This is gonna be a long one, folks, so get comfy.
By now, some of the more perceptive of you will notice I’ve gotten very into the doll collecting community. I always loved dolls and stuffed animals as a kid, and I never really grew out of that, as evidenced by the fact that my computer desk is packed with various stuffed animals including Neopets, Pokémon, and Beanie Babies. My adult collection of fashion dolls started officially when I discovered the one fashion doll that survived my childhood - an original wave Jade Bratz doll I received for Christmas in my early teens. That means my Jade doll is officially over ten years old, and she is in incredible condition considering.
Since then, I’ve been systematically adding to my collection, which now includes Monster High dolls, an Ever After High Madeline Hatter, a Bratzillas Cloetta Spelletta, a Barbie Fashionistas Raquelle, a Beatrix Girls Lark, and my two recent additions, English Country Garden and Robot Girl Lottie.
One thing I remember even from my childhood in the early nineties is how many parents disapproved of the message fashion dolls conveyed in terms of body image, aspirations, and even gender identity. When I was a kid, Barbie had multiple ‘jobs’, or at least dolls representing women in these career paths, so I never quite got the ‘aspirations’ aspect of the argument, but looking back, I kinda see where they were coming from.