Friday, January 20

Barbie, Jill and those weird Trolls ...

Join us, originally uploaded by fd.

I have never been a Barbie person; the closest thing I ever owned was a Jill Doll in the 50s/early 60s. Barbie was too thin and deformed (those feet!) Jill had a little more meat on her bones, and her feet were proportionately normal. Jill wasn't top-heavy. Translate that: Triple-C boobs on Barbie ... probably A or B on Jill ...)

I was tempted to ask for a Barbie when my best friend in 4th grade got a Ken doll with a convertible sportscar ... she also had Barbie, complete with closet and a traveling trunk full of fabulous clothes. Maybe I did ask for Barbie and I have my parents to thank that I never actually had one, because they refused to cave in. But then I figured since I wasn't into fashion, or boobs, it was okay. Besides, my Jill seduced her Ken away from his Barbie (I suppose it was an affair, but I'm really not sure if her Ken was actually married to her Barbie. Or not. In any case, I had no guilt feelings about the Jill/Ken affair.)

My Jill and my best friend's Ken regularly made out under the Bridal Veil Spirea bush growing next to our basement door. The bush formed a perfect little cave where they could hang out on summer days with blankets and snacks and of course, me and my friend, Tess.

Spirea, originally uploaded by Something To See.

Eventually, troll dolls moved into the neighborhood and Jill, Barbie and Ken were forgotten in favor of these short, chubby creatures with silly facial expressions.

We built an entire troll-village in the branches of our front yard oak tree. By that time I had realized I was not a seamstress and I did not want to grow up to be like Jill, much less like Barbie (and I did not want a Ken-like boyfriend, either, thank you very much!) Besides, troll dolls' outfits were immesurably easier to "sew" than Jill's high couture (to make troll-clothes, I just had to cut out little rectangles with scissors and poke a couple of armholes. If I wanted to get fancy, I sewed or glued-on some snaps. ) I wrote about what soured me on sewing in this blog post.

Okay, now I get to the point of this post -- what inspired me to think about Barbie and Jill and that little hideaway under the spirea bush? Pam at Blue Between shared this link to Margaux Lange's wonderful, humorous jewelry made from Barbie doll parts. When I saw these brooches, I thought, "Now, there's something I would wear - just to make a statement. Hmph." These are so cool! I agree with Pam that the jewelry is a little disturbing, but that's never stopped me from doing/wearing something that can start conversations.

On her Barbie-jewelry site, Margaux Lange writes in her bio,
Whether you love her or hate her, there are few who feel neutral about the plastic princess. I am fascinated with who she is as a cultural icon, her distinguidhed celebrity status, and the enormous impact she has had on our society. Specifically, I am intrigued with her influence in defining gender roles of women in contemporary American culture.