Oh no Souzi

Categories: Native
I found this really cute card while shopping for a birthday card for my friend on Queen Street. I thought it was totally adorable, kitschy and fun so I wanted to share it on my blog for you all to see. But when I researched a little deeper to find out more about the card, I was in for an upsetting surprise.

The card is made by a company called Momiji, which are collectible friendship dolls, which I am sure are hot on the tween set. They even have a little space on their base where you can tuck in a secret note before giving to your BFF. 

When I went to look for the accompanying doll to the card, this is what it read as a description on the Blossom Dolly website:

What a delicate little squaw! Souzi likes secrets and animal-shaped clouds. Her motto is “tea for toozi in the tipi with Souzi”. Bless her. 

Oh no. Well there is a lot of banter around the word “squaw” being used today. I have only heard it used in a racist and derogatory manner, and thus my associations with the word are of disgust. The word originates from an Algonquian word which means woman. Which is etymologically not offensive at all. In fact, Navajo people still use the word and do not see it as a “bad word” at all.

Based on all accounts the company did not mean to cause offense, as they are a Japanese company and may not have understood the intracacies of the word being used in North America. Or something just got lost in translation.

I also found this adorable hippy Momiji doll, Momii Rainbow, who is totally fun in her Pucci-esque print pants (no doubt of polyester). I really do totally want to go out and buy these dolls because they are cute and a lot of fun, but I do find myself a little concerned with the word usage still.

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5 Responses to “Oh no Souzi”

  1. Zhu

    I'm pretty sure the company didn't mean any offense (and the doll + card are super cute!).To their defense, proper terminology can be quite tricky in North American I find. I have heard the word "squaw" before (in French actually) and it wasn't used in a derogatory manner at all. Obviously it's not a word I use every day (if ever!) but I wouldn't have

  2. Lisa ~ Urban Native

    Zhu – I know that this word can cause tension in some areas and not others and is not widely known as a sensitive word. Now that I know the company hasn't issued this word included on their packaging I do feel differently about it as it was a website marketing the doll in this way (in England too). So I feel better about supporting the company and their adorable dolls and cards!

  3. Anonymous

    The phrase was removed. The only description now is her "motto." I hope to buy it, thanks for the post!


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