|Buy a Doll, Save the World?|
When it comes to Internet surfing, Iâm like the Big Kahuna of the cyber waves. There isnât a byte of information or a massive thread that Iâm not willing to throw myself into (or onto, if weâre talking successful surfing). Recently, I came across a columnist from Chicago who was wondering if dolls were still wished for by anyone: Were there still little girls out there asking Santa for a âBetsy Wetsyâ or a "Barbie" to call their own?
His conclusion was that, yes, there were a few, but they were the exception and not the rule.
It makes sense to me. Dolls are wish fulfillment, and being âprettyâ is still on the top of most young girlsâ aspirations (and pretty high up for us old girls, too, for that matter). Living in a world of rampant nips-and-tucks, and out-of-control plastic surgery, we all have the potential to be just one Botox injection away from permanent Barbie-hood. Is that a good or bad thing? I guess you have to ask Ken.
Itâs funny, but years ago, dolls used to be given to little girls not only for play and amusement, but for life preparation. Since more often than not, tiny Tina and small Sally would grow up to be moms, the baby doll was like a crash course in miniatureâa little life lesson. The eager miss who would play for hoursâchanging the diapers, giving the bottles, staging elaborate burps and bathsâwas unwittingly getting ready for what sheâd be doing over the course of her life, or until menopause hit her!
Now, thatâs a bleak Christmas sentiment. If you follow this thread, then itâs akin to training and grooming a child into a role that has been picked out for her since her cradle days. Not a very merry musing for us 21st-century free-thinkers.
I wonder if the decline in little girls clamoring for dolls (and that is a sad fact) can be traced to the emergence and acceptance of the feminist movement. Have records been kept to see if there is a correlation between the disenchantment for baby dolls and the rise of Title IX and girls being included in after-school sports? I would be curious to know.
From my own personal experience, I sense that the little girl with her nose pressed up against a display case, oohing and aahing over an adorable doll, is a rarity. Most of the kindergarten and early-grade girls I know might have one or two dolls (given to them, not requested) and tons more stuffed animals. On top of that, they have a more palpable fascination with soccer, kung fu fighting, iPods, computers, and other toys that would have been considered âboyishâ during my youth.
When I survey the friends I have (some married, more not), and even the married ones without childrenâand proud to be soâI start to think: Is this all the end effect of not being a doll-driven culture anymore? If kindergarten Katie isnât force-fed the importance of feeding and caring for her baby doll, will she grow up NOT to care much about a real offspring one day?
Iâve never really considered the hand-in-hand connection between wanting to baby a baby doll, and then growing up to baby a real infant, but it has to be there. I mean, I canât simply be imagining this!
Birth rates are down in Western nations, and the young women today who are confidently striding through their careers and their condos most likely did not sit on Santaâs knee and dream exclusively of dolls and strollers. Iâm not saying that a thirty-something CEO was asking Santa Claus for a lunch box shaped like a briefcase or an exclusive gym-boree membership, but there is a very high chance that she was doing something beyond the brushing and combing of acetate doll hair.
What, then, does doll buying say about us and about our young girls today? If we buy dolls for our children or grandchildren to play with, are we âdoomingâ them to a life of household drudgery and frazzled daycare? Are we relegating them to a throwback life of domestic chores? Or are we showing them that there is much to celebrate in caring and loving someone outside of ourselves? Is the gifting of a baby doll an invitation to nurture another soul, a welcoming nudge into the world of selflessness, not selfish single-minded pursuits?
Iâve never really pondered the ramifications of Christmas gifts on a personâs future psyche, but itâs all become crystal clear to me. I remember one episode of âThe Waltonsââone of my most favorite TV shows everâwhere the whole family chips in to give John-Boy a ream of paper. When he opens up the paperâwhich honestly looks sort of cruddy and pulpyâtears well up in his eyes. He is moved beyond words, because this gift will allow him to put down his words, and his dreams, and will usher him into the world of being a writer.
Without knowing it, I was being set up to be a grown-up who loves to write, who loves dolls, and who loves to write about dolls! Just think of it: Iâm like the Manchurian Candidate, but made by Mattel. I was programmed to be a doll junkieâI didnât have a fighting chance.
Now, thatâs a Christmas sentiment that is more chilling than a Northeast winter morning. Hereâs hoping thereâs lots of dolls in Santaâs sleigh this year. I know Iâm going to head out and buy an armload! Buy a doll and save our world!
(Visiting different Web sites, I see that for many young women, baby dolls might be passĂŠ, but the realistic teenage and adult BJDs seem to be inspiring lots of folk to express and expand their creativity. There may not be a Million Mom March in the future, but expect lots of female Oscar-winning directors.
In the Victorian and Edwardian Era, dolls were a staple of the nursery. They helped train the little girl to be a future good mommy (top).
Trackback(0)TrackBack URI for this entry
The 2015 DOLLS Awards of Excellence Industryâs Choice winners (DAEs, also called the Diamond Awards) were announced at the International Doll & Teddy Bear Show in Asheville, N.C., June 6. The Industry's Choice winners will go on to become the nominee's in the Public's Choice voting, set to begin in late June.
Without further ado, here are the winners of this year's Industry's Choice Diamond Awards!
The Jones Publishing Lifetime Achievement Award is bestowed upon one recipient per year. This award was created in 2002 in conjunction with the 100th anniversary of the introduction of the teddy bear, with the first recipient being Steiff, a German-based plush toy company known for its high quality and prices.
The Lifetime Achievement recipient must be or have been involved in some aspect of the doll and/or teddy bear field for a minimum of 25 years. The recipient may be an individual, partnership, corporation, company, author, artist, marketer, historian or any other industry professional. Lifetime Achievement Award nominations may be made by previous recipients or members of the LAA committee.
To qualify as a nominee, entrants must meet the following criteria:
The Lifetime Achievement Award has been presented to the following individuals and companies since its inception:
2003 Hildegard Gunzel
2004 Alexander Doll Company
2005 R. John Wright
2006 Wendy Lawton
2007 Virginia Turner
2008 Toy Shoppe
2010 Helen Kish
2012 Maggie Iacono
2013 Heidi Plusczok
2014 Jack Johnston
2015 Kaye Wiggs
August 8, 2014 - Blackall Associates Inc. is proud to announce the winner of its Summer Heat Photo Contest. The contest drew entries from around the world. Masterpiece Doll collectors sent in a special photo showing how their Masterpiece Dolls were enjoying the summer heat.
You havenât seen a toy show until youâve seen this one. Six buildings! Over six hundred exhibitors! Exclusively toys and dolls and childrenâs playthings on display everywhere! This is the show everyone always says they intend to visit, and now is the time to do just that. Collectors say the Chicago Toy Show really is the largest in the entire world. They are correct. Collectors say they find toys at this show that are never seen anywhere else. Correct again.
19 April 2014 â 5 October 2014
A special exhibition will take place at the Toy Worlds Museum Basle to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Japanese-Swiss diplomacy and friendship.