I made paper dolls with the kids this week. For the younger kids we worked on colors and their dolls had Halloween costumes. For the older kids we worked on colors and names of articles of clothing. All of them loved the activity, which surprised me. Mostly because I don't think of 13 and 14 year old boys as liking to color. But they did. And so did the girls. I guess that's why adult coloring books are popular...because everyone likes to color.
I did my best to choose paper dolls that reflect their physical make up. But it was hard. Because the better designs, the simpler designs, the designs that weren't wearing lederhosen (seriously) were of people of northern European descent. Yeah. So not really my demographic. But still the show must go on. So I chose the designs best suited to the lessons needs. Because seriously, kids can color hair any color they want, right?
Here's the crazy thing...most of the younger kids colored the hair blonde. We had one brunette, one ginger and one scribble monster that was completely black. But the rest colored the doll hair blonde. Seriously. There isn't one blonde in the joint. I've got the lightest skin but even I have dark brown hair.
I asked the girl smiling why she was coloring the doll with blonde hair (as I conspicuously colored mine dark). She told me blonde is beautiful. What?!
And as I looked around all of the girls were coloring blonde hair. What?!
I took a brown pencil and colored my skin super light. What's interesting is that it's the most realistic skin coloring I've ever done. I mean I've always used the peach or apricot color for my pictures I shouldn't, though. The super light brown looks more like the real me. So what color do these golden brown-skinned beauties of mine color the skin on their dolls? Peach. WHAT?!
Whoa. How about we save orange skin tones for Trump and we stick to something more natural? And seriously, the color of their skin is beautiful. Despite my positive example, they colored their dolls using the beautiful colors of their choice.
Why do we hate our hair, no matter what it looks like? I have straight-ish hair but always slept in curlers as a child and as a teen I always had perms. My sister always got the blonde dolls for Christmas and I got the brunettes/gingers. It probably made life simpler for my parents when there were only two choices in the store. But just once I wanted a blonde doll, too.
About 2% of the world's population is blonde. It's most common in the UK and Scandinavian countries. So why do we idealize blondes as children? Is it because it's what we don't have? I have to admit that as an older teen and young adult I came to embrace my hair. It's a pretty color. It grows quickly. I haven't had a perm in literally 25 years. I don't see myself getting another one for the rest of my life.
With the older children I teach, I also found some of them coloring their dolls more similar to themselves. I like that. To me it shows maturity to accept ourselves as we are. To view ourselves as beautiful. And to color ourselves into the world.