Goodness, it has been awhile, hasn’t it? I’d sworn I was stepping away from this blog, but since my other blog is “for my dolls” and hasn’t been used yet (I think I’ve forgotten the password already), and what I’m saying here isn’t really related to anything my dolls would “say,” I decided to dredge this one up for one last hurrah.
So, if you’ve been following my adventures over at American Girl Collectors since I stepped away, you’ll know that a few new dolls have joined me here at the Ranch: “Cousin” Kanani Akina, a beautiful gifted Caroline Abbott from a dear friend, and most fun for me, a My Twinn girl with absolutely the bitchiest face I’ve ever seen on an 18″ inch play doll.
Clearly, things had gone downhill since I’d gotten Zoë, but like clapping your hands if you believe in fairies, I clung onto My Twinn like a life raft. They gave my growing gang some diversity in face molds, they were still cute, they could share clothes… what was not to love? Quinn took some doing at first. She badly needed to be eyeswapped (which I did) and needed fixed eyelashes (which I did), I restrung her because she was so loose-limbed that she couldn’t stand at all, and I straightened her wig because the beautiful curls she had tangled if you so much as looked at them. You’ll see her later.
But today… today I have ended my relationship with My Twinn. And it hurts the way a breakup does, because I love my girls I’ve gotten from there, I was looking to add one more, and I believed wholeheartedly in the company.
Often times, to kill time while I’m waiting for friends to pop on AIM that I can annoy, I’ll peruse doll sites and look at things that catch my fancy, and add to my growing Pinterest wish board. That’s what I was doing when I saw what I saw.
First, I saw that of the 50-some pages of Adopt-a-Friend dolls on the site, there were several in the “Helen” mold I wanted so badly. I Pinterested a few and then kept looking, paging through and looking for dark skinned Twinns.
That was… odd. There… weren’t any?
Nope. There really weren’t any dark-skinned My Twinn Adopt-a-Friends. Plenty of Light Brown, but no straight up Brown. Still though, I was non-plussed. On my board there’s a lot of people who have added some Twinns to their collections, and my board is made up of people who love and appreciate Dolls of Color. (Seriously, our message board fucking ROCKS. Not just because we have diverse collections. But because we just are that awesome.) And there are other people out there too, who recognize that representation matters! Maybe they just got bought up! After all, My Twinn makes almost the prettiest black 18″ play dolls (after the Queen Bee, the HBIC herself, Addy Walker, your fave could never, etc) with some beautifully varied face molds! Yeah, that’s the ticket! Just sold out!
But… why wouldn’t they make more to throw on the Adopt-a-Friend pile then? Curiouser and curiouser…
Undaunted, I clicked over to the Custom Doll Designer to play around a bit. I’ve yet to order a custom doll, but I always had designs on ordering a black girl with red hair and light eyes. Because racial markers be damned.
So… that was a thing. Your choices now, if you were to want a custom My Twinn of your very own, are Very Fair, Fair or Olive. No light brown, no brown. Your only choice for a doll darker than cooked oatmeal is “olive.” The Just-Like-Me doll is now the “Just-Like-Me as Long as I’m White” doll.
Excuse me… I must gif.
What. Is. This. Fuckery?
I immediately dashed off an email to My Twinn, asking if this was correct. If this was a thing that they had done on purpose. And expressing my disappointment if this was indeed the case, pointing out that My Twinn had been held up by me, and other people I know, as a doll company that really did the Doll of Color thing right. I told them I couldn’t in good conscience remain a customer if they were going to do something as racist and erasing as this, posted on AGC and my Instagram, and went and snuggled Zoë for awhile.
Why would they do this? Obviously, first and foremost, my mind goes to racism. I don’t know what other possible reason there can be to remove only the darker skin tones from their website completely. It’s certainly not a website glitch.
I presume that the company is falling on hard times again after their bankruptcy in the early aughts. Their constant sales have proven, time and again, what prices people are willing to pay, especially as the quality control in the dolls goes down. I don’t know many people willing to pay $99 for a doll as… lets say flawed (though it was a flaw that made me fall in love with her) as Quinn was when I got her, that they’d then have to return (less a nonrefundable $30 “customization fee”) or spend the money to fix up themselves (eyes, eyelashes, wig, restringing supplies, faceup supplies, etc… that shit adds up!) when they can get a doll they can see right off the bat needs some work for cheaper during the sales and invest the difference in supplies. I’m sure, also, that the discontinuation of the not-my-cuppa-but-still-pretty 23-inch doll line hasn’t helped matters any.
To me, bankruptcy is no excuse. If your company is having that much trouble (as I assume they are), the last thing that seems like a worthwhile, plausible or good idea is to immediately alienate some of your customers or potential customers by removing the darkest skin tones from circulation. My bestie Neth from American Girl Outsider was looking to buy another from the Adopt-a-Friend Orphanarium at some point, but now that she’s seen what they’ve done, she’s decided that her doll money will go elsewhere, because she can’t in good conscience give her money to a company that has decided that people of her skin color aren’t worthy of a beautiful custom (or premade-but-still-beautiful) doll anymore. Me? Though I am a white woman, I prefer dolls of color myself, and if I can’t get the doll I want from My Twinn anymore, then I too will spend my doll money elsewhere. I’m already eyeing an Our Generation doll that I’ve fallen deeply in love with. And there’s plenty of other brands too, and surely more to come.
For a long time I was perturbed by My Twinn. In fact, I was staunchly out-of-favor with them because I my brand-loyalist self was unhappy with the wholesale ripping off of American Girl once the 18-inch line was introduced. My tune changed after I held my sweet little Zoë in my hands and I became a My Twinn fan.
And, it is painful in a way I didn’t realize it would be, to lose something I appreciated. Sure, their clothes left a lot to be desired, but when you already have a wide selection of clothes thanks to the dolls you already have, that doesn’t matter so much. It was the dolls, those gorgeous dolls with those cute face molds, that kept me perusing that site for hours. It was the variety of face molds and skin tones that had me referring people to them.
But not anymore.
So, sorry My Twinn. You had a good thing going. Once I got over myself, I appreciated you for what you brought to the game, and the dolls you created that are loved members of my doll family.
But with this, I close this chapter. Because I will be damned if you ever see another cent of my money.