Baby doll

Woman Slams Black Baby Doll’s ‘Overdone’ Features, Sparking Debate

A TikTok video published last month went viral after a woman shared “exaggerated” features found on a black doll in Australia.

TikToker @jeanchronicles posted the video on February 12 which has now been viewed over 3 million times.

“Buying black dolls for my daughter in Australia is like that,” @jeanchronicles wrote in text superimposed over images of the doll.

In the video, she shows off three different dolls which she calls “Black”, “Brown”, and “White”.

“That’s the overdone nose, forehead and mouth for me,” she captioned the video.

Clinical psychologist Nanika Coor spoke with a children’s clothing retailer, Maisonette, on the importance of representation in toys. Maisonette also sells dolls made by Miniland, the doll maker responsible for the dolls in the video.

She said when kids of color don’t see themselves represented in toys and media, they don’t feel valued.

“They start to wonder why they’re not there or think they need to assimilate into white society, change to belong,” she told the company. “And white kids get the same message: that kids of color don’t belong in their world.”

@jeanchronicles, who has lived in Australia for nearly five years, shared Newsweek in an email that his intent behind posting the video was to shine a light on representation in toys.

“I’m a black mother raising a black child and I’m also part of a group of black mothers where this conversation about the video started,” she said. “My intention behind this video was to show how often we are overlooked in terms of representation, even when it comes to the toys our children play with. I am trying to raise awareness for more and better representation for our children. It’s not just about being portrayed but how we are portrayed is just as important!”

The video opened up a conversation about racial representation, though many commenters shared contrasting and sometimes combative views.

“You act like they don’t have[sic] these features why? But if they gave them “white” features yall wld[sic] call it lmao white wash,” one commenter wrote.

“[T]there’s literally nothing wrong with that,” another wrote.

Another commenter added, “It’s cool for kids with these characteristics to see themselves…but you have to wonder who decided to do this.”

A video has gone viral on TikTok after a mum shared images of a black doll with “exaggerated” facial features. Above, a file image shows young children playing together.
Rawpixel/Getty Images

Others have noted that the dolls could have been intended to represent indigenous people – the indigenous people of Australia.

However, on the website, minilandlabels the dolls as “African”, as @jeanchronicles notes in the comments section.

According to the company’s website, Miniland also offers dolls labeled “Asian”, “Hispanic”, “Latino” and “Caucasian” as well as dolls intended to represent children with Down syndrome.

In a statement provided to NewsweekMiniland said that over the past few years they have worked “directly with various groups, such as Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, to create lifelike dolls in their likeness.”

The statement adds that the dolls are all designed and modeled after real children that the designers have met and “inspired”.

“Just as we have realistically created other ethnicities in our line of dolls, our African and African American dolls are a direct representation of the spirit of their communities and empower children of these and other ethnicities to play with dolls that reflect this heritage and culture – often for the very first time,” the statement continued.

“Physical features vary in size and shape within each ethnic group we create, allowing more children to find dolls they feel connected to and can see themselves in.”

@jeanchronicles added a series of pinned comments below the video this week explaining that she had “avoided” the comments but wanted to address a few things.

“There is nothing wrong with the features but these are adult features on a newborn!”

“If that was the intention, shouldn’t all dolls have been made with characteristics that they become??”

@jeanchronicles said Newsweek that although Australia is “trying”, it still has a long way to go when it comes to representation.

“My daughter goes to play centers/church/school and often doesn’t have toys that look like her and I worry about what kind of message that sends to a young child,” she said.