Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Never too late

Someone once said - and it's probably one of those unattributable sayings that lots of people are claimed to have said - that it's never too late to have a happy childhood.

I mostly don't agree with that - I don't think as adults we can go back, really and be like children again, and really, we should not. You have to grow up, and take adult responsibilities, and be an adult. But enjoyment of some of the trappings of childhood are still attainable. I admit, on my birthday, I would really like to have (as a once-a-year treat) a really gooey cake, with lots of frosting, and frosting roses. And I get ALL the roses, because it's my birthday.

(But it has to be good frosting, and sadly, most "store" cakes don't have very good frosting. The "celebration" of my award that my parents did for me - they ordered a cake from a baker local to them (Janet's Cakes) and her cakes have EXCELLENT frosting (for one thing: it is not too sweet and I think she uses real butter in it) so of course I wanted frosting roses.)

But anyway. I think one of the reason I have acquired so many toys as an adult is (a) I have disposable income I did not as a child and (b) they make me happy.

This is my "prize" for getting my paper accepted and getting the revisions done with no tears* - A Disney Rapunzel fashion-type doll.

(*There sometimes are, with revising a paper, because Reviewer 2.)

the hair

A couple of thoughts:

1. I might actually have played with fashion-type dolls as a child if they were like this. For one thing, she's articulated, and WELL articulated (often the dolls of my youth had pivot joints and shoulders and hips, and a few of the Barbie types had those "click-click" knees, but the arms were rigid and the waists didn't turn). Like I said about the Monster High dolls: these are fun to pose.

(Though apparently now the Monster High line has been simplified down and a lot of the dolls lack much in the way of articulation, which is kind of sad).

2. The face is cartoony, because, well, the character is based on a cartoon. I didn't find Barbie "cute," as a kid, but I would have found this doll cute. (Possibly there's some kind of an uncanny-valley thing in there where Barbie in the 70s was trying to be "too" realistic, and the giant "anime" eyes here shatter any chance at realism, and therefore mostly avoids the uncanny valley).

3. She's a character who has Adventures. And I know a lot of ink and even more electrons have been spilled on what it means for our society that princesses are no longer passive vessels waiting for their princes to come, and that they often get themselves out of peril, rather than waiting for true love's kiss or whatever. I dunno. I do know as a child that I found a lot of that stuff kind of uninteresting, because the idea of princessdom seemed really remote from my life - and princesses seemed kind of boring, anyway, and I'd rather go climb a tree or work in the garden. But a number of the recent princesses have "spunk," and as much as I hate the idea of forced spunk, I find it more appealing than the helpless sort. And also, as a kid, I'd have had an easier time dreaming up things for a doll that had Adventures to do - it seemed with Barbie it was like "oh, here, let's change her clothes. Now let's change her clothes again" and I'm sure not all girls were like that but a number of my friends who had Barbie seemed to see her as....well, I think "prissy" would be the word I would have used - she wouldn't have gone outdoors, lest she mess up her clothes, or try to do things like scale the bookcases, lest she mess her hair.

And I know, a lot of people have commented on the problems with the whole Disney thing, and in a lot of cases, the stories are considerably bowdlerized from the original sources (I probably read a more-faithful version of the story in the Red Fairy Book, but I don't remember it. A little looking online tells me one thing - Rapunzel had a couple of kids (out of wedlock!) by the prince who climbed into her tower. And of course, there are probably lots of symbols in the thing that the original hearers would get, but us moderns, more removed from the earthier parts of life, ignore).

Also, the name - turns out it's the common name of a plant. (in German, and I guessed from the combination of letters, it had to be). The plant is Valerianella locusta, also known as corn salad, and it's a common green used in some salad mixes. (I think I've eaten it: a couple years my mother grew it). Apparently the idea is that Rapunzel's mother, while pregnant with her, craved the corn salad in the witch's garden, and that set everything in motion that wound up with the witch getting Rapunzel.

(Also, it's sometimes described as having a purplish flower - though most Valerianellas I know have white flowers - and the Disney Rapunzel has a purple dress, which makes me wonder if they looked it up).

Anyway. A fun doll to have. She came with her pet chameleon Pascal (and I wonder if there's some kind of in-joke there, referencing Blaise Pascal) and a frying pan - in the movie, she used that as a weapon of self-defense.

She's barefoot, which I guess I'm okay with, and those feet....well, I doubt any of the shoes I currently have for fashion dolls would fit her, so I guess she stays barefoot, even if I do make a different dress for her at some point.

She is an awfully cute doll, though:

Rapunzel close up

She has, as you would guess, a LOT of hair, and I'm going to have to take care as I display her or move her around not to tangle it too much. (It's heavy, and it makes it a little harder to pose her because the hair makes her tend to fall over in certain poses)


I can imagine that certain little girls will love playing with that hair, and I can imagine 5-10 years from now there being lots of nearly-bald Rapunzels in thrift stores.

"Glow cat, I love you!"

"I love you, glow cat"


Lynn said...

She IS cute. I liked Barbie dolls when I was a kid but I would have liked her too.

CGHill said...

Best contemporary-ish princess story around: Pennyroyal Academy, by M. A. Larson. (Yes, that M. A. Larson.) The junior royals are put through something very much like boot camp, in an effort to teach them to be proper badasses.