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Tuesday, July 14, 2015

BLACK DOLL COLLECTING NEW AND OLD

I found a site called "Black Doll Collecting" and came across a rather interesting article entitled:
"Mammy Dolls... Offensive or Not?"

It seems this is a controversial subject matter with many differing opinions. I've read her article and the comments that were posted. I hope to hear many thoughts as to how you view these dolls New and Old.

AFRICAN AMERICAN LADY DOLL BENITA BY BETHANN SCOTT

This African American Boy Doll was a Custom Order for a lady who owns the doll above "Benita".
AFRICAN AMERICAN MALE DOLL BY BETHANN SCOTT

 The doll couple below was a CUSTOM order. The dolls are considered to be spirit dolls for their ancestors. The gentleman who placed the order sent me this email: "Thank you for these Dolls that I will cherish my whole life and hopefully pass them down to the next generation".
On Etsy he left me this feedback:  Fast shipping, amazing Dolls, will be passed down in my family. Amazing Dolls, words cant express the beauty.
He proudly posted them on his Facebook page. 

What some will call "Mammy" may not be a mammy doll to others.
ANCESTOR SPIRIT DOLL COUPLE BY BETHANN SCOTT

      THIS DOLL COUPLE WAS A CUSTOM ORDER FOR A LADY
African American Doll Couple by Bethann Scott
  THIS IS THE MALE DOLL THAT WAS PINNED IN A CATEGORY "SLAVE DOLLS" on Pinterest. I was quite shocked to find my handsome male doll in a slave category when I had no intention of him as a slave. I MADE THIS MALE DOLL UPON REQUEST.
AFRICAN AMERICAN BOY DOLL BY BETHANN SCOTT

The beautiful Doll below was made in 2011 and I named her Karah. I did list her on Etsy as "Primitive Folk Art Mammy Doll". As time passed I realized that the word "mammy" was found to be offensive by some. Therefore, I  began  listing the dolls as African American (yet labeling them as mammy for the search engines because many people search for these dolls using that term).
AFRICAN AMERICAN LADY DOLL BY BETHANN SCOTT

This is "Cora Mae" by Frowning Francis. The pattern designer described the doll as "nostalgic folk art doll".
Frowning Francis Pattern Cora Mae

According to Wikipedia the word Nostalgic means: "a sentimentality for the past, typically for a period or place with happy personal associations. In common, less clinical usage nostalgia can refer to a general interest in the past, their personalities and events, especially the "good old days" from one's earlier life. Although nostalgia is often triggered by negative feelings, it results in increasing one's mood and heightening positive emotions, which can stem from feelings of warmth or coping resulting from nostalgic reflections.

The doll below was the first doll I made using the "Cora Mae" doll pattern by Frowning Francis.

Because the "mammy" doll is associated with the historical slavery days of America, these dolls are causing some friction in emotions. I would like feedback, positive or negative about the new versions of this doll. Is the doll more acceptable if an African American makes the doll? Is it less acceptable if a Caucasian lady makes the doll? Is the doll below a doll that is acceptable to be made as long as the term "mammy" is not used to describe her? I know this is a sensitive subject, please respond.
African American Doll made by Bethann Scott

YOUR FEEDBACK WHETHER NEGATIVE OR POSITIVE IS WELCOME

7 comments:

Sherri Farley said...

Bethann, You know I consider you an extremely talented doll maker & have never considered your dolls offensive.
As an historical doll maker I occasionally make black dolls and I've have never received a negative comment about them. Lots of things are controversial in our society, it makes for lively discussion and an exchange of ideas. That's always good for the soul and it helps us to see things through others "eyes". HOWEVER, when a company such as Etsy can arbitrarily remove a "new" version of a doll because they consider it offensive and hateful, or "intentionally" made to denigrate an individual or group of people........well that's just plain ole' un American. I thought freedom of artistic expression was for all Americans not just the one's Etsy approves of! I have to wonder, how does Etsy decide which dolls are intentionally made to offend?

Mary Ann said...

Bethann just keep making your African American dolls and sell them via your blog. Anyone with half a brain can see that you put a lot of love, care and respect into them.

Martha said...

I think your dolls black and white are so pretty, well dressed and never have I thought or felt the dolls to be insulting to any group of people. the world has gone sort of crazy in lots of ways and sensible thinking has gone out the window too, atleast about the black dolls. Black dolls are very popular, now, as much as in the past. The antique black dolls seem to be safe, not subject to people feeling them to be hateful against others, or atleast Etsy sees it that way as they allow the vintage black doll. I make mammy dolls too. People love them, just as I do. I for one will continue to make what I feel led to make. Black dolls, white dolls, what ever kind of dolls that I like with out any hesitation, and never with any hateful feeling on my part. I love to make dolls, it is as simple as that come what may. Road blocks will all ways pop up in this world to dishearten us, discourage us, and keep us from making and doing what we are led to do. Remember, God gives us a talent and will and we should use it to the best of our abilities and with a pure heart.

Shashi Nayagam said...

Thank you so much for your sweet comments Bethann on my blog. I think your dolls are awesome and there is nothing offensive in them and nothing wrong in depicting a piece of history. You are not promoting that time in history . People can be so thick brained sometimes. You keep making your beautiful art Bethann.

The Stitch Fiddler said...

Sherri, Mary Ann and Martha I want to thank you for your support and encouraging words concerning the black dolls I make. Yes, roadblocks do come our way from time to time to discourage and dishearten an artist and as an artist I will continue to use my talents.

So far there as been no other comments about these dolls. I'm inviting comments and will post them.

Ana Paula Formigoni said...

I don't find these dolls ofensive.I think your dolls are great And I agree you should continue to use your talents.

The Stitch Fiddler said...

Thank-you Shashi and Ana Paula for your kind words on the black dolls I make.

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