne - feeling better now, thanks for asking ;-)

Isn't it interesting the range of experiences people have? When I was a child, I barely noticed eye color. Was I light enough to get beaten up when some thuggish kids said that they were going to beat up all the "light-skinned" kids - that's what worried me. I remember being relieved when I was informed that I was not "that light."

Sometimes, what we want to have or to not have isn't based on qualities of a thing itself - light eyes or "light" complexion - as it is on our society's response to others with those eye colors or complexions. Admiration or safe passage home.

Ha! Not only have I suspected that some of my dolls had contacts, I have also considered some of the candy-eye-colored horses do ;-)

Sure you can make that into a song - rendered by Crystal Gayle or Linda Rondstat? I prefer the Rondstat version ;-)

You're welcome to the celeb link; I seldom noticed their eye colors either.

@Carrickters - ah, see, never know what you'll find here, lol. And now you can tell people how - while they might think that your eyes are hazel, really, truly, they are "green with a hazel starburst." Impressive, hmmm?

Marta said...

Hello from Spain: I also have brown eyes. In my country the green and blue eyes are associated with greater beauty. I agree with you. Keep in touch

D7ana said...

Hi Marta and Sister Brown-eyes ;-)

I see that you have a Finnick doll - congratulations! Thanks for keeping in touch!

carmen gutierrez said...

Que guapos ahora estoy a ver si me consigo unos chicos y chicas de color me resultan muy exoticos

D7ana said...

Hola Carmen Gutierrez!

Me gusta la variedad de la raza y la etnia entre mis muñecas, también, Lindaiette ;-D