As I am 0n maternity leave these days, I try to fill my days visiting friends and family. Chhori loves it when we go out and meet people. It keeps her happy and makes my days pass quicker.
On one of these visits, I decided to visit one of my friends as I hadn’t seen her for a while. She and her husband are both from Nepal and have two daughters, 4 years and 2 years so it was a perfect play time for Chhori. We planned to catch up at her place so I drove there with Chhori.
I was having a great day with the girls as they were excited to play with Chhori and they had a million questions about her, which was too cute. I was seeing Chhori’s future in them. Both the girls were happy to share their toys and food with Chhori.
As it was afternoon, the younger of the girls was sleepy so my friend took her inside for nap. I was left with her 4 years old and Chhori and we were playing and talking when the following conversation stopped my heart for a while. Let me call the 4 year old Maiya for this post.
Me: “I love your long hair, so pretty, who braided it?” (I was just trying to make small talk)
Maiya: “I don’t like my black hair and I don’t like my skin either. I love Rosie and she is my best friend because she has white skin and blonde hair.”
Thinking it was just a conversation, I continued,
Me: “I actually like your skin, so soft and nice and also like your hair too as it is black and long like mine, your mums and Chhori’s too. Look at us we all look so similar because of our black hair.”
Maiya: “No aunty, blonde hair and white skin are beautiful and I am going to have them too. I want to be a beautiful princess.“
Me: “You are already beautiful my darling and you are a princess.“
Maiya: “But all my favourite princesses have blonde hair and white skin. Also all my favourite people in the world have them too like Rosie, S aunty (her mum’s SIL who is Swedish).”
I really had no reply her comments because she seemed to have them deeply carved in her mind. We live in Sydney where there are lots of white folks with blonde hair, we give her toys with similar features and she also watches cartoons and reads book where most of the time beautiful princess are white with blonde hair.
Later I spoke to my friend and she said that is her normal conversation. Maiya loves white skin so much that she asks her mum every day when she will be white like Rosie. She is not even dark, she is fair with big beautiful eyes and long black hair. But for her, beauty is not in black hair or brown skin.
I am sure I will be facing similar situations once Chhori grows up and I don’t know how to deal with it. I am sure all of you out there have faced similar situations with your own kids, please share how you deal with it. At times I am scared of the future when we have to deal with so many questions from Chhori and we will be lost for answers.
Thanks everyone in advance and see you soon with another post.
M from nepaliaustralian
I feel like this is something almost all young girls of colour go through. I certainly wondered why there were no dolls that looked like me, and I always preferred dolls with blonde hair. I believe your positive comments about how the child is also beautiful is helpful, but it helps to have dolls that also look like the young ladies who so love them. Mattel has finally come out with Barbies of all shapes and sizes… Perhaps there is one that will look like us! 🙂 best of luck.
The first doll we bought for Chhori was Dora and she loves it. She also has other dolls but Dora is her favourite. I am always looking for more natural looking dolls than Barbie as they are not suitable for babies.
I remember when I was young, I used to use my mum’s sewing machine and make Sari blouse and kurta for my dolls as I didn’t understand why every doll wears only dress. I guess these days I could find dolls with sari and other outfits too.
True! I’m sure Mattel does them now as they’ve become more inclusive to ethnicities and body types.
I need to find one for Chhori soon 🙂
I think travelling to Nepal frequently or different places where other races exist will change the perspective of children about their own and others.
That is so true. I am going to take Chhori to Nepal often so she learn about race, food , culture and also lean to appreciate what she have.
We need to be happy with the gifts God or Higher Being have given us. I love my grandson who is 1/4 black. I also love my dark haired son and daughter and blonde daughter too. 🙂
I hope Chhori will understand this once she is old enough…
I think Chhori will feel happy and well loved. When you feel loved you don’t wish to be someone else. ♡
I am also from Nepal
Thanks sharing. :))
I am from India, my husband is (white) American and we live in a diverse part of the United States . Our daughter looks more like me than my husband, is almost 7, and has never asked a question about her skin color. I think a BIG part of this might be that there are other mixed race kids in her class, there is a large Hispanic population here and my daughter’s skin color could be considered Hispanic.
My daughter has never been a doll girl- so it has been relatively easy to keep her away from the “fair is beautiful” stereotype. That said, perhaps Maiya and her mother could watch shows where the main characters are not blond and white. I am not sure what is available in Australia but the Public Broadcasting Station channel here has some pretty good cartoon shows where you can’t really tell the race of the characters. There are a ton of Barbie and other doll brands which now manufacture dolls in various eye, lips, skin shade, and hair types.
Thank you so much for your input.. I hope I would be able to bring up my Chhori like you and hope she will understand the meaning of real beauty…
Congratulations on your beautiful baby!
Thank you so much…
There are some really cute dolls out there that come in shades other than white/blonde… check these out, they are fantastic. Not sure if they’re still in production but I bet you can find them resold too… http://playmatestoys.com/brands/hearts-for-hearts-girls
The whole ‘princess’ thing bugs me a lot because yes, Disney did for a very long time base its stories off European fairy tales (where the princesses are almost always white and blonde except for the ‘fairest of them all’ Snow White who has dark hair) … Jasmine and Pocahontas (don’t get me started) and Tiana are there but I remember when Princess and the Frog came out and it got maybe 1/10 of the marketing hype that Frozen did… I can see it little consolation for a toddler to say “but Tiana!” when everyone else is Elsa for Halloween… 😦 Are there Nepali TV shows for kids with heroines that look like her? The Meena cartoons are cute and translated into a lot of languages, including Nepali and English. It’s definitely a start, but it can’t be a cure-all in a society that still epitomizes whiteness as beauty 😦 The messages contradicting that seem to have to be constant and pervasive, which is a ton of work that you should not have to do 😦
Thank you so much for the link.. Omg they are so beautiful.. I am going to buy few for her…thanks again…
As a parents you need to teach your kids about inner beauty since they young, teach them a ancient Buddhist and Chinese wisdom I am sure they will grow up beautiful and wise
Thanks hope I will able to be a good mum and help her to be a beautiful soul..
This was my post about Skin Colour and handling M’s questions on the same. This was way before choir was born :). Please read the comments section, You were the first person to comment on my blog , also read RM’s comment , she gave a wonderful solution to handing this issue.
Thank you for the link ..I can’t believe I am on this boat and your posts and comments did really help …
I’m sure when the time comes, she will appreciate her unique beauty. I hope that she can soon learn that beauty is what’s in the inside and the outside does not matter. Good luck 🙂
Thanks gal, I hope so too…
the answer is to start a side business
selling hand made beautiful asian or nepali looking dolls – lol
you can call them nepali princess dolls :)))
or later on she might like a guy and that guy thinks
dark haired girls are pretty
always teach children beauty is also an inner quality
I wish I could start one I am sure it is great idea 🙂
Sad that she feels this way. Perhaps later she’ll come to appreciate her appearance. With that said, it’s true that Hollywood overloads us with western European ideals of beauty.
I hope so but living in western countries I am sure it is not easy for them either. ..
It’s a shame that white skin and blonde hairs are so deeply in the minds of children due to the toys and cartoons/ comics available world wide.
I will see how our son will deal with it as he has currently dark brown hairs and they will just get darker over time. I had myself fully blonde hairs as a child and by now they are brown…
Thankfully in Chinese tv program for kids everything is pretty muchasian looking and those Walt Disney pricnesses are not that spread ..
I think it would have been easier for our kids if we were in Nepal as they will see everyone is same but here it is bit harder for them too as they see they are different than others. I hope Chhori will understand the meaning of real beauty soon and will be happy about herself .
Yes, it is always harder for kids to grow up in an environment where they look different than most people around 😦
She can dye her hair at an appropriate time, no problem. Most blond hair come from the bottle, anyway.
That is so true but it is hard to get white skin…