"Maybe we love our dolls because we can’t love ourselves,” a friend of mine—an artist who made drawings of dolls missing legs or arms or eyes, that all looked, somehow, eerily like her—once suggested. Perhaps this is the essential truth behind why we make effigies. And maybe this is why we tend to believe that children should have dolls that look like them, or at least that look like what they might eventually become. In 1959, Mattel introduced a doll that was, unlike most other dolls marketed for children, not a baby doll. The doll had breasts and wore makeup and was modeled after a doll sold in Germany as a gag gift for grown men. The man who designed the American version of the doll, a man who had formerly designed Sparrow and Hawk missiles for the Pentagon and was briefly married to Zsa Zsa Gabor, was charged with making the new Barbie doll look less like a “German street walker,” which he attempted in part by filing off her nipples.
In the past few decades, quite a few people have suggested—citing most often the offense of impossible proportions—that Barbie dolls teach young girls to hate themselves. But the opposite may be true. British researchers recently found that girls between the ages of seven and eleven harbor surprisingly strong feelings of dislike for their Barbie dolls, with no other toy or brand name inspiring such a negative response from the children. The dolls “provoked rejection, hatred, and violence,” and many girls preferred Barbie torture— by cutting, burning, decapitating, or microwaving—over other ways of playing with the doll. Reasons that the girls hated their Barbies included, somewhat poetically, the fact that they were “plastic.” The researchers also noted that the girls never spoke of one single, special Barbie, but tended to talk about having a box full of anonymous Barbies. “On a deeper level Barbie has become inanimate,” one of the researchers remarked. “She has lost any individual warmth that she might have possessed if she were perceived as a singular person. This may go some way towards explaining the violence and torture."
— “Relations” by Eula Biss
When did it become four am?
If my love gets lost in a black hole I’ll only have myself and gravity to blame
i don’t believe in heaven
but i do believe in heavenly bodies
like ours, colliding and swirling into one
another, spirited tangle or tango
aren’t the arms of the Mice flung out
in dance, coiling around each others’ necks
until death do us come together
two salacious celestials at the other end
of an intergalactic voyeur.
making love and making light don’t seem so
different anymore, do they?
Every kiss on the neck a star
bursting into existence our universe
is like some backwoods bazaar
and we’re standing in the corner
under dim lamplight
dancing to a composition death
emitting jets of heat from the centers of ourselves
i don’t believe in church
but i do believe in the mass
of a black hole
and the silence at the end of a song
and the darkness at the end of light
and the destruction at the end of our creation
I don’t mean to disappoint. I’m just not sorry when I do.
plastic succubae, they haunted my childhood sleep-those
throbless creatures with odd necks that snapped or crumbled
when thrown from the bed or bashed with a hammer
and i would wake into the welcoming dark, relieved
for those rosy-cheeked specters with fingers that would not part
had vanished and i could will myself to better dreams, forget
those blank voids that caused me cringings-for although
i could not appreciate death, i understood not living