Tuesday, August 15, 2006

This Here

Over at Unfogged


reminded me of the rambling diatribe I had with the kid while I was cleaning house the other day (I do too clean house, Other Liberal Professor, so fuck up!): the kid was following me around with this small doll she brought back from her grandmother's house in her hand.

I don't know quite how to explain this doll. I've never quite seen anything like it. First, the kid doesn't like dolls. A grave disappointment to me, may I add, since as a child *I* loved dolls (shut up, I did) and I actually saved my favorite doll from childhood, Jimmy, for years & years, to give to my daughter if I ever had one, and then I went and had one, and she does not play with dolls. She plays with dinosaurs. And wolves. And imaginary dragons.

Anyway. She's carrying around this four-inch tall -- doll. That's not exactly a Barbie. Too small, obviously. Also, it is dressed something like Tinkerbell would be, if Tinkerbell were a bit more butch. Short leaf skirt. Leaf boots and a leather belt. She's got a bow and arrow and a flower for a belt-buckle. The kid is demanding to know how this forest creature, which is what she has decided she is, manufactured all these items of clothing. Did she make the skirt from a leaf, do I think? Did I think she would have killed an animal to get the belt, because the kid doesn't think that's cool. Except she had the bow and arrow, didn't she, so maybe she's a hunter, she might have. But maybe she only hunts what she needs to survive. These sorts of deep moral questions, while I'm scrubbing the soap ring out of the bathtub.

"What about her make-up?" the kid wonders. "Where do you reckon she gets her make-up?"

{Note that reckon, in passing. I think that's Oklahoma. It might be AR.)

"Make-up!" I cry. "Surely she doesn't wear make up! Can't be any patriarchy oppressing her, out in there in the middle of the forest, can it?"

"What?" the kid is alarmed and startled. "But she is wearing make up." She shows me the doll. "See?"

Green eyeshadow. To match the green dress.

"What's the patri-- patri -- who's oppressing her?" the kid demands.

I explain about make-up and what it means in a feminist context. The kid cuts me off halfway through, since she's *had* the feminist lectures before, thank you.

"Well, maybe she just likes make-up," she argues. "Some people just like make-up, you know."

"Sure," I say, washing my hands at the sink. "Oppressed tools of the patriarchy. They love it to pieces."

She gives me her best eight-year-old annoyed look. "Native Americans painted their faces," she argued. "They put on that paint. Like in that movie. Maybe she's wearing that kind of make-up. Painting her face that way."

I grinned at her in the mirror. "What a clever girl," I said, and kissed the top of her head.

"Because she is a forest creature," she said, smugly. "Now what do you think she makes it from? Maybe ground up flowers? Or leaves? Or--"

All *afternoon* this goes on.

She doesn't play with dolls. She obsesses over them.

1 comment:

A White Bear said...

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