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!