Oh Golly!

Golliwogs; racist icon or loveable relic?

According to wikipedia and other reliable sources, Golliwogs began to fall out of vogue in the 1960’s. Up until then, children were able to enjoy racially insensitive stories about Golliwogs by Enid Blyton and her three dark-skinned characters named ‘Golly’, ‘Woggie’ and ‘Nigger’. In Blyton’s much loved ‘Noddy’, the main protagonist helps out a Golliwog who then steals his car. But apparently the Golliwogs popularity and reputation were hurt not by Blyton’s sick penchant for racism but by the association with the word ‘wog’.

‘Wog’ has obscure origins but appears to have been used in history as a derogatory word aimed at any ‘non white’ person. Hence why these rag dolls are now referred to as ‘Golly Dolls’. And why they place at number four on Time Magazine’s Top 10 Dubious Toys List between the Breast-Feeding Baby and the Mentally Ill Straight-Jacketed Teddy Bear.

Given the scope of my [limited] research, it is a mystery to me why the small quaint fishing town of Strahan, Tasmania has, among its ‘well priced eateries’, gift stores that sell un-PC plush toys.  According to my boyfriend, who fished the above Golly out of a basket from underneath more traditional native Australian plush toys, there was a choice of two pant/jacket combinations.

I can’t say I frequent toy or gift stores but I don’t think i’ve seen ever seen a Golliwog on the main land. Perhaps un-pc gifts are to Tasmania what pornography and fireworks are to Canberra? Nothing like discovering and utilising your niche market.

This entry was posted in Misc, Social Commentary and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Oh Golly!

  1. ajax151 says:

    I know this post is nearly a year old, but I am finding myself developing a skewed vision of Australian society, and I want someone to remedy me of that view. Looking up Enid Blyton on google I came your page and another page by an Australian paper. I was very impressed by your social dissection and your stance on socially accepted racism but this was posted underneath the Australian newspaper article (news.com.au?) Even as the UK rejects the primordial aspects of accepted aspects of Enid Blyton’s racism, we have this neo-racism under the banner of “anti-PCism”. I used to think of Australian as an admirable society with views more progressive than that of the UK, but what the hell are these?

    Tanya of Perth Posted at 8:00 PM October 19, 2009
    One day there will be no tv due to racism, prejudice, sexists & chauvenists, bigots, discrimination, slander, false advertising, offensive content, sexual innuendo, too suggestive… basically anything that has more than a G rating will be banned…
    val lincoln of Brisbane Posted at 9:36 AM October 19, 2009
    I think it’s ridiculous I was brought up with Noddy and loved the golligwog I even had a golligwog badge if people don’t like it then tough it’s political correctness gone mad.
    Brian of Melbourne Posted at 9:54 PM October 18, 2009
    How ridiculous. How PC do we have to be? What’s next, outlawing the word “Black” because it’s deemed “racist”? FFS
    Robert Scott of Sydney Posted at 9:54 PM October 18, 2009
    What’s next – Snow White gets a make-over? Bloody ridiculous!
    Bryce Posted at 9:54 PM October 18, 2009
    Someone has no idea of what racism is about. By leaving out the Golliwogs they are being racist. They are deliberately treating the Golliwogs differently, based on their Golliwog-ness. That is pure racism. Including Golliwogs


    I don’t want you or anyone like you to accept any personal responsibility but honestly I just want to understand these kind of comments. They deserve a post in it of themselves from an Australian perspective.

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