Black dolls represent only 6% of the models manufactured by the main brands that sell these toys in Brazil, according to the survey Cadê Nossa Boneca, made by the organization Avante – Educação e Mobilização Social. The percentage is lower than the 7% recorded in the survey done in 2018.
The survey was carried out in August this year, in sites of virtual commerce for 14 of the 22 toy manufacturers associated with the Brazilian Toy Manufacturers Association (Abrinq). According to the survey, eight sites were under maintenance. Among the companies analyzed, only eight had black dolls in their respective inventories. In all of them, according to the study, the proportion of black doll models compared to white dolls is less than 20%.
“If you go out on the street and look at the shops, you will know,” says the psychologist, an associate consultant at Avante and one of the creators of the Ana Marcílio campaign. “You count the dolls in the window, count the stores with a window with black dolls and then count the number of dolls in each store, you will see that it is ridiculous”, he adds.
The Cadê Nossa Boneca movement was born out of the dream of Ana Marcilio, Mylene Alves and Raquel Rocha, of seeing more diverse showcases and toys that actually represent Brazilian society, which according to the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE) has 56, 1% of the population is made up of black people. The survey was carried out in 2016, 2018 and now, in 2020 and the percentage of models available on the market has changed little. In 2016 it was 6.3, increasing to 7% and now to 6%.
Ana explains that it is in childhood that children build the imaginary, hence the importance that, in a mostly black society, this is portrayed as something positive. Having only white, thin and blond references makes it understood that this is the beauty reference. “This is the impact of the doll. This is also the black doll. Imagine having tracks, blacks, a diversity of afro descendant and african cuts and hairstyles, different types of braids, having it all in a showcase, a showcase all diversified. The child will want to have that hair, he will find that hair beautiful ”, he says.
The impact of children, whether white or black, having access to dolls of different colors can reach adulthood, helping to combat racism, according to the psychologist. “If we don’t have this symbolic imagery, how are we going to break racism? Racism is materialized in the deaths that we have, in the countless lives taken early, either by the inoperability of the public system in health and education, or in deaths through the police and militias, which have decimated the peripheries. The construction of the imaginary has everything to do with the number of deaths and violence that we live in this country and in the world ”, he says.
According to the president of Abrinq, Synésio Batista da Costa, there is a growing demand and companies have increased the production of black dolls. According to him, five years ago the percentage of models of these dolls was 0.1%. In 2020, he says that participation reaches 12%.
According to Costa, not all models are available in sites, so they were not counted in the survey. Some are yet to be released. “This is more successful than ever. You have no idea of the number of companies that are betting and launching black dolls for this Christmas ”.
The factories decide the models based on market research, explains Costa. “It is not the factory that defines which doll [vai produzir]. Our salespeople go to 15,000 points of sale in the country and the shopkeeper defines it, based on the market he has ”.
In the absence of large companies, smaller manufacturers conquer the market. This is the case of Amora, which since 2016 has been producing black dolls and other toys that take into account racial issues, such as puzzles and crayons with different skin tones. “Demand exists and supply is low,” says Geórgia Nunes, Amora’s creator.
The idea of creating Amora came when, in 2015, Georgia sought and found no black dolls to take to a social action. She then decided that she would do it herself. “We talk about the black child being represented in the toy and from that positive mirror build a world where he sees himself as the protagonist. Without references, which represent them positively, without representation in a world where most dolls are white, with white characters, this creates absence. It builds a childhood of absence, in which the child is not seen in places. It creates in the imagination that you cannot access those places ”, he says. For each Amora doll sold, another affirmative toy is distributed free of charge to public education institutions.
The return comes from smiles, like that of Lucas, 11 years old, son of Ana. “When he sees the Black Panther, when he received the black dolls in his life, you see the smile come out in an enormous facility, he says’ it looks like me , mom ‘and start collecting dolls ”, says the mother. (Agência Brasil)