Group Hopes Black Baby Dolls Will Bring Smiles, Pride this Christmas

By: Janelle Lilley Email
By: Janelle Lilley Email

Between magazines and movie stars, body image issues have become prevalent among young girls, especially in the black community. However, one group of students is trying to change that.

Baby dolls are piling up in the office of Rev. Andrea Cornett-Scott, a professor at Mary Baldwin College. More than 200 are stacked in a small room, and she says they have money to buy more, if they can find some.

"When we go into the stores, often we cannot find the dolls," comments Cornett-Scott.

In the next week, the dolls will be wrapped and placed under the trees of young girls in the area.

"Part of the project is to help parents who are unable to provide Christmas for their children, and to help them so that we don't even say that they're from us, but that parents can give them under the tree," says Cornett-Scott.

However, the project wasn't just about giving dolls to girls in need. It was about providing self esteem through dolls that look like the girls who receive them.

Student Justine Ryan knows what it's like to struggle with self esteem. Growing up, she was self conscious of her curls.

"I made a big distinction that, 'Oh her hair is extremely good, my hair is bad,'" recalls Ryan.

Ryan, who now wears her curly hair proudly, says it's an image problem shared by many black women.

Rev. Cornett-Scott says the issue can be seen even in early childhood.

"Often times they value the white doll as the one that's better. One that is special," says Cornett-Scott.

So, when Ryan heard about the Black Baby Doll Project, she knew she had to be a part of it.

"I think it's amazing to have something that looks like you. I think you will cherish it more," comments Ryan.

She also hopes that, by cherishing the doll, the girls will begin to cherish themselves as well.

"I personally think if I had the black baby doll project when I was little, I wouldn't have had as many issues with my self image," adds Ryan. is happy to provide a forum for commenting and discussion. Please respect and abide by the house rules:

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