the doll games
shelley and pamela jackson


tapes: transgender dolls


S: Look, my cursor is blinking at "gender issues." It’s interesting that a lot of the dolls switched genders. The weird fact that Harvey and Willy, our quintessential lecherous men figures, were girl dolls originally; they were Little Red Ridinghood and—

P: Grandmother.

S: Grandmother? Oh yeah! See that’s weird, this hidden familial relationship lies behind — which is very Oedipal, but in a bizarre distorted way. Because then you can also refer back to the Oedipal content of the original story, so there are so many layers of cultural reference. Because here we have this relationship of brothers, with Harvey being the more manly and masterful one and Willy who was effete kind of, but would be the same character if he had the nerve.

P: Although sometimes didn’t we try making him a little nicer? A little more mild and harmless?

S: That’s true, he was also nicer. But then that’s odd that what lies behind that is Little Red Ridinghood, who is sexual — the sexual prey — turned into the male predator, and the victim, the grandmother who get eaten, also sexual victim but— so Little Red Ridinghood essentially becomes the wolf.

P: Look, Willy’s hair goes down further on his forehead. Did he have a different hair style?

S: 0h, that’s interesting. No, it looks like it’s just glued down in front. So Harvey’s probably was like that too. But they probably did have a different hairstyle. And we have to analyze their mustaches. In fact we should do a whole thing on facial hair, like make some sketches of their different mustaches and analyze what it means about their characters. Willy’s is like a Hitler mustache.

P: Only friendly.

S: With a certain merriment, yeah. I don’t know if Harvey always had that curly mustache though. Look at him, the fop as predator.

P: Do you remember the origin? How he became a fop?

S: How he became that? I have no idea!

P: I remember when we first gave him this hairdo, and we put that hair oil stuff in it, and it was really sleek and shiny and we combed it into this perfect kind of glossy wing, do you remember? And it looked really great for a while and we loved making it really perfect, with no stray hairs, but it gradually got more and more like this, the hair wasn’t as smooth and it wouldn’t stay together.

S: I definitely remember a lot of hair grooming.

P: In the beginning it was so amazing, the most amazing hair, we used that — what was the product we used?

S: Probably just baby oil.

P: We made it so smooth and perfect and in one piece! And then it stopped working so well — I think maybe because he lost some hair or it just got frizzed out.

S: And that was part of the evolution of his image, you think?

P: I think when we were first creating his character we figured out this hairstyle.

S: Did he ever wear clothes?

P: I don’t know what he could have worn really, other than drag.

S: I can picture him in a cape.

P: 0h! I’m sure he wore a cape.

S: Did we give him a penis?

P: 0h totally. We totally gave him a penis. Look, penis stuff is still on him.

S: Don’t scratch it off! That’s evidence!