What a waste of space.
did you just
An onna-bugeisha (女武芸者) was a type of female warrior belonging to the Japanese upper class. Many wives, widows, daughters, and rebels answered the call of duty by engaging in battle, commonly alongside samurai men. They were members of the bushi (samurai) class in feudal Japan and were trained in the use of weapons to protect their household, family, and honour in times of war. They also represented a divergence from the traditional “housewife” role of the Japanese woman. They are sometimes mistakenly referred to as female samurai, although this is an oversimplification. Significant icons such as Empress Jingu, Tomoe Gozen, Nakano Takeko, and Hōjō Masako are famous examples of onna bugeisha.
As I’m walking through Target with my little sister, the kid somehow manages to convince me to take a trip down the doll aisle. I know the type - brands that preach diversity through displays of nine different variations of white and maybe a black girl if you’re lucky enough. What I instead found as soon as I turned into the aisle were these two boxes.
The girl on the left is Shola, an Afghani girl from Kabul with war-torn eyes. Her biography on the inside flap tells us that “her country has been at war since before she was born”, and all she has left of her family is her older sister. They’re part of a circus, the one source of light in their lives, and they read the Qur’an. She wears a hijab.
The girl on the right is Nahji, a ten-year-old Indian girl from Assam, where “young girls are forced to work and get married at a very early age”. Nahji is smart, admirable, extremely studious. She teaches her fellow girls to believe in themselves. In the left side of her nose, as tradition mandates, she has a piercing. On her right hand is a henna tattoo.
As a Pakistani girl growing up in post-9/11 America, this is so important to me. The closest thing we had to these back in my day were “customizable” American Girl dolls, who were very strictly white or black. My eyes are green, my hair was black, and my skin is brown, and I couldn’t find my reflection in any of those girls. Yet I settled, just like I settled for the terrorist jokes boys would throw at me, like I settled for the butchered pronunciations of names of mine and my friends’ countries. I settled for a white doll, who at least had my eyes if nothing else, and I named her Rabeea and loved her. But I still couldn’t completely connect to her.
My little sister, who had been the one to push me down the aisle in the first place, stopped to stare with me at the girls. And then the words, “Maybe they can be my American Girls,” slipped out of her mouth. This young girl, barely represented in today’s society, finally found a doll that looks like her, that wears the weird headscarf that her grandma does and still manages to look beautiful.
I turned the dolls’ boxes around and snapped a picture of the back of Nahji’s. There are more that I didn’t see in the store; a Belarusian, an Ethiopian, a Brazilian, a Laotian, a Native American, a Mexican. And more.
These are Hearts 4 Hearts dolls, and while they haven’t yet reached all parts of the world (I think they have yet to come out with an East Asian girl), they need all the support they can get so we can have a beautiful doll for every beautiful young girl, so we can give them what our generation never had.
Please don’t let this die. If you know a young girl, get her one. I know I’m buying Shola and Nahji for my little sister’s next birthday, because she needs a doll with beautiful brown skin like hers, a doll who wears a hijab like our older sister, a doll who wears real henna, not the blue shit white girls get at the beach.
The Hearts 4 Hearts girls are so important. Don’t overlook them. Don’t underestimate them. These can be the future if we let them.
You can read more about the dolls here: http://www.playmatestoys.com/brands/hearts-for-hearts-girls
This is the most amazing thing! Little sisters heck! Have you got nieces, granddaughters, cousins, daughters? Not only girls of color can benefit by having dolls like these, but white girls who are growing up in a world of color!
Sleepy Killian ❤
COSMIC LOVE: HANGOVER HELL TO ELECTRIC HEAVEN. Cosmic Love was composed in about an hour: I had a hangover crushing down on me and when the song arrived it came as sweet release. That name was always a joke: a bad working title that’s ended up sticking to it forever: neither the words ‘Cosmic’ or ‘Love’ appear at any point in the lyrics. The song is about being blinded by love. At first you want to escape, to find your way out of the darkness. You see a map in the stars above and you know that you can find your way back home, but then you realise that your love is the darkness, so you decide to stay: you give yourself willingly to a starless existence. Pretty much just that, yep. A lot of people read this song in a lot of different ways. I like that a lot and I encourage it. David Vann - one of my favourite writers out - once wrote something beautiful for me about this song. I will always be grateful for that. I drifted through a dreamy day making the dreamy video for Cosmic Love. I danced around in whirls of smoke and autumn leaves and a bazillion lightbulbs, me all catsuited, hot to the point of hallucination. I love the dress that Petra made: hundreds of little lights congregating around the heart: my electric blood, electric love. This is my favourite song from the album, so the video had to be special. I knew I wanted my friends Tabitha and Tom to direct it. I think it’s the best video so far and I hope you like it. As I was typing this I found another leaf in my hair … x