Mattel is being “kind” by making specialty dolls?
we all have those corporations that we believe-in …. like i believe in Microsoft until one of their updates messes things up again. i still think that when having any type of illness or disability, a person is not their illness and to identify and circle themselves strongly around that is not mentally healthy. yes, reality is something to face, but human being is much more than emphasized differences.
under that philosophy, we would be giving the elderly in care homes figurines or posters with men in diapers–in our own homes there would be pictures of people with canes or i have sinusitis so i should surround myself with images that remind me i can’t breathe? but i don’t do that.
children love anything if it comes with attention — an acknowledgement that they matter. dwelling on the facets of a disability for any person, adult or child — can result in despair.
and again, the psychology of a wheel chair doll or a bald doll is for the sake of saying we are all different and all special in our own ways. like using them as a stand against conformity or exclusions. yet in that process, are simply creating a new group and new exclusions.
it is then the same debate as to whether have special education classes for disabled children, or to keep them mainstreamed. and most of the conclusions are that children do better when not excluded according to their PERCEIVED disabilities or differences.
when everybody goes home, and the child is left with a toy that mimics the one thing that has changed their life forever … if they see it and smile –THAT is called innocence. if my grandmother had given me a demonstrably FAT doll as a child, i might have thought that was cool. at the time……but once the innocence faded, i would seriously wonder how much she hated me. it opens the door to the possibility that the fat was all she noticed and nothing else i did mattered. it was only how i looked that mattered.
toys and educational toys have great impact, especially since they are mass-produced. in my early childhood development classes, were given not just lists of better toys but the psychology of why one will create better results than another. when i taught elementary-level computer science (in the days of the floppy disc) the kids responded much better to programs that had their progress right up front. a positive reinforcement of achievement. now how is having to shoulder a disability, something you should turn into an achievement? a prize, a trophy. i’m not saying that can’t be done — i’m saying should it be done?
you have families already stressing with all the time and energy it takes when a child is in the hospital or permanently disabled — as the child grows the question WILL arise that does my family resent me …resent my needs? that happens with everyone, even those not facing serious illness. if all they return in observation is that you are your illness, then the answer is yes — they must resent me. because i am apart. i am alone. i am the doll with the bald head and i am loved because of my illness, not despite it.