Sunday, May 10, 2015

Quinceañeras and My Sixteenth Year Decision

Could Kelly have hidden Mitchie's other high heel?


Kelly, Mitchie, and Barbie hope you all had a happy Fifth of May!

Yet another Mexican-themed doll post? No, I have NOT recently discovered Mexican ancestors. I have learned about a doll-
quinceañera connection. It is so opposite to my coming of age experience that I had to share it here. What better way to share than in a post-Cinco de Mayo post? 

Many non-Latinos are aware that the Latin American celebration, the fiesta de quince años, marks a girl's fifteenth birthday. The birthday girl or quinceañera can wear make-up, and she receives a pair of high heeled shoes to mark her transition from childhood to young womanhood. New-to-me, though, is that the quinceañera receives a "last doll" from her father during the celebration. At the end of the ceremony, the quinceañera gives that doll to younger girls. Charming?

Aside: okay, you "know" me: I would have tried to switch my new doll for an unwanted doll. Pause to cover face. Would that have been cheating? I suppose it would. And I have loathed high heels since my teen years when wearing them gave me the grace of
Big Bird. Replace dolls with high heels? No way. I did not sacrifice my dolls and action figures.

Did I get teased at fifteen for "playing with dolls?" Yes. Did peer pressure stop me? No. Why not? Because I was an outcast already. One of my younger brothers was "not retarded" per the doctors, but he was ... different. Today, he'd probably have been categorized as autistic, but back in the 1970's, shrug. He was handsome and charming and loved. Every now and then, however, he would throw temper tantrums. He'd wail and bite his hands and pound his chest - and hit anyone in his path. So we did not do a lot of socializing. So I could keep my dolls.


In my sixteenth year, though, I became a "collector." That redefinition allowed me to continue doing what I wanted to do: retain playscale figures and miniatures in my life. My family would tease me about "playing dolls." I had to demonstrate "maturity." Play? No more ... I was a curator. Mock serious face. I had a Duty to the Future, to future students of twentieth century culture. There were not many Barbie collectors back then. Antique and/or artist dolls reigned as respectable dolls; Barbie and similar vinyl dolls were considered "tacky." I was the Vanguard of the Vinyl Playscale Doll Movement - and every bit as pompous as that sounds, lol.

Eye roll. Shrug. Sigh. That's my coming-of-age, doll enthusiast origin story. 

16 comments:

billa's dolls and fashions said...

Hi D7ana,
well I had to give up my barbies when I was sixteen, and started all over from scratch three years ago. I love your story, you knew what you wanted even at sixteen!

Carrickters said...

What a great way to justify your collection - an original thinker even at 16. And great background information on that celebration too.

Vanessa said...

I wasn't aware of the doll connection to the Latin celebration. Nice little twist. I wasn't into dolls at that age. I had given them up years prior. Oddly enough I got heavily into stuffed animals around the age of 16. Garfield was my animal of choice. I had quite the collection. I didn't revisit Barbies again until I was a college graduate. Every time a young lady complains that her parents or friends thinks she's too old to be playing with dolls, I tell them to say they are a collector. You are so right that the word collector adds that level of maturity others think is needed. Glad to hear you have been with your dolls so long.

The grandmommy said...

I probably would have played with both you and your brother. I always had a "collection" of friends who were diverse and eclectic which probably lead up to me being a special ed teacher. My own children learned to accept and be tolerant of people because of my attitude.
I never stopped loving dolls. I went through a Cabbage Patch stage some of which were give to me by my children However, I am the one who didn't want to trade in my bobby socks for stockings so what can I tell you? LOL I also was the one who couldn't be talked out of a real working doll washing machine for my 12 or 13th birthday. Even though by that time I was wearing my high school sisters' clothes.
While others give my grandgirls electronic devices etc. for holidays, I still give them dolls and their accessories.
So, I guess you and I were destined to meet on some level. :-)

D7ana said...

Hi Billa's dolls and fashions, Carrickters, Vanessa, and The grandmommy!

@Billa's dolls and fashions - And what cool dolls you've gathered, starting 3 years ago!

@Carrickters - Oh, yes. I do like to "spin" things ;-)

@Vanessa - I got stuffed animals when I was very young; then a school teacher insisted that my folks buy me, a girl, dolls.

Glad to read others are using the collector defense, lol.

@The grandmommy - I'm glad we've met ;-D

Muff said...

My niece, who is Hispanic on her father's side, turned 15 this year and I thought she would have a quinceanera. However, she is a "princess" who gets what she wants anyway and said she didn't need a big todo for her 15th. Hrmph.

I wasn't much for dolls as a kid. I was more a tinkerer/loner/hateful hermit type. I guess you could say I collected books and stamps. I no longer have those stamps, but my love of books never waned.

D7ana said...

Hi Muff!

Lol about your "princess" niece.

I think it's cool how you now tinker with dolls.

I collected comic books for a while too. (As well as dolls) And books come and go for me.

jSarie said...

"The Vanguard of the Vinyl Playscale Doll Movement"! Love it!

I hadn't known about the quinceañera/doll connection, so that's interesting to hear about.

D7ana said...

Hi jSarie!

LOL, yes, I was a pompous um person even then.

The doll gift/giveaway was new to me, too ;-)

april_n_paris said...

D7ana,
I've always lived dolls. I still have my 1st given to me at 20 months old! At the age of 16, my parents moved into a new house and my father made me give up "all that junk" except for one doll. I still have her. I wasn't into Barbies until 5 years ago when Mattel launched the dolls in little black dresses. Now I am a full collector of Barbies, FR, & Tonners.

Roville said...

I just love your story. You're more interesting than the dolls, and you know how interesting I find dolls.

D7ana said...

Hi April_n_paris and Roville!

@April_n_paris - the Barbie Basics were one of Mattel's most fun series. I'm glad that you found them and that you've been able to return to doll fun.

@Roville - Awwww ... thanks! I have enjoyed reading your doll stories for years so I know how interesting you are, too ;-)

Chasing Joy said...

I really enjoyed reading your coming of age post. I never out grew my dolls either. My passion was Cabbage Patch Kids. I still have all of mine they are in my basement. I wish I stored them in a better way. Maybe if I have a daughter she will want to play with them :-)

That had to be tough growing up with your brother being what sounds like autistic. It's good you found a joy in collecting your dolls.

D7ana said...

Hi Chasing Joy! I'm glad you enjoyed this post. The Cabbage Patch Kids are cute; I think it would be neat to have your daughter enjoy them, too. Someday. I have a small one somewhere that has become a doll's doll ;-)

The tough part happened after he entered the public school system and as puberty hit. The temper tantrums were awful. But I did have my dolls and our close-knit family ;-) Joy is available.

Shasha said...

Tee-hee... this is a fun post, love it! I "paused" doll play at 14 and came back about 5 years ago...

D7ana said...

Glad you enjoyed this post, Shasha! Glad you returned to doll play and to SHARING that play ;-)