Welcome to Fun Stuff Friday, the part of the blog where I discuss dolls and playthings. This week: The New Barbie.
Barbie has graced the toyboxes of little girls since 1959 (and the shelves of big girl collectors since about the 1980s) as the teen-age fashion model, the first of her kind in America. (Previous fashion dolls included Germany's Bild Lilli and Japan's Kyoto Bijin dolls) She has not been without controversy, her ummm... measurements and waist size, for one. "Tattoo Barbie", Barbie's lack of diversity as a toy line, etc. But her status, no matter what as the one of the last bastions of femininity and class left to children cannot be taken from her. Even my brother thinks so, and he doesn't care! She's even a symbol of rebellion in certain countries, where she is illegal, having a Barbie fights against tyrannical governments.
From those humble beginnings to today, Barbie has made some changes. Most recently in 2016, Barbie debuted 5 new and different body types, which is what this blog is really about. The five types are called "classic", "petite" "tall" "curvy" and "Made to Move". The only one I don't have photos of is petite, so you'll have to take my word for it.
I know, I know, I did a list last week, but this subject was too good to pass up. My mom, for those of you who don't know, grew up in fantasy's heyday and was a great consumer of fantasy and sci-fi and here are the things that annoy her as both a consumer and a mom!
Number 1: Conversations You Don't Get
When your kids can have whole conversations in lines and jargon that you don't understand... that's pretty annoying.
Number 2: Feminist/Misogynistic Schlock.
Good morning, and welcome to my first "Top 5s" list! In this list I'm discussing my top 5 fantasy TV shows. For this list I've chosen shows that have spectacular "worldbuilding", character design, and writing. These shows are certainly not for everyone, and sometimes the writing or acting can be a little iffy, but they have also made an impact on the fantasy world. Everyone ready? Let's get started!
Number 1: Beauty and the Beast, 1987
This is one of the shows that might not be the best in the world, but the worldbuilding was excellent. Vincent (played by Ron Perlman) a knightly mutant, lives below the streets of New York City, hidden from the eyes of those who would use and abuse him. His great physical power is only matched by his compassion and his love for valiant Catherine (Linda Hamilton), who defeats oppressors of the poor and disadvantaged with the law as an assistant DA. This show could be cheesy as all get-out, but the way the series was constructed and set in such a way as you could believe that Vincent was real. I have not yet seen a live-action adaptation of Beauty and the Beast that captures Madame Le Prince De Beaumont's vision as well as this one.
Well, here we are again! Fun Stuff Friday is the segment of the blog where I'll be discussing what this blog is named for: Dolls and toys!
This week I want to talk to you about a toy company based in my local area. This company is prolific as they are creative, with a finger in every pie, but never sacrificing quality. Ladies and Gentlemen: Maison Joseph Battat Toys.
To give it it's proper title, Le Maison Joseph Battat is a toy manufacturer based dually in Montreal, Quebec and Plattsburgh, NY, both only about an hour or two from my house. Battat has been making toys since 1895 and has been making and designing toys in America for 45 years. This commitment to quality that comes with time is clear in every toy they make. Currently, Battat is partnered with Target to bring their toys to the world. (I realize Target is a touchy issue for some of my readers, and I didn't like their bathroom policy, but they have repaired some of their issues by adding what I call a "third option" bathroom. If you still feel "oochy" about Target, that is up to you completely. You can find loads of Battat toys on Ebay and they're just as good!)
Battat makes many toys that would be familiar to many doll collectors: The Lori mini-dolls, Our Generation 18 inch dolls, Lil' Woodzeez animal toys, and wonderful toddler toys from their B. Imprint. Additionally, Battat has a wonderful policy about manufacturing in China AND even better is their partnership with Free the Children to build schools. With every Our Generation doll item or B. item you buy, a portion of the money goes to building schools and providing clean water and other needs.
Speaking of 18 inch dolls, you're more than likely thinking "Like American Girl?" And I will say, yes, like American Girl, but not like American Girl... in some ways better. OG, as they are called in collector parlance, features so many wonderful things that it's hard to narrow down. They have a huge variety of ethnic dolls, clothes and accessories that are high-quality, and care in making each doll.
Welcome to Media Monday, the post of the week where I discuss media that catches my eye. Here you'll find reviews, "Top 5" lists of characters and shows, and so much more! Let's get started!
I normally can't stick TV anime, not at any price, I do like Studio Ghibli movies however. But as I was going through the kids section of Netflix searching for a new review subject, I came across a series called "Glitter Force", an anime series for children. I thought to myself "Well, I can always pan it!" There was a lot to pan... but I couldn't help but like it.
Emily, a fairy tale loving young lady, is rushing to her new school in an effort not be late after oversleeping. On her way there, Emily is brained by a Pixie named Candy, who crashed from the sky. At first, Emily is delighted; a real pixie, just like in her favorite fairy tales! Then she learns that Candy has been sent to find the “Glitter Force” a group of mighty warriors who will defend earth, and Candy’s homeland, Jubiland (which we hope is badly translated) against the forces of evil, represented by an evil Jester, the Big Bad Wolf, a Witch, an Ogre, and the big bad, Emperor Nogo. Through supreme acts of courage, Emily and her classmates, Kelsey, Lilly, April, and Chloe, are chosen to be the Glitter Force. Together, they face off with the fairy tale villains in an effort to help the Earth, and keep Jubiland safe.
I know that this post won't make a hill o' bean's worth of difference to the higher-ups at Disney, or any other entertainment company, really. But I intend to have my say.
You've made some colossal blunders in the past, Disney, beginning with High School Musical, really. You've ignored the cartoons that made you great in favor of schlock that will make you money, and furthermore over delivering a quality product. Oh, sure, Tangled was alright, but I can't say it was anything we hadn't seen anywhere else. Frozen was overhyped, and these live action versions of the classics are... not enticing to me personally. (My apologies to my readers who do like Tangled and Frozen, they just aren't my thing.) Writing and creativity can make or break a story, and lately, both of these have been lacking. Not to mention the increasingly liberal ideology leaking into your recent releases.
I wanted to see Beauty and the Beast, the only live action remake that enticed me, but your announcement that LeFou is being portrayed as gay took the shine off. Not that I care about LeFou in the least, but it's the principal. That kind of content does not need to be in a family movie! It's tacky, and so many of my Christian peers are upset, because they too, loved BATB the way it was. You may be under the impression that this fiasco is progress, but it's really not. You're going to loose on this, in more ways than one, and it's quite sad.
Do you know what would really bring in my peers? What would win families back you your side? Make an effort to recapture the clever stories and characters that got the Millennials hooked on you in the beginning, without liberal junk. Or, better yet, put your great shows on DVD. You have no clue what a goldmine you're sitting on! Do you remember these two?
I'm T.K. Wilson, Read my blog for great information and stories about dolls, toy restoration, Christian Fantasy and so much more! Blog updates Fridays.