I initially bought this doll because she is very close to my idea of a perfect Midge/ Diva. When I was collecting the first time round, I had very firm ideas about Midge. As well as my issue with her freckles, which I discussed last week, I also felt strongly that this face looks best when painted without heavy makeup. Since becoming familiar with the “Diva” series and getting Speed Racer Trixie (who I blogged about in July) I’ve modified my opinion a little bit, but in the 90s dolls like this made me cringe:
(sorry for the rubbish picture, it was the only one I could find and she’s currently packed up so I can’t re-photograph her at the mo). I just don’t think the hot pink lipstick and yellow eyeshadow does anything to enhance her ethereal features, but this was the way nearly all Barbies were at this time. My new Midge, with her natural, understated look, struck me as a rare doll – obviously older, but brunette with darker skin, and not suffering from 80s makeup syndrome.
I got her with no real hope of ever identifying her, as she came without clothes (I find the older the doll, the harder – usually – to identify, partly because I don’t know as much about earlier dolls). However, as I sorted out her tangled hair, I found her hairband still attached underneath it. Something about it made me think of DOTW, and given her long dark hair I thought Native American was a good place to start (I also thought with her little headband and her otherworldly gaze, she would have been the perfect hippie Barbie, but I suspected Mattel would never have made anything like that). I eventually found a picture of her – she’s a fourth edition Native American DOTW and was released in 1997.
It strikes me as a bit sad that at this time there was no other place in Barbieworld for natural-looking Brunettes – that she couldn’t just be a Barbie looking like this, but instead had to be a doll that was “about” race. I’ve been reading Erica Rand’s “Barbie’s Queer Accessories” recently and she points out that Barbie has often been marketed as having no ethnicity herself, whereas dolls/ characters around her are often defined by their ethnicity. Rand sees this as inherent racism. I’ve thought about this and I’ve started to wonder, actually, is there an American DOTW? Not Native American, but American – America is part of the world, isn’t it? I’ve looked but I can’t find one.
Anyhoo, my Native American DOTW has been lots of fun – a bit of restoration, a bit of doll detective work, and a really nice doll at the end of it.
PS. In these pics, she’s wearing artsy fashion pack boots, vintage jacket and jeans, and a Ken teeshirt.