Toy choice blazed trail in mom’s liberation

My older sister Xochitl carried the burden of being our family’s first girl. When you’re the toddling daughter of a progressive-minded father, that means no baby dolls or Barbies under the Christmas tree. And – with Gloria Steinem as his witness – certainly no plastic kitchenettes.

He asserted they were nothing more than traps, those toys, ways of luring girls into roles that kept them in the house and under the radar. So forward-thinking. Forget that my brother’s toys had no stipulations.

It was the ’70s and both my parents wanted in on that women’s liberation thing. My mom, as the woman in the relationship and therefore the expert, thought their then only daughter’s toys should be granted immunity from such a cause. My dad disagreed.

Proving old habits die hard, that was the end of that discussion.

Women who dared undermine their husband’s wishes at that time made up a small, brave minority. My mom would soon join them over the toy debacle.

No one could have guessed that the driving force behind her defiance would be her own fuzzy slipper, also known as Xochitl’s firstborn.

There she was on that early morning in Idaho, my mom’s then only daughter, holding that slipper in her little toddler arms, swaying it back and forth in her rocking chair and singing it tender lullabies.

The vision inspired feelings equally sweet and tragic.

Recognizing Xochitl was one stiletto-in-a-bassinet away from spending way too much time with her school counselors, my mom’s maternal instincts trumped her wifely obedience.

The jingle of keys and the screech of tires was all they heard. When she returned, Xochitl had her first doll and my mom had her first moment of liberation. It must have felt mighty nice to not just talk about the movement, but actually live it.

My dad didn’t bother fighting her, either. I imagine it had something to do with the delight in his daughter’s eyes when she discovered real baby dolls have nothing in common with footwear.

About the doll. She was a beautiful Madame Alexander collector’s item. Probably not the most practical direction the madre could have taken, but she had her reasons for going fancy.

The precious doll wore a frilly, long, sky-blue dress and her eyes, the color of amber, closed when she was laid down. Oh, and she was black. Yes, as in African-American.

My mom may have compromised on the issue of gender roles, but when it came to perpetuating a European standard of beauty on her Mexican-American daughter, she put her slippered foot down.

But, why black? It was the closest thing to brown she could find. She scoured stores before finding that doll of color – which happened to be designer – and reached deep into her purse to claim it.

This was before Latinos became the largest minority group in the country, folks. The toy manufacturers didn’t have to pretend to care about us yet.

By the time my little sister came around, we had plenty of black dolls. And, before Mattel sold Barbies with office attire, we’d pretend ours had both husbands and jobs to tend to.

Perhaps it was more about the messages we received from our parents than the toys.

As for the effect gender-stereotypical gifts had on Xochitl later in life, well, her most recent Facebook update says it all: "Just received my Icing Expert Bottle Kit … Can’t wait to get started on the Christmas cookies."

If it weren’t for the fact she’s a company shareholder today, my dad would be shaking his head and blaming what was quite possibly her favorite Christmas present of all-time: the Easy Bake Oven.

Contact Xazmin Garza at xgarza@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0477. Follow her on Twitter @startswithanx.

ad-high_impact_4
Life
Stop the bleed
Leslie Shaffer, an AMR paramedic, shows how to stop bleeding
Vicki Richardson speaks about on the power of art
Artist and arts advocate Vicki Richardson talks about the power of art to inspire and challenge. (John Przybys/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
DressCoders pairs tech with haute couture
DressCoders is a startup focused on haute couture garments. The company uses illuminated thread that is washable and can be sewn right into the fabric. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
CES 2019: Brava infrared oven
In cooking with the Brava infrared oven,there’s no preheating. the bulbs can reach 500 degrees in less than a second. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Sinks Merge Style And Utility
Study could determine cause of Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s diseases
Dr. Aaron Ritter, director of clinical trials at the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health, discusses his research on how inflammation in the brain impacts Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases. (Jessie Bekker/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Holocaust survivors talk about tragedy and friendship
Janos Strauss and Alexander Kuechel share their perspectives on life. (John Przybys/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
'Siegel Cares' Santa delivers toys to kids at Siegel Suites in Las Vegas
Siegel Cares, the charitable wing of The Siegel Group, delivered toys to families at their apartment complexes in Las Vegas. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Revisiting “Christ the King” sculpture
A longtime admirer of the sculpture at Christ the King Catholic Community in Las Vegas shares her perspective. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye)
Henderson couple adds another school to their generosity
Bob and Sandy Ellis of Henderson, who donate to several Clark County School District schools, have added Matt Kelly Elementary in Las Vegas to their list of schools where every student gets new shoes, socks and a toy. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Terry Fator Christmas House
Arguably better than a hotel holiday display, is Terry and Angie Fator's home located in southwest Las Vegas.
UNLV Winter Graduation Packs Thomas & Mack
UNLV's 55th winter commencement ceremony included approximately 2,146 undergraduate and graduate students who recently completed their studies. (Benjamin Hager/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Build-A-Bear comes to Reed Elementary School
Students participated in a Build-A-Bear-Workshop at Doris Reed Elementary School in Las Vegas, Thursday, Dec. 13, 2018.
Rev. Father Seraphim Ramos talks about Greek Orthodox icons during an interview with the LVRJ
Rev. Father Seraphim Ramos talks about Greek Orthodox icons during an interview with the Las Vegas Review-Journal at St. John the Baptist Greek Orthodox Church. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye
Masjid Ibrahim Islamic Center art depicts names of God
Masjid Ibrahim Islamic Center founder Sharaf Haseebullah talks about new diamond-shaped art panels featuring some of the 99 names of Allah at the main entrance the Las Vegas mosque. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Holiday poultry with Tim and Chemaine Jensen of Village Meat & Wine
Tim and Chemaine Jensen of Village Meat & Wine explain the different types of poultry available for the holidays. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Catholic Charities hosts early Christmas meal
Students from the Bishop Gorman High School football and cheerleader team helped to serve food at the Christmas meal sponsored by the Frank and Victoria Fertitta Foundation at Catholic Charities of Southern Nevada on Sunday. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Incarcerated Christmas
This is the fourth year HOPE for Prisoners has worked with the Nevada Department of Corrections to create a Christmas for prisoners to visit their families. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
2018 Homeless Vigil
Straight From The Streets holds its 23rd annual vigil to remember the 179 homeless individuals who died in Clark County this year.
Getting through the Holiday blues
Psychologist Whitney Owens offers advice on keeping your mental health in check during the Holiday season in Henderson, Thursday, Dec. 13, 2018. (Caroline Brehman/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Operation Homefront Holiday Meals for Military
Operation Homefront Holiday Meals for Military program gave meal kits to 200 families at Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 10047 in Las Vegas Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2018. It all started with a chance encounter in a supermarket in Utica, N.Y., near Fort Drum. A soldier, his wife and infant had a handful of grocery items they couldn't afford. A Beam Suntory employee picked up the $12 cost for the groceries. The program has grown from providing 500 meal kits to military families in 2009 to providing more than 7,000 nationally this holiday season.K.M. Cannon Las Vegas Review-Journal @KMCannonPhoto
An elegant Tea Party for substance abuse and homeless women
An elegant Tea Party for substance abuse and homeless women at WestCare Women Children Campus in Las Vegas. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye
Former 51s manager Wally Backman chats about new job
Former Las Vegas 51s manager Wally Backman talks about his new job with the independent league Long Island Ducks during the Baseball Winter Meetings in Las Vegas, Nevada, on Dec. 10, 2018. (Ron Kantowski/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Inside the kitchen at Springs Preserve
The staff of Divine Events do party preparation in the kitchen at Divine Cafe at Springs Preserve. With nine parties the following day, this is a particularly busy time for the crew. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Pearl Harbor survivor Edward Hall talks about his memories of Dec. 7, 1941
U.S. Army Corps Edward Hall, a 95-year-old survivor of Pearl Harbor talks about his memories of that horrific day. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye
Roy Choi on cooking for Park MGM employees
As he prepares to open his new restaurant Best Friend later this month at Park MGM, celebrity chef Roy Choi took the time to cook for the resort’s employees Tuesday. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Best Friend Menu Reveal Wednesday
Chef Roy Choi tells us what to expect from Wednesday’s Facebook Live Menu Reveal for his new Park MGM restaurant Best Friend. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas Great Santa Run
People participated in the 14th annual Las Vegas Great Santa Run which raises cubs for Opportunity Village.
World Holidays Exhibit At The Natural History Museum
Migratory Bird Day teaches adults and kids to celebrate birds
Different organizations offered activities for kids and adults to learn about birds and celebrate their migration journey at Sunset Park. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like