Always Winter, Never Christmas
October 13, 2015
Determined to be unhappy about something, the Guardian’s Michele Hanson turns her drab, sad face to the subject of superhero dolls:
They’re bendy and athletic, rather than stiff, pointy and girly. The teenage version of superheroines.
Not pointy. Not girly. Um, that’s good, right?
They have physical powers rather than sex appeal.
Again, I’m not quite seeing the problem here.
I suppose it’s a step in the right direction.
Heavens. Things are going suspiciously well today. Perhaps a but is coming.
But why do the new dollies have to look so odd? Why the super-long anorexia-style legs and the thigh-gap? The weeny torsos with no room for innards? The giant or robot-style heads, the big (mainly) blue eyes and formidable eyelashes?
Um, because they’re small plastic dolls based on a cartoon about comic book characters – you know, toys, designed to amuse children? And not, therefore, geared to the preferences of a self-described “single older woman” who writes for the Guardian. And I suspect the “thigh-gap” that so offends Ms Hanson has quite a lot to do with making a small, poseable doll with legs that can actually move.
They still give me the creeps. Dolls always have.
And… well, that’s it, really. So, class. Today we’ve learned that Ms Hanson isn’t a fan of dolls with big eyelashes and insufficiently discernible internal organs. At this point, readers may detect a hint of frustration, the sense that our grievance-seeking columnist has tried very hard to find fault with an unremarkable product – some damning evidence of sexism, perhaps – and then fallen on her arse. Indeed, just days earlier, the dolls in question were hailed by the Guardian’s sister paper, the Observer, as “challenging sexism in the toy industry,” in part because said toys were “designed by women following creative input from girls.”
Thwarted in her fault finding, Ms Hanson concludes by sharing a childhood memory, the point of which is somewhat unclear:
I had a pram full of animals when I was little, but my auntie insisted that I have a dolly, because I was a girl, and she gave me a cloth one, with moulded cloth face and shiny, pretend hair. But I scribbled all over its blank, spooky face, pulled its hair out, and my mother had to hide it from auntie in the wardrobe. Forever.
So there’s that.
Readers may recall Ms Hanson from this earlier display of factual rigour and socialist bonhomie.