All I wanted was a doll that looked like me.
Which would be a doll that looked like this:
Being that it was the late 1960s, early 1970s, I guess that look just wasn’t in the catalog at the doll factory. The offerings back then were more along these lines:
I didn’t like it for two reasons. One, baby dolls were boring. Two, it was black and I was not. I felt bad even as a child for not liking this doll. As if it were some test of character placed upon a preschooler. Yet, it was pointed out to me, how did the black girls feel playing with the white dolls?
Next, it was Dawn, the blonde, half-scale, hipper version of Barbie. She didn’t look like me either. But she was the coveted doll at the time. Plus, she had friends with dark hair so that meant something. Not that I got the dark-haired ones.
Dawn and her pals dressed like Bond girls in go-go boots, strapless tops and swingy jackets. They were going places and meeting foxy guys in tight pants. Plus, I got into all kinds of trouble at my private school for bringing these dolls in one day. These embodiments of sin were held hostage in the principal’s office until school let out in June.
But it was all over when I saw a TV commerical for Crissy:
I begged, pleaded, cajoled and whined for a Crissy doll, whose auburn hair could be adjusted to long or short lengths with the turn of a hidden button. She also had cute clothes and seemed so much like the little sister I didn’t have. But Crissy was too much of a phenomenon. She was always “out of stock” or “sold out” or “unavailable.” That’s the line I got for a good long while before someone in the family tried to appease me with this:
Again, does this doll look like me?
Eventuallly I learned to love Velvet, Crissy’s annoying cousin with blonde hair and purple eyes. Was no one listening to my wishes? Did no one notice that I was a dark-haired girl swimming in a sea of blue-eyed blondeness?
It wasn’t until much later that I embraced Barbie and her world.
Look: not a blonde in there. Finally I was able to desegregate my doll collection. It felt much better to have dolls that at least had my hair and eye color. It was another raw deal when I never grew a “Barbie” or “Dawn” body. But that’s a story for another day.
This is why it melts my heart to see my girl from the East choose this doll above all others in her collection.
Need I say more?