HISTORIC CHARACTER, MODERN CONTROVERSY

Golliwog (1)

Know a kid who got a golliwog for Christmas?

Probably not.

Since the late nineteen-sixties the once beloved cuddly toy has gradually been phased out, due to what many perceive as racist associations. (See article below.)

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1136016/How-golliwog-went-innocent-childrens-hero-symbol-bitter-controversy.html

My son got the one pictured in this blog well after they became persona non grata. But he asked my mother to make it for him because, like me, he enjoyed Enid Blyton’s Noddy books, and my old originals featured golliwogs.

Not that I always liked golliwogs. My first meeting with one came at the age of two or three, when I awoke Christmas morning to the sight of a large golliwog looking at me from out of my Christmas sack. I screamed the place down and my parents were forced to lock it away in a trunk until they could give it to a more appreciative child. What caused my reaction, I could not say. Possibly the somewhat unrealistic face (I didn’t like clowns or people in masks much at that point either). But I overcame my initial fears and went on to form a much more favourable impression. I even slavishly saved up Robertson jam labels so I could obtain one of those golliwog brooch referred to in the Daily Mail article. These brooches were of gollies engaged in various activities, but I chose the one of a golliwog playing the bagpipes because my daddy played the bagpipes with the Oxford Caledonian Pipe Band.

For more on the golly controversy (both sides), visit:

www.historyofdolls.com/history-of-famous-dolls/history-of-golliwog/

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2012/sep/21/golliwogs-vile-throwback-tory-mps

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/6359248/Noddy-returns-without-the-golliwogs

https://www.theguardian.com/media/2009/feb/06/bbc-race-golliwog

 

2 comments

  1. Jean Philpott · · Reply

    Gee Renee now I know what to give you for Christmas . . . a golliwog !!LOL Most little ones have had the same reaction to clowns and faces as of such !I know my niece Alex is in her 20’s and is still scared stiff of clowns !! She never did like sitting on Santa’s lap either !!LOL ! Is the photo in your article the actual Golliwog that your Mom made for Richard ? He is so cute !!

  2. Yes, that’s the actual golliwog. Which is his name, too. Golliwog. The kid was so imaginative about naming his cuddly toys. Raccoon. Gorilla. Rabbit. Other Rabbit. And so on.

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