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. 

Happy Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day