HomeReviewsInterviewsStoreABlogsOn Writing

I Like My Princesses Like I Like My Coffee

Thursday, April 12, 2012
Posted in: willaful

Yesterday, a Groupon sent me to a site called frecklebox.com which sells personalized items for kids.  I was checking out the lunch boxes and came across the “Looks Like Me” series: lunch boxes with princesses, mermaids, fairies, etc. that come with different hair and skin colors.

Aside from the fact that little boys who like princesses get screwed, as usual, I thought this was pretty cool.  It’s a shame you can’t mix and match — there’s no way to get a brown skinned, red haired princess, for example — but at least white is no longer the inevitable default. And the illustrations are cute and cartoony, appropriate for young kids.

What struck me as funny — in both the “hehe” and the “that’s odd” way — is that the models are only identified by hair color.  To get a dark skinned princess, you order the Black Hair princess. To get a lighter brown princess, you order Brown Hair.  If you want a white princess with brown hair, you order Dark Brown Hair. (I’m not sure if I can legally use their images, but you can see the lunchboxes here.)

It seemed to encapsulate, in a small way, how uncomfortable we still are about race in the United States. We’ve come far enough along to make an effort to represent different skin colors, but we can’t identify that skin color is what we’re talking about.


  • Maili
    April 15
    8:15 pm

    That’s the sort a friend’s teen daughter has to deal with.

    She’s a British Jamaican, so her natural hair colour is blonde and her eye colour is hazel (green-blue-grey), but her skin colour is mid-brown and her hair type is, as she puts it, kinky.

    She gets frustrated whenever she goes to an online make-up site because most don’t seem to recognise or accept that black people do have non-brown eye and hair colours.

    Such as, when she clicks on ‘blue eyes’ for suitable eye-shadow colours, they show only the ones for white people. Ditto for ‘blondes’. Yet when she tries the ones that caters to black women, all suggested colours are wrong for her.

    Thankfully, her mother has a good friend, a make-up artist, who’s able to offer her some make-up suggestions and advice. But what about the others who aren’t that lucky?


  • I’m completely make-up illiterate, so I sympathize. The last time I tried to buy make up, for a dance performance, I wound up with the world’s ugliest looking fake tan.

    It seems particularly unfair that the media *adores* biracial people for commercial use yet the culture at large ignores them.


RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URL

Leave a comment