Friday, July 18, 2014

Is He [Gay] or Isn't He?

Face of Integrity Toys' Jordan doll
Integrity Toys Jordan lips pursed

How do you determine that a doll is gay? Or bisexual or lesbian or straight?

Shrug. The manufacturer's back story? Sometimes. If the doll is based on a real person, do you match that person's sexuality? Maybe. Do you decide based on a story idea you have for the character? It depends.

I have never seen any of my dolls form romantic connections. (Neither the straight nor the gay ones.) So you cannot tell from their behavior. When I was young, a cousin -- who shall remain unnamed to protect the guilty -- would bang a boy and a girl doll together and make kissy sounds. Me, I worried that I would pair the wrong dolls up. Anybody remember Attack of the Puppet People? In spite of the movie title, the creepy character was actually the doll maker who shrank people down so that he could keep them as his toys. Shudder. Suppose my dolls had minds independent of the characters I imposed on them? I never believed in Santa - ho, ho, no - Santa was Mommy and Daddy. But I did wonder if my dolls could have had secret lives. Hmmm.

Jump forward many years later. Chez adult Dana. My dolls and action figures still are not having sex -- as far as I know. I pair them up in my mind, but I seldom set up doll stories let alone relationship scenes. Even when I had story ideas, I have not acted any out with the dolls themselves. So imagine my surprise when a visitor pointed at my Integrity Toys Jordan and informed me: "That doll is gay."

"Really?" I asked her. Jordan was dressed in his original turquoise pullover and dark jeans. He was standing among other dolls and action figures. He did not seem to be doing anything out of the ordinary. I shook my head. She thought I was disagreeing.

Oh, yes. She was sure of that.

"How do you get that?" I was curious.

"Look at him: his lips are pursed."

I tilted my head. Yes, Jordan's lips were pursued. That settled the matter for her.

Now I was not going to argue the sexuality of a doll with a guest. Especially not with a guest who did not even "play with" dolls. Life is too short. I am too lazy. Jordan's official Integrity Toys' story links him with Janay. At least, they were paired together in wedding sets before Tariq and Keith came onto the Integrity Toys' doll scene. Jordan and Janay. Of course, that is the official story. For all I know, my Jordan might be involved with Tariq. Or Alejandro ... no, strike that. I don't care for that glint in Alysa's eyes.

Sometimes the responses of non-collectors surprise me. Just when I have them pegged as unimaginative, they come out with a statement like that. I mean, it takes some imagination to assign sexual orientation to a 12" plastic doll. Then again, why couldn't he be gay? Perhaps the lack is on my part.

But he is my Jordan. So I decide what his story is, right? I look at Jordan - hey, did he wink? 

Or maybe I don't.


Muff said...

"How do you determine that a doll is gay?"

Because I say so, lol.

This is an interesting post because out of all the dolls I have, only one is gay. Her name is Jordan too, lol. Now I did have a Ken that I suspected was bisexual, but he didn't confirm one way or the other. And Jordan's girlfriend, Claudia, isn't gay or bisexual. She's a werewolf and doesn't quantify sexuality that way.

I get "vibes" from some dolls. They tell me their deals, their personalities and their stories. However, this does not happen with all my dolls. I have to interact with them before I get a clue as to who they are. Only a few of them actually have names. Some are just "scale models."

Given my own orientation you would think I would have more sexual diversity and not just racial diversity among my dolls, then again, I have a lot more of them still in boxes so the jury is out.

RoxanneRoxanne said...

First, to answer your question, yes Jordan is gay. There's a reason that his relationship with Janay did not last. ;)

Second, I was one of those kids who made dolls make out. My Bionic Woman and my nephew's Six Million Dollar Man carried on quite a passionate relationship.

I have only 1 out and proud gay doll in my collection - Tyson. But I suspect that some of my Kens are on the down low. And some of my military females may still be operating under don't ask, don't tell. I also have a drag queen (Ru Paul). And does Dennis Rodman count as a cross-dresser?

My dolls have relationships. Some even have sex. Some even get pregnant and have babies. A few of the babies have even grown up (the same character moved from doll to older doll to older doll). Yep, there are all kinds of break-ups, make-ups, marriages, and whatnot around here.

But ultimately, Jordan is your doll, so you get to decide his story. If he was here, though, he and Tyson would be having a good time. I'm just saying...

Black Doll Enthusiast said...

I own one Jordan. Like Luther Vandross and Tyler Perry, whose lips were/are usually pursed, but who never publicly professed their sexual orientation, Jordan never has either. Interestingly, he has remained single. I don't think he has ever expressed interest in any other, male or female here.

Like my favorite male high school friend, who was the only male allowed in my bedroom, Jordan is more comfortable being surrounded by females.

I have never considered him or any of my other dolls gay or straight. I do pair up couples that are all heterosexual because that's my sexual orientation and the dolls are just platonic companions. They display well and photograph well together.

As a rule, I also don't write doll stories or name or rename my dolls. That would be too many names for me to remember. Heck, I forget the names of casual acquaintances, so I am not trying to remember who's who, by a name I assign them in doll world.

There are exceptions. I initially named my new Power Team guy PT, because I would easily remember that -- P for Power, T for Team. After Tracy India and another reader of my post about him both mentioned his Blair Underwood likeness, I renamed him Blair.

Blair is clearly heterosexual. I could tell by my own physical attraction to his male hunk-ness even prior to his arrival. The moment I saw his image online, I knew I had to have him. It took him several months to come, but finally he did. It was wonderful ... to finally own him, I mean. Blair has moved around the doll room in my presence, at my hands, from one or two women, actually three before settling down with Cynthia Bailey (Prettie Girls) in a platonic, we-look-good-together relationship.

Now what goes on in the doll room in my absence remains a mystery. Just yesterday morning before sitting down at my work desk, I noticed several women near Blair had shifted in position with their bodies leaning toward his body that was blocked by Cynthia's slightly shifted body. Michael Jordan, who stands nearby, was also out of place. Perhaps one doll moved causing a domino effect or something else happened when the lights went out. No one fessed up to anything.

Who really knows, except them, what our "inanimate" males and females are capable of doing or feeling in our absence?


D7ana said...

Hi Muff, RoxanneRoxanne, and Black Doll Enthusiast! I enjoyed all of your answers; I feel reassured by them.

@Muff - I like the "cause I say so" reasoning. That works for me. I do that with race and ethnicity; why not for sexual orientation?

BTW, your Claudia is one of my favorite of your characters because she has such a bad-ass attitude.

I look forward to seeing your dolls emerge from their boxes ;-)

@Roxanne - lol! You are so like my visitor there. (Only you have TONS of imagination.) I do think that Jordan smirked more when he read about Tyson.

But Jordan - Tyson is soooo big ... oh. Removing foot from mouth. Let's pretend I did not go there.

@BDE - oh, that's something my Jordan has in common with yours. He likes to be in the company of the ladies. He is a fashion photographer here.

I need to check out your Blair Underwood PT guy. I think I know who you mean, but I want to check. If he's the guy I think, then the women will give him no peace.

Vanessa said...

I have to confess that my Jordan was a little feminine to me, so I had to give him some facial hair. He is my doll husband. Why? Because he had the right color hair and he looked like he was the father to my two doll kids, Alicia and Tyler. You don't noticed the shape of the lips when there is a nice moustache and beard. I thoroughly enjoyed reading everyone's responses.

D7ana said...

Hi Vanessa! What I first noticed about Jordan was his reddish-brown complexion - very attractive - and that his hair was off-black. Sort of dusty brown. Interesting. I like how you have given your Jordan a beard and moustache: it gives him a different look.

I had not consciously noticed anything about his mouth shape before my visitor. He was "all right," but other than his complexion not spectacular. Shrug.

Between you and me, reader responses are my favorite part of blogging. I get laughs, new perspectives, and stimulation from them. Thanks for being one of the folks who rock this blog. Knuckle bump.

Ken Payseur said...

I think he's gay. Mind you, I'm gay and sometimes I see gay where others do not...but, yeah...he's gay.

D7ana said...

Hi, Ken Payseur! I had to LOL at your response: sometimes I hope straight where the guy is gay. LOL. Sigh. Shrug. If it ain't meant to be, it ain't.

I'm inclined to consider Jordan gay now. I had not thought about him to that extent before. I have lots of dolls and action figures: many of them are undeveloped as Muff mentioned. Who knows what will emerge when they are deboxed and let loose to play ;-)

limbe dolls said...

Thanks for a very provocative post. I enjoyed reading all the comments. While I was in Senegal, I ordered a lot of dolls from eBay. Every week I would skype with my brother and he would open the packages so we could check off the items that had arrived. He thought most of the Kens were gay but was impressed with some of the rugged Soldiers of the World action figures. He also liked the Starting Line Up basketball players.

Now that I am back home I am more interested in exploring how my dolls reflect my own sexuality. I probably won't be posting most of the pictures but there is all kinds of passion going on between them. :-)

D7ana said...

Hi Limbe Dolls! Yay, glad that you are back in the States. Glad you enjoyed the post: I had postponed putting it up because I thought it might not be well received.

(No offense to Senegal - sounds like you enjoyed your long-desired trip there - but there is no place like home. And the food goodies of home. Do NOT behold my stomach girth; tis pinch several inches this summer.)

I look forward to your return to your Limbe Dolls blog.

I think many people labelled Ken as gay because of his relationship to Barbie. Then again, Ken is plenty "manscaped" - to fit in with Barbie - so that might account for the Ken-is-gay theme.

I love the Power Team guys, but the Soldiers of the World figures ... they always seemed roughly crafted. And there expressions ... so dramatic ;-)

Oh ho ho ho ... your dolls must be plenty happy with your choices for them; they present some of the most sensual scenes in playscale. I tip my hat to you for your tasteful and sexy pairings. So we'll be seeing more passionate scenes now ... ;-D

Smaller Places said...

I'm late to the party but really love this question!

I'd make Jordan a total ladies man but have some of the craggier soldier dudes shack up together. That's if I had men in my playscale universe, which I don't.

When I got my first two playscale dolls as an adult, the plan was to furnish a house for them, and I automatically built a double bed. So I guess the gals are a couple.

The conventions of my playscale universe would make it difficult to add a character who is transgender as a backstory. It'd be necessary to have a male doll go to the "spa" and be fitted with a female body (and presumably some repainting to fit the sane visual conventions as the existing female characters). That could happen, but it's dependent on what shows up at thrift stores.

D7ana said...

Hi Smaller Places! Welcome to the party. Glad you liked the question.

That's an interesting idea. Old Joe choked on his milkshake when he heard it, but that doesn't rule out some of the other soldiers.

I see your dolls are decorating and getting spa makeovers. Having good times. I'll have to visit to see what's going on ;-)

Studio 126 said...

There is no sure way, but there can be clues. If they have a standard figure design, it is just a matter of casting. (An amorous facial expression can be directed at anybody.) In that case, back story is negligible.

I believe that there is (or used to be) an earring "code." I won't use heads of either gender that have garish make-up. Sometimes body "features" might be added to accommodate homosexual modeling.

In my experience, most dolls that are marketed as LGBT are so focused on making a political statement that they neglect things like articulation and serviceable head & body sculpts, the things I am most concerned with.

D7ana said...

Hi and thanks for stopping by, Studio 126!

Hey, I almost forgot about that. Yes, now I remember there being an earring code. Correction, I could never remember which ear meant "gay male" so I assumed "gay" if a guy wore any earring. Less hassle.

I don't find body piercing attractive. I am reminded of the rings hunters put on truffle-rooting pigs to stop the pigs from eating the truffles.

Two of my Kens have earrings: Earring Magic Ken and Arabian Nights Ken.