Viola Davis Says She’ll Never Buy Her Daughter Barbie Dolls

The actress says she mindful about building up her daughter’s self-esteem.

Viola Davis and her daughter, Genesis, in Hollywood, Calif., on March 27, 2015
Viola Davis and her daughter, Genesis, in Hollywood, Calif., on March 27, 2015 Tommaso Boddi/Getty Images for GBK Productions

Viola Davis is taking a well-thought-out approach when it comes to the type of toys she allows her 6-year-old daughter, Genesis, to play with. And, unlike some parents, Davis says she’s not a fan of her daughter playing with dolls.

In an interview with Essence, Davis spoke about only buying toys that help educate her daughter and build her self-esteem.

“I don’t give her Barbie dolls, to be honest. The only sort of ‘dolls’ that she could [have] are superhero dolls; she just got [one] in the mail. Mostly she plays with small animals. I don’t want her to begin to create images throughout her life featuring women that do not look like her at all that she puts too much value in. I’m trying to do as much as I can to train her up to love who she is as much as I can,” Davis said.

Davis also went on to speak about the mantra that she and her husband have her daughter recite.

“She says the two most important parts of her are her heart and her head,” Davis explained. “I want Genesis to know that her values are within.”

When it comes to a lot of dolls not being representative of young black girls, Davis may be on to something. Davis also says she realizes she’s a role model not only to her daughter but also to black girls all over the world, and that she wants to change the black woman narrative about “never letting them see you sweat.”

“Everything is about not letting anyone see you sweat, not owning up to your vulnerability or your weaknesses or your failures. I don’t think that you can live a life for two minutes and say that you’ve never failed or you’re not struggling through something or you’re not getting ready to. If you’re saying that, then you’re 100 percent lying and the people who are looking up to you who are struggling; you’re not helping them,” Davis said.