Friday, 2 March 2012

Golly Gosh


Little could Florence Kate Upton have known the controversy that her character, Gollowogg, would cause years later after he first appeared in her children's story "The Adventures of Two Dutch Dolls And A Golliwogg" in 1895. At that time there were no negative connotations associated with the golliwog. Golly has appeared in several popular forms over the years, namely in Enid Blyton's stories, where he was mostly naughty and wasn't portrayed in a positive light. British readers will be familiar with the Robertson's jam golly who appeared as the brand's mascot on every jar of jam or marmalade. Recent years has seen a decline in the golliwog and he has been removed from jam labels and has been re-created in story books, racism being cited for the reason.

So, imagine my amazement when I was in the city and saw a shop window full of golliwogs. It wasn't just one window either! Bold and brazen, smiling out at the passing public. Obviously political correctness hasn't reached this shop. I wonder what you think about them? (For the record, I don't feel offended by them or see them as racist)!

11 comments:

Julie said...

I do not have a problem with the doll itself. I quite like the persona it presents. If this doll is racist, then is a non-black doll racist, too?

I might, however, have an issue with the name 'golliwog'. It sounds demeaning. Hang on a tick and I will find its derivation ... dum de dum ... mmm cannot find anything intelligible, they are all banging on about racism, not etymology.

cara said...

Too much water under the bridge for me to not be uncomfortable with it.

When you are brought up to associate certain things as taboo, it's very difficult to change it. I also cringe every time I hear Aussie cricket commentators refer to the Pakistani players as "Pakis". Nobody bats an eye here but in England, as you know, it is considered a racist slur.

Lincoln Eye said...

The Golly in the window affair: first she was charged, then the charges were dropped (on a technicality):

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-suffolk-15429369

Dianne said...

What a delight ....just gorgeous! I agree with
Julie ...are white Barbie dolls considered racist or lightly tanned rather slant eyed Bratz dolls racist? I think not.
A wonderful capture Al .

Ann said...

I grew up with Enid Blyton so its all too PC for me. Mind you just about everything is too PC for me these days.

la fourchette said...

I find these dolls charming...and it's a really nice shot!

Hey Harriet said...

Oh I just stumbled upon that shop window display yesterday and was also amazed to see them! I thought the dolls were adorable and it was a nice surprise to find them. While I don't find them offensive or see them as racist I do understand why some folk do. I owned one as a kid and loved it! It was my fave doll!

Kirsty@Bonjour said...

All I know is I miss Golliwog biscuits, which were discontinued as they were seen as non-PC!

AL said...

Thanks for all your comments.
The 'wog' part of the name seems to have been dropped in recent years for it's connotations. Golly or golly-doll seems more acceptable to some. The notion of reverse-racism has cropped up many times when asking the question of non-black dolls. I guess there will never be agreement over this issue.

Mark (from Staffordshire Daily Photo) said...

I guess it's what the dolls represent. They are associated with 'piccaninies' which are, basically, a racial stereotype from an era of American slavery... which no one wants to remember in any kind of jolly way. It's a bit like seeing a Jewish doll with a large hook nose - it just conjures up memories of an age that wasn't good.
Yes, I was surprised to see them; and it was well spotted by you, Al.

Kerry flawless135@netspace.net.au said...

Hi! Could you please tell me the name of this shop? I collect (and adore!) golliwogs and I'd love to see a shop full of them :D

I believe golliwogs actually come from the Dutch character Zwarte Piet who helps Sinte Klaas (Santa) at Christmas, especially since the Florence Upton books had Dutch dolls with the golly too. I also saw a British antiques expert on "Antiques Roadshow" and she had the same theory as me! :)

Anyway, thanks for sharing your great photo's, I live in Brisbane too and it's nice seeing pics of things I haven't seen before :)