The Dolls I Never Had, and Those I Did

So yesterday’s post about all the dolls I found online that I wanted to add to my collection got me thinking. Most people would assume that due to my interest and due to my being a girl, that I grew up playing with dolls.

They would be wrong.

I was never into dolls as a child. Never cared for babydolls, nor Cabbage Patch dolls, and unless you count my She-Ra action figures as dolls, they weren’t really my go-to toy. I was a My Little Pony kind of girl, and that’s what my childhood centered around.

However, I remember wanting one, very specific Barbie.

I saw a commercial for it on television. I was in pre-school. I just Googled the specific Barbie, and bam, there she is: Magic Moves Barbie. She was a total glamor girl, and she had a beautiful blue dress, and she MOVED. So that year, for my birthday, I told my family I wanted THAT Barbie.

I got a Barbie all right. But not that one. I got this one instead.

I hated her.

I also decided Barbie was NOT for me and stuck with my Ponies until the day in second grade when my best friend introduced me to Jem and the Holograms. I was hooked. My first doll was Aja, and then my first actual Jem doll was Flash’n Sizzle Jem (her earring lit up!!!) and then later I got Rock’n Curl Jem. I loved those dolls, and those dolls gradually got me into more, and I ended up with a Cheerleader Maxie Doll (does anyone remember that franchise?) and a few Barbies in the end (school girl Skipper and a tennis-playing Midge, who was one of Barbie’s friends and had the most unfortunate name ever).

It’s weird, because I really didn’t get into the stuff until I’d reached the age it was kind of too late to be playing with them, but I’d made friends who had fun collections, and we had a grand old time.

So I guess I did play with dolls as a girl. Just not when I was super-young. And I always felt (and maybe all kids feel like this, even when getting what they want), that I never had exactly the dolls I wanted. There was always a Jem doll that I’d covet at the store but couldn’t get. A particular Barbie. Or, of course, an Ariel doll from The Little Mermaid (who, looking back on it, was particular atrocious, but at the time, I would’ve adored her!). I’m not sure what this says about me, but I think it goes a long way to explaining why it’s dolls I gravitate towards now for collecting, not My Little Ponies. I had all of those I could want and more (and some I didn’t, but I learned to be choosy), so I don’t feel the need to revisit that, you know?

Anyway, going back and finding pictures of these various dolls has been something of a mind trip. Anybody got any favorites to share from when they were growing up?

11 thoughts on “The Dolls I Never Had, and Those I Did

  1. I think I am missing some sort of vital “ability to play pretend” gene because telling stories through dolls and just playing with them has always been alien to me. I like how pretty a doll is and that’s fun, but once I have it I just didn’t know what to DO with the dolls. I think this is linked to my feeling creeped out when someone pretends to be a character and tries to include me in the game. So I’ve been on the side of liking dolls just because of their visual appeal rather than for play. I have a lot of dolls in boxes, looking pretty, and I loved the She-ra dolls mostly because of the comics that came with them more than for playing with them. :\ But my sister would sneak them out and play with them when I was in school, so they did get used in the end.

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    1. I think this is linked to my feeling creeped out when someone pretends to be a character and tries to include me in the game.

      My playing as a child was always about making up stories. Whether it was through my Ponies or through various dolls or even my friends and I playing make-believe, it’s where I was at home. Try to give me a baby doll and make me a mother in one of those stories, however? Did not work well.

      So Iโ€™ve been on the side of liking dolls just because of their visual appeal rather than for play.

      I definitely like dolls now for their visual and artistic appeal. I had a friend on FB post some pictures of some Barbies she found at WalMart and she was snarky because what little girl would want an Aubrey Hepburn Barbie? I had to explain to her that THOSE dolls were geared towards collectors, but it surprised me that it wasn’t, you know, OBVIOUS. She said she’d never played with dolls as a kid, never liked them, so maybe that’s why she didn’t get it?

      I loved the She-ra dolls mostly because of the comics that came with them more than for playing with them.

      Comics? What comics? When were you buying these? Mine never came with comics! …. That I remember, anyway….

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      1. Yeah, there were comics! You made me doubt my memory, but ebay says they came with comics. Little mini ones. I think between myself and my sister we had most of those She-ra action figures. I think I may have liked Catra best (yeah there was a She-ra version, not a He-man version of that doll), because she had this “scratching sound” action! It was awesome! Haha.

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        1. I definitely DO NOT remember the comics… I’m looking online and they’re still not ringing any bells, even if I had those particular action figures! Maybe my brain just didn’t process them as comics and that’s why?

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  2. I’ve always loved dolls. I collected so many when I was growing up. (Everything from Barbies to 18″ dolls such as Magic Attic Club and American Girl.) It’s been a long time since I last picked up a new doll, but I’ve been tempted to lately, since I’ve started seeing so many pretty ones. It’s uncanny how you’ve started posting about dolls right when I find myself getting interested in them again!

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  3. I guess I was really fortunate, my parents–or my mom, anyway–were really good about paying attention to exactly what type of Barbie I wanted. Maybe because my mom had been into Barbies herself as a kid, so she knew the wrong one wouldn’t do–or maybe I was just easy to please, I don’t know. The one time I wanted a Barbie that was too expensive, they made me pay for half of it, but that just made actually getting it even more exciting, because I’d been saving up for so long, you know?

    And I actually did have a Maxie doll, she came in a leotard and had a hula hoop. I also had a Midge doll, which I think I only remember because her head fell off (oops).

    It’s interesting you mention “My Little Ponies,” because I was really into them as well, and I had quite a few. However, I occasionally think to myself that I actually wouldn’t mind adding to my collection, because I think I was into them right before they changed the style, and I always preferred the older ones to the newer version, although I did have one or two of the new kind.

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    1. The one time I wanted a Barbie that was too expensive, they made me pay for half of it, but that just made actually getting it even more exciting, because Iโ€™d been saving up for so long, you know?

      That’s a great plan. While I don’t currently intend on having kids, if I end up with a daughter, I’m filing this away for future use. ๐Ÿ™‚

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      1. Me too. Definitely seems like a good way to teach your kid that it’s better to work for what you want than to have it handed to you, not to mention easing up any financial restrictions.

        Actually, it occurs to me I should share this idea with my sister-in-law, as she’s the one who’s more likely to have kids (naturally or otherwise).

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