…Most of the shoppers looking for Tiana dolls are African-American mothers, but Disney reports brisk sales of Tiana nationwide and not just at urban retail stores. But for the moms and aunts and grandmothers we met at this Target, we heard the same thing as Gwen Arnold told us: Tiana isn't just a doll; she's a symbol.
One baby-boomer aged woman looking for a The Princess And The Frog doll notes that when she was growing up, "[There] was just one type of doll, just the white dolls. That was it. So there wasn't any choice when I was growing up at all."
Another mom tells Raz:
I think the times have changed a lot. And for especially the younger girls, at 9 years old, you have your first African-American president, that's probably going to be all that they ever remember, not the things that I remember from growing up. And then to see their first African-American princess, that's wonderful for them.
Some years, the hot Christmas present comes with a lot of buzz: Cabbage Patch Kids, Tickle Me Elmo, Beanie Babies. But none of those toys carry the historical weight Tiana carries with her, being Disney's first black princess. Whether the significance is apparent to kids — or is just something moms are aware of — is debatable. But you get the feeling that unlike toys which get forgotten or tossed, the Tiana doll will be a gift to remember.
[Image via Toys 'R Us]