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Make My Day: Make a Doris Day Doll!
Written by Stephanie Finnegan   
Friday, 08 April 2016 21:21

When Doris Day released a portrait photo of her and her dog to celebrate her 92nd birthday April 3, the Internet was enthralled. Doris has been retired from show business for 40-plus years, but she's remained a celebrity because of her tireless commitment to animal welfare and rescue. I wrote about Ms. Day's connection to critters in this week's "The Plush Life" blog, and showed off some of the teddy bears and other creatures that have been made to honor her. So naturally, that got me to thinking about her association with dolls — which, frankly, should be going through the roof about now! I mean, come on, a woman who could confidently hold the leashes on six rainbow-colored poodles deserves to have line of dolls celebrating her verve and nerve.

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Farewell, Patty Duke: A Class Act and a Collector’s Dream
Written by Stephanie Finnegan   
Wednesday, 30 March 2016 14:38

It's always sad when we hear about the death of a famous personality who had an impact on our lives. On Tuesday, March 29, I heard about the passing of Patty Duke, at age 69, from sepsis caused by the rupture of an intestine. For me, Patty Duke was an actress whom I admired, and she was also a teddy bear designer that I had the pleasure of meeting. She was a passionate advocate for the rights of bipolar citizens and the blind. And, most telling of all, she was a genuinely kind and empathetic person.

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When Doll Love Goes Wrong: A Cautionary Tale
Written by Stephanie Finnegan   
Thursday, 24 March 2016 15:35

Whenever my friend Mickey gets dangerously close to ending his love affair with glamorous fashion dolls, he always frets that he is one twist-and-turn waist away from turning into Oskar Kokoschka. When he says that, both of us groan, giggle, and then quickly groan again. For the uninitiated, Oskar Kokoschka is the embodiment of the world's quirkiest and ultimately destructive doll collector. I'll tell you the story of Oskar as Mickey and I have learned it.

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Can You Be a Feminist and a Doll Enthusiast?
Written by Stephanie Finnegan   
Thursday, 17 March 2016 15:28

With March designated as Women's History Month, a very interesting and long-standing question arises: Is it possible to be both a doll lover and a women's rights crusader? For many people, the two categories are totally oppositional. Many strident feminists envision dolls as anchors created to weigh down young female children, miring them in the world of "patriarchal" expectations! Now, all of us on this DOLLS page have a shared history in dolls, and many of us are women. Do you agree with this dismissal of dolls as an out-of-date, out-of-step category? Do you agree with Gloria Steinem's condemnation of dolls: "We've begun to raise daughters more like sons ... We are casting away the trappings of gender expectations, beginning with their toys. You can look at a Barbie doll and say, 'Isn't that interesting? If she were to stand up, she would fall over because her feet are tiny and her breasts are huge. If she was a real person, she'd have to be 11 feet tall.' We can use that construct to raise awareness and consciousness among our children."

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Who Was Rosie the Riveter? And Why Does She Matter?
Written by Stephanie Finnegan   
Tuesday, 08 March 2016 21:23

March is Women's History Month, and the second week of March (Mar. 8, specifically) honors International Women's Day. As part of the week-long and month-long celebrations, events are launched that promote the power and accomplishments of female scientists, leaders, authors, entrepreneurs, and cultural icons. In the doll world — where many people still mistakenly equate "baby doll" with "girly girl," "fashion doll" with "frilly and simply pretty" — there are innumerable real-life personalities who have proven that the art of making dolls is a profession where women have made money, sealed their reputations, and built thriving, profitable businesses. Think Ruth Handler and Mattel, Madame Alexander and the Alexander Doll Company, for starters. The doll industry has been made by, for, and with the power of women.

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Discover Harper Lee’s Legacy for Collectors, Doll Artists, and American Girls
Written by Stephanie Finnegan   
Thursday, 03 March 2016 21:47

A bit of our shared American childhood died Feb. 19, 2016. On that day, Nelle Harper Lee passed away at the age of 89. As we all know, Lee was the author of To Kill a Mockingbird and won the 1961 Pulitzer Prize for that debut offering. In 2007, she received the Presidential Medal of Freedom for her contribution to American literature. This accolade was based upon her one and only book up until that point.

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Toy Fair: Entering the presidential race, doll candidates have something to say about US, us!
Written by Stephanie Finnegan   
Thursday, 25 February 2016 19:40

My fellow Americans, it wasn't so long ago that the idea of a female president of the United States was a punch line for a TV sitcom. We're not talking about the Dark Ages here! If a producer wanted to get a big belly laugh from his studio audience, he could have his show's heroine (imagine Chrissy Snow in "Three's Company" or Lucy in any of her outings) engage in a dream sequence where she's making tough decisions, frantically vetoing bills, and henpecking a male staff at the White House. Of course, the said heroine would wake up, heave a sigh of relief, and then roll over on her pillow, knowing the world was back to normal again. Everybody was safe; there was a man in charge. If a woman resided at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, it would only be as first lady, first daughter, or first mother-in-law!

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Swooning for Superheroes? They’re soaring everywhere at Toy Fair
Written by Stephanie Finnegan   
Thursday, 18 February 2016 16:56

Like with every other Toy Fair gathering for the past century, it snowed — and it snowed heavily — when I arrived at the Javits Center for the 2016 edition of the annual playfest. I don't know why the toy gods are so insistent that I have to always be garbed in snow boots when I walk the miles of aisles, but my sense of fashion was definitely "mountaineering chic" as I cut through the cavernous Manhattan convention site. Because the Toy Fair is such a crazy and quirky place, it's fitting that there is always some kind of wondrous revelation waiting around every corner. For me, I discovered a lot of superhero significance, and athletically coiled dolls that are keeping it real — but in a fashionable and attractive way, of course.

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Like RuPaul Says, Love Yourself . . . and Your Fashion Doll Will Follow
Written by Stephanie Finnegan   
Thursday, 11 February 2016 16:25

In my previous blog, I brought up the heartfelt (somewhat heated) exchange that I endured with my good friend Mickey. Mickey is a firm believer in acquiring dolls that are pure wish fulfillment. He’s found his perfect “home away from home” in the virtual world of the W Club, where he can buy long-legged, long-haired, long-waisted fashion dolls from Integrity. 

 

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Could You Live Your Doll’s Life? And Should You Want That?
Written by Stephanie Finnegan   
Wednesday, 03 February 2016 19:53

There’s been a lot of talk this past week about Barbie and her brand-new body. I’ll discuss it at length next week in my blog. For now, let’s just say that as happy as many collectors are about the more realistic figures, there are some die-hard folks who want glamour, fantasy, and unbelievable silhouettes. Case in point: my friend Mickey.  Mickey is in his early 50s, loves dolls, adores Hollywood, and has never missed a Turner Classic Movie marathon. He is absolutely irrepressible and opinionated. (He’s also not really named Mickey, but has chosen that as his pseudonym because his height falls “somewhere between Mickey Rooney and Mickey Rourke, AND Mickey Mouse has to rank among America’s greatest contributions to the world.”)

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