Re: Toy Story

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I wanted to be-toy a doll.

IYKWIM.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 3:16 PM
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I didn't have any dolls, only action figures.


Posted by: Adam Kotsko | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 3:17 PM
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I didn't have any dolls or action figures, only sticks and rocks.


Posted by: Grumps | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 3:18 PM
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Did anyone else listen to TAL this week? Elna Baker (practicing Mormon comedian/storyteller--her other stuff is really charming, too) tells about working as a "nurse" for a doll "adoption" department at FAO Schwartz when there's a weird mid-summer run on the babies and they run out of all but the black babies and one factory reject.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 3:19 PM
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Heh- I had original sized GI Joes. The dress up part was kind of a pain in the ass to get to the killin'. Plastic army men were easier, but lacked the authenticity of the Joes.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 3:20 PM
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4: Yes! That may have been what inspired the conversation, now that you mention it. That was a weird piece.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 3:21 PM
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There is an important customs case from the late 50's (I believe) that established that, for legal consideration, at least, an action figure is not a doll since an action figure is for boys and dolls are for girls. (This had to do w/ G.I. Joe action figures.) In a much more recent case, it was established that X-Men figures are not, as their maker claimed, dolls, since dolls depict humans and the X-Men are mutants and so not human. Important decisions you must not forget.

My wife grew up in the Soviet Union. She didn't know many, if any, black people. She had a black doll but thought it was a Baba Yaga doll and so called it that. She says she's a bit ashamed of this now.


Posted by: matt (not the famous one) | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 3:25 PM
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My good liberal parents gave me dolls, but all I wanted was trucks.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 3:27 PM
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I will also add that I never (no never) owned what I disdainfully called "a human doll." When I was three, a babysitter tried to give me a Cabbage Patch Kid, and I remember trying to be polite until she left and then screaming about how disgusting "human dolls" are.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 3:28 PM
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The doll-aoption bit AWB mentions in 4 is here, Act Three.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 3:33 PM
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^d


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 3:34 PM
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There is an important customs case from the late 50's (I believe) that established that, for legal consideration, at least, an action figure is not a doll since an action figure is for boys and dolls are for girls.

Holee carp.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 3:38 PM
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The closest I got to balls-out dolldom was stuffed animals. I had a flock of stuffed animals, most of which I scavenged from my much-older sisters. Some of these I've put up in my office at home, as I slowly morph into a creepy cat lady but with an awesome boyfriend my parents slowly expunge their home of parenthood.


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 3:38 PM
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I just listened to that TAL and was going to blog about it! Yes, go listen.

Also, the musical accompaniment for this post should be "Angelina Jolie" by Edie Sedgwick.


Posted by: Becks | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 3:39 PM
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If you go to Elna Baker's website, you can also listen to a very funny story about a Mormon Halloween singles party, and some other pretty interesting, well-told stories. (There's a video of her telling the Halloween story on her Myspace, if you're into video. She's pretty adorable.)


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 3:42 PM
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Robust- at first I thought you said you a flock of stuffed animals, most of whom were scavengers. Like Buzzards or something, I guess. That would have been cool. I also had a lot of stuffed animals and was very worried that if I spent more time with any particular one the others would feel bad. (And maybe turn on me.)


Posted by: matt (not the famous one) | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 3:43 PM
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balls-out dolldom

I'm going to be repeating this to myself all night. Thanks.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 3:48 PM
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When I was a kid, I had a teddy bear that I pretended to have a sentimental attachment because everyone had decided I had said attachment and I didn't want to seem heartless. His name was Arnold, and I believe I dressed him in a pair of overalls from some other doll at some point, after which the other doll went pantless.


Posted by: Adam Kotsko | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 3:53 PM
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I had a doll my mother made; it was vaguely-humanoid, had a cartoonishly large head, and was mostly two cut pieces of fabric and a lot of Polyfill. She made a dress for it, but later a pair of jeans arrived. I named it Murgatroid Smith.


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 4:04 PM
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In a much more recent case, it was established that X-Men figures are not, as their maker claimed, dolls, since dolls depict humans and the X-Men are mutants and so not human. Important decisions you must not forget.

Was this decided in Genoshan courts?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 4:09 PM
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I had a doll that peed.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 4:10 PM
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I slowly morph into a creepy cat lady

I'm watching you, McManlypants. I haven't forgotten.


Posted by: dob | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 4:11 PM
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i enjoy this thread
i confess i beheaded a doll once or maybe more than once, when i was young and was disappointed to find that it's hollow, i saw inside the head the mechanism by which it opened and closed eyes, in its back it had something to cry with a lot of pores outside
the doll was blonde in a short blue floral ornament dress, there were other dolls, but they were my younger sister's
well, all our dolls or van'ka-vstan'ka, all the toys were destined to be broken, i remember we had a cashier toy, red one, like a real mashine though small, that one also got broken, so i don't have any remnants of toys as a keepsake
my orange rabbit stuffed toy was from Bulgaria, dad brought it from there, pretty big one, it was washed many times and looked awful after sometime, also lost his head, a lot of vata inside
i played with toys until maybe 6-7 yo, then i switched to books and lost interest in toys


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 4:50 PM
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"Was this decided in Genoshan courts?"

I think some commenters on the internet did call it the "Dread Scott case of the 21st Century."


Posted by: Matt (not the famous one) | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 4:51 PM
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I had Madame Alexander dolls. In fact, my first Madame Alexander doll was a much much earlier version of this one. Her name was Suzianna, but after we cut her hair, she sometimes also went as Wolfgang---the company didn't make enough boy dolls for our plot needs. We played with these dolls until we were embarrassingly old. I know precisely where in my parents' house they all are and what their names and preferred personalities are.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 4:59 PM
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Our dolls were beheaded rather often (accidents!) but the rubber-band mechanisms inside were simple enough, if sort of tricky, to reset. Down in the basement, my dad had a drawer of limbs and heads from our first few dolls, which really truly terrified me when I was young. Our basement was a dark spidery kind of place even without dismembered dolls.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 5:02 PM
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My mom made me a very beautiful doll out of cloth and yarn and embroidery and polyester fiberfill. At the time, my HEART'S DESIRE was a Cabbage Patch, but they were like a hundred dollars and we couldn't afford them. So this was her substitute, although at the time I couldn't appreciate how much better it was than the real thing.

My doll (Annie) was actually the second one she made. The first one was intended for me, but when my little brother, who was about three at the time, saw it he nearly died from desire, so she asked me, very nicely, if I would mind giving it up to him, and she would make me another, more beautiful one? And so I did, and she did, and indeed, Annie was the much more beautiful, with curly yarn hair. My brother's doll (christened Dorothy by me, but called Dotty because of his juvenile rhotacism) was an obvious, shoddy first draft, but he loved the ugly thing and took her everywhere, because he was little and didn't know any better.

The sad coda to this story is that although I loved Annie, I continued to beg my parents for a CPK, and a year or so later, they saved up and bought one for their ungrateful and tasteless, but very happy, daughter.


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 5:07 PM
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i wondered now whether breaking toys was abnormal behaviour and read now that it's called challenging or destructive behaviour and people try to break that habit and even set some criteria etc
well, we never were punished for breaking the toys and i'd never broken a toy out of anger as far as i can remember, just it was curiosity i guess, very calmly digging its insides, sometimes it was even dangerous, van'ka vstan'kas for example even cut hand skin, very sharp edges, coz plastic


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 5:10 PM
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I had a Madame Alexander Emily Dickinson doll. I loved her, but never really played with her because I didn't want to mess up her hair. She is still in her stand on the top of the bureau in my old room at my parents' house.

My sister took my Cabbage Patch when she was two or three and dragged her around by a leg, ruining all her yarn hair. I was upset. My dad, as dads do, intoned that it was more important for me to see my sister happy than to have a nice doll or something to that effect. Still remember that. Not sure in the way he had hoped, tho.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 5:13 PM
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Just yesterday, Caroline was playing with Oxy, the Ugly Doll that oudemia gave her.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 5:13 PM
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I used to switch out the legs and pelvises of GI Joe guys.


Posted by: Adam Kotsko | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 5:17 PM
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Another doll much beloved by me and my siblings was Cowgirl Elizabeth, who wore pants and a fringed jacket and cowboy boots. She was snapped at the waist in strenuous play, whereupon my mom screwed her torso into the neck of an empty Clorox bottle and sewed a long dress that hid her legless condition. She was Clorox Elizabeth afterwards, and lived a quieter life, but was no less loved for that.


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 5:18 PM
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Come to think of it, we only had girl dolls, but my brother played with them too. Later, he accumulated some "action figures," which were all male, and were his alone.


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 5:20 PM
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My dad, as dads do, intoned that it was more important for me to see my sister happy than to have a nice doll or something to that effect

Wait, I've said that to my daughter. How do you remember it, and how do you think think your dad wanted you to remember it?


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 5:21 PM
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I loved her, but never really played with her because I didn't want to mess up her hair.

We felt sorry for kids like you.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 5:22 PM
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My parents were insanely thrifty, but they did shell out for good dolls, and they were almost fascistically anti-fetishist. "No use in having nice things if you don't use 'em." I heard that so often from both of them that it's made me wonder which of my grandparents refused to use nice things.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 5:25 PM
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I had a strange aunt who had a kind of doll museum in her home, her home which, if memory serves, was an apartment in Jersey City. Said aunt was something of a mystery to us, and discovering her existence later than would be expected weirded out the the siblings oudemia (oudemia [aged 12], brother+15, and brother+13), "We have an Aunt Quelque'chose?!" No one was allowed to touch any of the dolls on display.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 5:27 PM
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30: Yay!


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 5:28 PM
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Somewhat in response to the original post, I should confess that I first requested that my mom make a blonde, blue-eyed doll, which became Dorothy; and then a redheaded, green-eyed doll, Annie. I never wanted, and never had, a doll that looked remotely like myself.

But you know, kids, they're all fucked up about race.

Now that I'm all better with myself, I plan to bypass this problem with my own children by making sure that their dolls have no skin, no hair and no eyes.


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 5:28 PM
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I confess that I always thought that jms was a guy from my undergrad who had the same initials. I am rapidly learning that I was way off.


Posted by: Adam Kotsko | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 5:30 PM
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I confess that I was sorry afterwards when I asked you to post your dissertation online, Adam. I thought it was clear that I was joking. I didn't think you'd be offended.


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 5:33 PM
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I confess that my last comment should have been posted elsewhere, namely, on Adam's blog. And this one too.


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 5:35 PM
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My brother had an Action Man, which I coveted because his doll (unlike all my sister's dolls) had cool accessories like tiny knives and guns. Also, the Action Man doll could parachute - he was just the right weight for the size of parachute we could make. (My mom, being a pacifist, did not buy her children war toys. If we wanted guns, swords, forts, tanks, or an Action Man, we had to buy them ourselves.)

I had toy animals, instead of dolls. I liked animals better.


Posted by: Jesurgislac | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 5:35 PM
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||

A guy here on Ambien sleepwalked barefoot out into -30 degree cold and froze to death.

Note to self: Ambien is not your friend.

|>


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 5:48 PM
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One of my aunts gave me a very fancy Cabbage Patch Doll that was so fancy it had a porcelean face and hands. It was deemed so special that I couldn't play with it, and it was stashed way up on the top shelf of my closet where it could not even be seen, let alone harmed. When I took it down years later, it had been completely destroyed becuause of the intense light and heat of being next to the closet light bulb.


Posted by: Becks | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 5:52 PM
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When my mom was pregnant with my sister, my parents became worried about how I would deal with having a baby around so they got me a doll, a baby girl doll with plastic head and limbs and cloth torso. When they gave it to me I had no interest in it and immediately threw it in a corner somewhere. Sometime later, when my sister was old enough to explore the house on her own, she found the doll and became extremely attached to it. She named it Baby Doll and was practically inseparable from it for so long that the torso eventually wore out and had to be replaced.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 6:24 PM
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The Offspring had an almost life-size doll when he was an infant - he'd spent the first few months of his life in an orphanage, sharing a cot with a couple other babies, and he was lonely. As all he could say was "bobobobob", the doll became Bob. I found the doll at our local toy store, where they kept marching out baby dolls until the OS reacted to one. At age three, he also had a black baby doll that he named after the baby sister of his best friend. That doll, he had demanded, as it wasn't fair that his BF had a sister and he did not.

[Re: recognising race/gender: The OS came home from daycare one day and asked if I knew that babies came in colours. I agreed that yes, he was one colour and his BF was another colour and his crush Megan was another colour... To which he replied 'Not that, Mommy! That's just people! Babies come in pink blankets for girls and blue blankets for boys!' [He later expanded this to girls drive pink spaceships and boys drive blue ones.]

Other than that, it was all stuffed animals and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. His sister is a car-and-truck lass, refusing to own a doll at all.

I dimly remember having a Vogue Jill doll as a kid. The body was a tad more lifelike than the future Barbie, but the head was outsized. Mostly, my sister and I played Lone Ranger, and we would tie the dolls up and hide them under the bed whilst we "rode" our horse toys off to battle the bad guys and subsequently rescue the maidens.


Posted by: DominEditrix | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 6:29 PM
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jms, There's no reason to feel bad, except that I'm an asshole as always.


Posted by: Adam Kotsko | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 7:15 PM
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When I was little, my dad got me a generic brunette Barbie-like doll at a garage sale. It was dressed in cowboy boots and a Loretta Lynn outfit. I loved her, till the neighborhood kids and their Mattel (R) real Barbies made fun of me and didn't let me play with them. Kids are mean. :(

I also had a generic Smurf-like doll that I looooved. I didn't get a real Barbie till much later, and it was a Safari Barbie who for some reason carried a baby panda.

Now of course, I am a feminist who hates the idea of Barbie dolls. So there, mean girls with herd mentality, excessive consumerism and indoctrinated by unattainable ideals of beauty. Pbbbbtttt!


Posted by: belle lettre | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 7:33 PM
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I may be misremembering, but I think there was something of an "investment bubble" with those Cabbage Patch dolls. A brief period when people were paying outlandish sums of money for the doll, because every girl wanted one and there was a bit of shortage, and the doll was therefore as a valuable collectible that would be "worth something" someday. Same thing with Beanie Babies.

My mother hated Barbie with a passion, and used to refer dismissively to the whole Barbie dreamworld ensemble as "that plastic crap."


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 7:52 PM
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My sister had a cabbage patch doll which she got a little bit after the end of the craze, so it was cheaper.

I had an awesome doll's house. The toilet had a pull chain. I never did install the wall paper in my wall paper book, but I looked through it all the time.

When I was younger than 5 or so I had a baby doll with its own stroller. If you put a special bottle in its mouth, the liquid went down to make it look like the baby was drinking.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 8:06 PM
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I did have one Barbie. I didn't really like the dolls that much, but I really liked the swimming pool.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 8:08 PM
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another world across the sea
home for little busy bees
sweatin in some factory
hurry, please, more of these
action dolls with laser sights
robot planes that shoot at night
faster, kid, and get it right
they're rollin down the line

A lot less GI Joe in it than I thought I remembered, but marginally on-topic nonetheless. Tracy Grammer, 1st link live, 2nd link from album but with mixed interesting/annoying picture montage, but linked it since Sifu's robot shows up ~2:30. I only wish there were 6 billion more of us to share it with.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 9:51 PM
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The TAL piece was excellent.

Thanks for the link to her other stuff.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 01-17-09 6:30 AM
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I think that I have mentioned that my son had a speculum as a toy.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 01-17-09 6:31 AM
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During the middle of the Cabbage Patch shortage/craze my cousins all wanted them, but they were very expensive and hard to find in the US. So my mother, who was flying to Spain at the time, brought in Spanish Cabbage Patch dolls. Exactly the same, except that the bogus adoption paperwork was in Spanish, and they all had names like Conchita Esperanza. (I never had one, but never dreamed of wanting one. By the time those were a craze, I must have been twelve or so, well past any interest in baby dolls.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-17-09 7:22 AM
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I had a baby doll myself as a small child -- I asked my father what a good name would be for a baby girl, and the rat bastard said "Warren." So I hauled around a babydoll named Warren for a couple of years, until I was six or so, After that it was mostly all Lego and such,


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-17-09 7:57 AM
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a babydoll named Warren

Heh.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-17-09 8:19 AM
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In any case, good on my sorta DFH parents for not blinking when I wanted to be-toy a doll.

Not sure what the hell is going on with "be-toy a doll", but when my youngest son was about four years old he had an interesting few weeks during which he insisted that he was "Kimberley", the Pink Power Ranger. This involved wearing his Kimberley outfit (something my wife created out of a pink sweatsuit/pajamas) 24x7, stubbornly only answering to the name "Kimberley", and otherwise behaving as he thought a Power Ranger should. In all, it was rather charming/alarming (and at times quite aggravating, but not really any more so than he would have been over any other similar time period around then, he was quite the pistol) . "Alarming" primarily due to the intensity and all-consuming nature of the role play, although I will admit the fact that he chose the "pink" one did give it that certain something extra when we were around certain folks. Our parents, for instance.


Posted by: Joe Biden | Link to this comment | 01-17-09 8:36 AM
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How do you remember it, and how do you think think your dad wanted you to remember it?

I remember it as one of the many times my sisters would do something aggravating and my irritation somehow became my fault for not having my priorities in order (this happens often as the eldest of four). I suspect I wasn't supposed to remember that at all, but simply be suffused with a kind and loving painter-of-light nature.

My parents were insanely thrifty, but they did shell out for good dolls

My good doll was a gift from my grandmother, who also bought tiny porcelain plates and cups for the doll house we had. (We did play with those.)


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 01-17-09 8:42 AM
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And it occurs to me that it is a legitimate question to ask whether I would have gone presidential if the story did not have the gender cross (or even thought it worth posting). I blame society.


Posted by: Joe Biden | Link to this comment | 01-17-09 9:17 AM
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I'm watching you, McManlypants. I haven't forgotten.

If it helps balance the scales of identity, on the same bookshelf are a Cthulhu hand puppet and a San Francisco Billy doll I refer to as "anatomically exaggerated."


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 01-17-09 9:26 AM
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61: I was actually confused by the vice presidentiality and thought you were trying to riff on something the real Biden had said. I don't see any need for confidentiality. Such temporary obsessions are very, very common, and crossing gender lines not uncommon IME. Nor is crossing species lines, for that matter, and insisting on going everywhere in a mouse costume for a few weeks.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 01-17-09 4:23 PM
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insisting on going everywhere in a mouse costume for a few weeks

M/tch is going to be soooooo upset you told us about that.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 01-17-09 4:28 PM
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Further to 61: As a matter of sociological interest, do you know what's behind the need you feel for confidentiality? Embarassment that you're a bad parent? not a manly enough man? Fear that your son will someday be ashamed of and/or teased about this? That he'll be perceived as gay?

I know you know that it's all fucked-up conditioning, but I'm curious whether one reason or another dominates your instinct to be confidential.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 01-17-09 4:29 PM
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64: But he looks so cute in those ears!


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 01-17-09 4:30 PM
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As long as you're here, Stanley, what does "be-toy a doll" mean? I don't get it.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 01-17-09 4:33 PM
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As long as you're here, Stanley, what does "be-toy a doll" mean? I don't get it.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 01-17-09 4:33 PM
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WHAT DOES IT MEAN??


Posted by: OPINIONATED DOUBLE POSTER | Link to this comment | 01-17-09 4:33 PM
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Like, befriend a toy, sort of? That's what I was going for anyway. I see my success with the coinage seems to have been limited.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 01-17-09 4:37 PM
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Maybe a more explicit definition would be something like "to make something one's toy".


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 01-17-09 4:40 PM
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I understood it, Stanley.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 01-17-09 5:52 PM
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72: Yes, but do you like it? All the lurkers who are supporting the new word via e-mail certainly do.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 01-17-09 5:57 PM
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73: Hell. yes! Even us oldsters understood it instantly and it's an very apt word when there are kittens in the place be-toying all sorts of utilitarian objects like combs or keys.


Posted by: Biohazard | Link to this comment | 01-17-09 6:24 PM
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Gender-crossing behavior while perfectly common, is hard not to take notice of. Newt had a period when he was two or three when every other thing he did looked like a comedy routine of "Behavior someone overly concerned about gender roles would be very concerned about in their son"-- the one I remember was taking a set of toy tools someone gave him, and instantly picking up the little plastic chainsaw and styling my hair with it.

Even though we're fairly relaxed on the gender role front it still turned into a running gag in a way that it wouldn't have if we weren't tense about it on some underlying level.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-17-09 6:52 PM
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73: Yes.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 01-17-09 6:55 PM
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I too understood it and found it quite lovely.

Sad to say, I don't remember any baby dolls (though I may have had them), but I had many barbies in the 'tween years. Had a red-haired barbie with especial hair that invited a curler device, so that you might curl her hair. I even had a barbie, um, townhouse?

Like this, the second picture down. Not quite that dated, but with the elevator and all.

I think I liked these things, but don't remember whether I asked for them. At the same period of life I was madly riding my bike through the woods, mastering the course we kids had developed as a challenge: how fast and well can you manage that trail, with the tree roots and the small stream, without crashing?

At that time my friends and I were just beginning to care about boys qua boys. So this is all much later than the baby doll period. I don't have a lot of memories from younger years. My mother recently sent me my teddy bear from when I was however young, and it stuns me, for I remember it.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 01-17-09 6:57 PM
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77 was me.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01-17-09 7:00 PM
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I don't know if this holds for all households with two children within a few years of age, but I seem to know of quite a few (my own childhood home included) in which the older child seemed invested in socially-approved gender behavior, while the second seemed to enjoy ignoring "proper" gender roles.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 01-17-09 7:05 PM
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(I'd be tempted to say that the younger child is just imitating the older one's gender role, but I've also seen it happen with two boys or two girls.)


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 01-17-09 7:08 PM
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79, 80: Hm -- sorting through the various several-children families I know, I don't see a pattern, but I don't know many with two within a few years of age.

My brother and I were five years apart. I was the older, and conformed early to (roughly) gender-approved behavior; my brother was a geek who's turned out to be gay, but he surely played with fire trucks and toy racetracks and legos, just didn't like football much, or strutting about. I could make his and my pattern fit a theory of his imitating me, but it feels like a stretch; nor was he ignoring proper gender roles. Dunno -- no match, really.

Also, I've just read 59, and the "Kimberley" story is totally great.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 01-17-09 7:40 PM
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82

I don't know if this holds for all households with two children within a few years of age, but I seem to know of quite a few (my own childhood home included) in which the older child seemed invested in socially-approved gender behavior, while the second seemed to enjoy ignoring "proper" gender roles.

It's like you've met my sisters. The high school nickname of the younger of my two sisters was "George," for George of the Jungle. She has friends who still call her that.


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 01-17-09 7:47 PM
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83

Oh, I see that 81 was me again. Remember personal info.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01-17-09 7:57 PM
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84

79 - 82 inclusive: well, there's all the (maybe discredited) research about birth order and homosexuality.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-17-09 8:04 PM
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85

I'm guessing it's not that first children are less likely to be gay, but that younger children don't feel as much pressure to remain closeted. I know my brother felt a ton of parental pressure to "be a man" and all that, and I think if I had been first, there would have been a lot more pressure on me to "act like a lady."


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 01-17-09 8:08 PM
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85: well, maybe. But the studies that show the correlation don't show it being dependent on children growing up together, or growing up with their birth parents.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-17-09 8:14 PM
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84: Well, there is that. I'm not clear on its relevance, if it has nothing to do with sisters, but it's there.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01-17-09 8:15 PM
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87: indeed it does not. Also, I believe finger length has been shown to be a stronger predictor in males, so let's all leap on the salt pile. But it is evocative.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-17-09 8:18 PM
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It is evocative.

85: I see that this can explain some families. In my own, there was just a hell of a lot of pressure for the girl to be a girl and the boy to be a boy, in keeping with the behavioral patterns associated with these. That is, though my brother was the second child, I don't think there was any less pressure on him to act like a man. (He just refused, and I don't think my own comparative femininity cleared the way for him. Though I will have to think about this. There were two parents, after all.)


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01-17-09 8:25 PM
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65: As a matter of sociological interest, do you know what's behind the need you feel for confidentiality? Embarassment that you're a bad parent? Not at all.
not a manly enough man? Nope.
Fear that your son will someday be ashamed of and/or teased about this? Pretty much this. Although very, very unlikely, the thought that he might through some slip of mine end up being continually greeted through the latter part of his adolescence with mocking calls of "Kim-ber-ley!" led me to err on the side of caution (although it obviously did not stay my hand from posting about it at all).
That he'll be perceived as gay? Not per se. But it was a factor in a roundabout way.

As I said, it was a close call.

And LB's experience in 75 sounds pretty close to ours as well. From ages 2 to 4 he would from time to time become entranced with girl's clothes in general*. He called them his "beyoot-i-ful clothes" and I must say that he did look ravishing in a dress. (At the same time he was far and away the most aggressive of my kids, given to unprovoked attacks in which he would lead with his head.)

*He had a sister who was two years older than him, so the clothes were available, especially since she was quite the tomboy and many of them had hardly been worn.


Posted by: Joe Biden | Link to this comment | 01-17-09 10:09 PM
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Yup, one of the things I think about when people talk about how innately different little boys and little girls are, long before socialization could possibly have affected them, is the social pressure on parents not to talk about it when their kid does something gender-inappropriate. It kind of skews the anecdotal dataset.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-18-09 7:38 AM
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finger length
i've read somewhere that if the index is shorter than the ring finger it means an excessive testosterone and the people with that kind of fingers are successful stock brokers
so my ring fingers are longer than indices that means perhaps that i'm a gay man in a female body
i bet someone somewhere already thought that thought, though i thought the thought completely independently


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 01-18-09 12:12 PM
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92: There was a WaPo piece on that finger-length study recently.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 01-18-09 12:17 PM
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what about the displacement though? i do not recognize the article, maybe i read a variation of it somewhere at msnbc perhaps


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 01-18-09 12:25 PM
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so unoriginal thought it seems
457,000 google hits, but hopefully nothing about the connection with the finger length


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 01-18-09 12:47 PM
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64000, really i should not think independently, but hopefully not on unfogged


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 01-18-09 12:56 PM
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the one I remember was taking a set of toy tools someone gave him, and instantly picking up the little plastic chainsaw and styling my hair with it

Funny, I was babysitting the four-year-old niece and nephew today and they were both styling my hair with various toy tools. I was told to put on safety goggles as sawing my hair might produce sparks.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 01-18-09 4:48 PM
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