Hey, doll

Part of a second-hand store's street display during a festival

Right away I want to say I am not a doll person in the sense of a doll collector.

I do not own dolls.

The ones I kept from childhood I passed on to my daughters: a rag doll, a few odd Barbie dolls, and Fisher-Price Little People figures. Dolls are for children as far as I am concerned.

The voodoo doll. Now, that’s the exception. That is always a possibility.

I do not collect dolls. I collect pictures of dolls because I’m fascinated with how people repurpose cast-off toys.  Are you familiar with the work of artist Tyree Guyton? The baby doll nailed to the side of an abandoned house on Heidelberg Street in Detroit, in an area known as the The Heidelberg Project, is an evocative image, is it not? If you are familiar with the problems of Detroit, this doll will break your heart. Even if you are not, it’s still a powerful image.

Not all doll depictions are so gut-wrenching. I have a few in rotation on Facebook that generate laughs and questions from friends and looks of resignation from my husband. He uses Facebook as part of a suite of online portfolios and networking tools. He does not always appreciate being married to a doll head with blood dripping from the eyelids.

Most of the dolls I find in my travels.  The one above, Dementina of the zombie apocalypse, reclined on a mod ’60s living room display in a fairly upscale vintage furniture and fixtures store. A little unsettling but also kind of funny. Would I want that in my house? No.

Not actual size of bald, body-less doll head

I have a wooden doll head that a friend who “gets me” gave to me a year ago. I like the look of this bald, body-less wooden head. The wide, wistful eyes, raised brows and lips pursed in perpetual state of surprise make me think of Cindy Lou Who when she finds the Grinch stealing her Christmas tree.   Truth? I don’t know where this head is anymore.

I could go on but you get the point.

Speaking of dolls, here are links to two other posts I wrote about dolls:

Awkward holiday moments
Doll face

Enhanced by Zemanta

Doll face

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:

My first real doll after I outgrew Raggedy Ann (bright red hair) was one that looked like this:

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?