Saturday, March 8, 2014

Beyond DotW Barbies: Expanding Your Irish-American Fashion Dolls

March is Irish American Heritage Month in the United States.

Many years ago, I had a Princess of Ireland Barbie doll. I kept her for a few years and then sold her. I was not thrilled with her. Yes, she is a pretty doll. We just did not bond. I do not have any other Irish Barbies. That absence does not mean criticism of Mattel's Irish fashion dolls. They are more cutesy, more twee than I like. Now, I detect no malice on Mattel's part: they produced the Dolls of the World (DotW) dolls for a North American market. So they pile on features that their North American market will recognize as "Irish" -- red hair, green or blue eyes, green dress, shamrocks, leprechauns, etc. Stereotypes? I'll leave that designation for you to decide.

Aside: for a list and photos of Mattel's Irish Barbies, see Kathryn Darden’s 2010 Examiner article about them. Ms. Darden has that topic covered. I want to move on to something else. Past the Mattel-designated Irish Barbie offerings.

Okay, if you are tired of or bored by Mattel's Irish doll offerings, I have three suggestions to expand your Irish fashion doll collection:

1. Find celebrity dolls who are Irish or Irish American and use them in your Irish-themed dioramas. Rosie O'Donnell will count -- an Irish-American icon now one of your more realistic Irish-American fashion dolls. Maybe you have a John F. Kennedy action figure? What about the British-Irish musical groups? Siva Kaneswaran of The Wanted and Niall Horan of One Direction are listed as being Irish. So, there you have more ethnic dolls to collect. What Irish or Irish-American celebs do you have in your collection? Bring them forth for this occasion.

2. Assign dolls or action figures you have who meet the physical attributes that you consider "Irish" or "Irish-American." Let's see ... how about another brunet Irish? What about my Harley Davidson Kens? I have the first one here at hand. Presto-change-o. I consider thee an Irish-American, Ken. We don't have any wintry green fashions for you to wear, but you can wear green in your heart. And for a red-haired Irish lass ... why not Surf City Midge? Okay she is a little tan in spite of her freckles. (Remember, she is American, too.)  I'll bring her in. Look, she's wearing a green and blue Fashion Avenue outfit. Hey, she is already dressed in green. Yay, Midge! She and Ken can join Rosie. "Say cheese."

3. Kitbash dolls and/or action figures to resemble Irish or Irish-Americans you admire. Okay, I don't have examples of this, but maybe you do. So, you can expand on your Irish or Irish-American fashion dolls and leave aside or add to Mattel's costumed crew. Choose dolls with the hair color and wearing the outfits that you choose for them.

Want to share the web addresses to those customized dolls? Come on ... please and my biggest smile. Leave the urls in the comments. Thanks for sharing!


RagingMoon1987 said...

What clever ideas these are! I wish I'd thought of this. Harley Davidson Ken is cute, by the way!

Anonymous said...

John F. Kennedy is a great action figure. And thanks for the link to the word "twee", a funny new word learnt :-D. We have a lot of Irish pubs here, but I don't have any Irish-American dolls though (except maybe for Midge? She sure looks Irish ;-)).

Muff said...

I have no Irish dolls but I guess the Ken doll whose his hair I turned red with marker and then named Riley might be the closest to a presto chango Irish person. He'll do, lol.

Speaking of St. Patrick's day, do they still do that thing in schools where if you don't wear green on SP's Day anyone can pinch you? That was really annoying and I spent most of SP days in the Dean's office for punching people who would pinch me. Good times!

lindaivette montes de oca said...

Hola, has hecho un post muy divertido, creo que en mis historias incluire a Midge como irlandesa, jaja, gracias por tu sugerencia, un beso.

Barb the Evil Genius said...

I have one of the Irish DOTW. I find the combination of pale skin and red hair attractive. I think I might have the Irish Princess also. I would like the Kelly doll in the Irish step dancing outfit. I love Irish step dancing! We have an Irish festival here in Cleveland that I attend quite often.

Never heard of the pinching thing, Muff. However, if you are a redhead, you can get called a soulless ginger. :)

Tonner made a couple of Kripplebush Kid dolls wearing step dancing outfits. And I designed a step dancing outfit for a friend's daughter's AG doll. Daughter used to step dance competitively. Both mom and daughter have a mop of curly auburn hair.

I'm part Irish myself. I attribute my curly hair and pale, very sensitive skin to that!

D7ana said...

Hi RagingMoon1987, Nymphaea, Muff, and Lindaivette montes de oca!

@RagingMoon1987 - Thanks for the compliment. And HD Ken adds his thanks, too. (Yes, I think he's a cutie, too.)

@Nymphaea - the JFK figure I linked to is by Hasbro. I don't have him, but I suspect he has a jointed, poser body like the early Joes. I'd imagine Midge as Irish. Seems like she could be ;-)

"Twee" is a British word - it's not used often in the States which is why I provided the link about it. I'd come across it in an article and thought it fit the sentiment.

@Muff - OMG, I can imagine you punching some ignoramus for pinching you for not wearing green on St. Patrick's Day. Serve them right. I don't recall much being made of SP Day when I was younger. Glad they missed that tradition at my schools. Whew.

Sure your Riley can be Irish. You'll have a fine Irish fellow for SP Day. Mind he doesn't pinch Clawdeen if she isn't wearing green - I suspect he'd end up worse for doing so, ;-D

@Lindaivette montes de oca - Estoy feliz de que el puesto que se divertía ;-D Midge haría una buena muchacha irlandesa, estoy de acuerdo. Voy a buscar ese post en su blog.


I am happy that the post amused you ;-D Midge would make a good Irish lass, I agree. I will look for that post on your blog!

Thanks for your comments! Gracias por tus comentarios!

D7ana said...

Hi Barb the Evil Genius! Just missed your comment. MGA Entertainment has a doll for you - possibly ;-) Her name is Paisley and she's one of their ANTM dolls.

Irish step dancing looks fun and energetic. I suppose we now know whose blog we'll visit on St. Patrick's Day ;-)

jewel snake said...

I really like yours Irish dolls, especially Rosie O'Donnel! Her colors are really great, one of my favourite musicians, the Irish man, has too dark brown hair, blue eyes and pale skin, I think this combination is close to perfect :D
Most of my dolls "have" Irish roots, so whenever I update my blog there is one or two irish guys, haha

D7ana said...

Hi Jewel Snake! Glad you like "my" Irish dolls, lol. Only Rosie O'Donnell is Irish; the Harley Davidson Ken has no "official" European-American group. But I thought his coloring and his features could go as Irish. Midge is probably tanner than usual, but she's a beach Midge. (Yes, in real life, she might "burn" rather than tan, but she also has freckles.)

Ah so most of your guys "have" Irish roots. Can we expect a special St. Patrick's Day on your blog then?