the doll games
shelley and pamela jackson




S: But to go back to what the sexy dolls represented, I was just thinking about why there was this difference between how we related to Dawn and Harvey. I mean obviously they also were just different, Harvey was more humorous, he had a big head. But also he was more likable; we actually had some affection for Harvey in his haplessness and cluelessness. But Dawn we specifically didn’t like. We never felt any sympathy for her or found her a charming clownish figure. We took pleasure in her defeat.

P: She wasn’t amusing, she wasn’t a caricature in funny ways. Harvey was this great combination of really goofy and— I mean, he couldn’t possibly compete with big Josh for manliness, or any of them for attractiveness. It wasn’t possible to really laugh at Dawn, partly because of her physical perfection. Even though she was always splitting at the waist! She always had that huge bandage around her waist, and bits of glue stuck to her body.

S: The weirdest thing was when she would start stretching. The tape wouldn’t actually separate, she wouldn’t actually come apart into two parts, her top and bottom would just sort of go farther and farther apart as they slid out of the grasp of the bandage.

P: So her torso would get longer and longer.

S: But that was like the legs-falling-off moments –that wasn’t going to damage her attractiveness, because that was outside the reality of the doll games. I mean it wasn’t like she was the sexy woman who also occasionally happened to break in half, and therefore was a freak woman as well, she was just the sexy woman. And occasionally there were breaks in the reality texture of the game when we had to repair her. But that’s interesting, because there was something about big Josh that was unfortunate–not that his legs came off, because that again was just a reality crack, but that his legs dangled in embarrassing ways. That became part of his demeanor, and therefore made him uncool. Even though it was just a function of his loose wiring in his hips.

P: But imagine if we had had a Dawn-like boy. Maybe like Ken. We probably would have tried to turn him into a good character.

S: He would have been the hero!

P: Yeah, he probably would have. But couldn’t we have had a conception of this skanky good-looking male, or would any good-looking guy automatically turn into a romantic hero? That’s so sad!

S: Well see, part of the problem is we were so anti-femininity. And there wasn’t as much wrong with the male model of perfection from our point of view, except insofar as they were boneheads, presumably. The problem with Dawn was that she had enormous breasts and tiny pointy feet. So even though we acknowledged that she was beautiful, we were uneasy with her because she was this false ideal of womanhood. Whereas the men–

P: We weren’t suspicious of the manliness of big Josh.

S: We should have been, because he had that huge chest and everything— and we were sometimes I think— but we thought maybe he was just that way by nature.

P: Because he was a man instead of a boy.

S: And we knew that Dawn was only the way she was because of the toy manufacturers and their oppressive images of womanhood.

P: Did we actually think about that?

S: I did, although in our heads we switched it so we blamed the characters for it, since we were treating them as people, not dolls.

P: Yeah, and that was part of our scorn for B*****, because we knew B***** was–

S: She was evil, because she epitomized that view of womanhood that we were against.

P: Although Dawn is actually worse-seeming than B*****, don’t you think?

S: Why, because B***** is huge and powerful like a giant comedy wonder woman?

P: Yeah. Dominating.

S: Only because she happened to be built on a larger scale than our other dolls, though.

P: But it makes her massive and robot-like. Like this Amazon.

S: That’s true. But Dawn has the same proportions as B*****.

P: But there was something about the tininess of Dawn next to the boy dolls that made her more icky.

S: Yeah, but there was an extra cultural dimension to B*****, because we knew what she represented.

P: Right. And we knew that we weren’t playing into that, because we had Malibu Skippers!

S: We had Skipper dolls and they had flat feet!

P: Although Mara and Melanie were suspiciously perfect too, as we’ve been saying...

S: But bosomless!

P: But we added those.

S: Ugh.

P: She cannot answer that.