When my son was five, he asked for a Bubble Fairy Barbie. After years of buying Power Rangers, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and G.I. Joes, I couldn't wait to shop for this gift list item. As he opened the pink box, his older brothers teased him, and his growls back at them didn't make much difference. When the doll emerged, wrapped in organza wings with a drawstring cord that spun the wings and sent her soaring upward, all the critics were silent. Their eyes were wide and their imaginations engaged. Self-propelled flight? Vertical lift? Wearable wings? Soon all I heard was shouts of "let me try!" and "I want a turn!"
Today's listicle is about dolls. The set of ornaments is available in the shop.
- In the short time that JFK was president, his daughter Caroline Kennedy, who was three when she moved into the White House, received more than 70 dolls from heads of state around the world. This one was from Princess Grace. Here is Jackie Kennedy holding the dolls presented by Indira Ghandi, who at the time was the personal assistant of her father, Prime Minister Nehru.
- Here's a fun pic I've never seen before of Caroline's little brother John Jr. playing with a doll in the Oval Office. Another one here.
- Hidden cameras and non-actors help the latest Barbie ad campaign address its body image problem.
- This artist paints still lifes of Barbies and other dolls.
- This Australian woman takes discarded Bratz dolls and gives them a "makeunder". The result is so wonderful!
- Christina Platt of Bamboletta Dolls talks about her doll-making and and how her dolls became collector's items. When you see their hair and clothing, you get it! A fascinating video on how a doll is made.
And this listicle wouldn't be complete without one of my favorite poems, Barbie Doll by Marge Piercy:
This girlchild was born as usual
and presented dolls that did pee-pee
and miniature GE stoves and irons
and wee lipsticks the color of cherry candy.
Then in the magic of puberty, a classmate said:
You have a great big nose and fat legs.
She was healthy, tested intelligent,
possessed strong arms and back,
abundant sexual drive and manual dexterity.
She went to and fro apologizing.
Everyone saw a fat nose on thick legs.
She was advised to play coy,
exhorted to come on hearty,
exercise, diet, smile and wheedle.
Her good nature wore out
like a fan belt.
So she cut off her nose and her legs
and offered them up.
In the casket displayed on satin she lay
with the undertaker's cosmetics painted on,
a turned-up putty nose,
dressed in a pink and white nightie.
Doesn't she look pretty? everyone said.
Consummation at last.
To every woman a happy ending.
Photo by Renn Kuhnen.