Sunday, March 1, 2009

Plastic Possibilities

Something about dad as a doll doesn't seem to work. That at least is the feeling that accompanies this week's objet d'eBay, Steve, the father of the mid-70s Mattel doll collection, the Sunshine Family.

Perhaps we're not ready to have dads as co-stars in doll land because it is too hard to explain all that they are and do in real life. We need one simple story for a doll to work. For example, Barbie gets to be a fabulous 50, after having a multitude of careers and adventures. The best known male doll, the GI Joe, may be "expanding the brand" into an electronic games and movies, but he still only does one thing: he fights and never fathers. What actually do fathers do in doll land?

Yes, they do whatever the kids who play with them imagine dads could do. But what really do kids imagine dads do other than go off to work? The measure of how far we are from the "stay-at-home-dad doll" is the telling sign of when dads will achieve true equality.

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