After the other random discussions we've had here before about Barbies, there was no way I could pass up this story! Liberian Cora Taylor purchases Barbie-like dolls and customizes them to be more "like her." Her first step in this process? To use a hot glue gun and cotton balls to enlarge the dolls' busts and booties.
Next she cuts their hair off so it can be covered with a headscarf and designs and sews each outfit separately. Each doll she creates has a completely unique outfit made out of traditional lapa cloth.
"Lapa is a brightly colored and patterned cloth commonly sold in markets and by tailors everywhere in West Africa. Across the continent in East Africa, similar cloth is called kitenge. These days much of the fabric is manufactured in China, although it is still called “African.” Taylor makes miniature outfits out of the cloth to dress the dolls. She's bothered that the dolls aren't more "authentic" (her words) but she sews away anyway." (Source)What do you think of these "Barbies?" Does their culturally-based uniqueness change the way you think about a typically American doll? Does it make a difference to know that Cora lived in the US for many years while Liberia was at war? What do you think of a woman making a brand her own this way?
Barbie, Served Hot and Cold
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