Dollelgangers – Ghoulias

17 May

I feel kind of bad about this, because I have plenty of Monster Highs I haven’t posted about yet and here I am doing a re-feature. Then again, I only have two Ghoulias, so she seemed like the obvious doll for this post. Also, she’s always nice to come back to now and again because she photographs so beautifully.

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I’ve not bothered very much with Ghoulia because – I’m sorry, I know this is probably not going to win me any Ghoulia-loving friends – I just don’t think that later waves have lived up to the first-wave version. First-wave Ghoulia is a perfect Emo doll, she’s accurately observed and oozes character. I love her fingerless gloves and her layered tops – she’s stylish, but still alternative and slightly geeky. Later-wave dolls have often been beautiful and glamorous but (actually, partly because of this) they’ve never quite caught the mood as far as I’m concerned. Skull Shores saw Ghoulia make a little foray into a vintage look and this suited her just fine, but then of course Operetta came along and that was the end of that.

Anyway, back to the point. I’m posting double Ghoulias because I’m interested in the whole phenomenon of waves, which is basically a way of selling the same doll with minor changes over and over again. Often, dolls from different waves are intended to represent the same character in different situations. Monster High has pushed this approach to the limit – there are roller-skating dolls, sixteenth birthday party dolls, having your school photo taken dolls, even sorting your wardrobe out dolls. As a consequence, there are doubtless plenty of children (and collectors) with bulging cupboards full of many versions of the same doll. Compare this to the situation thirty years ago, when what manufacturers sought to sell most of were the fashion packs, not the dolls.

So yes, if you were going to be cynical you could say that its a way of wringing more money out of us, and you would be right. But the fact is, its also a popular approach with the doll-buying market, and I think its popular because in some ways it allows us to suspend our disbelief just a little bit further than we would have done otherwise by showing us different episodes in the doll’s “life”. As a child, I remember being very aware that there were limits to how much I could change my doll in order to fit in with whatever story I was telling. For example, if I had a doll who was very made-up, it would disappoint me that she would have to look that way all the time, even if she was gardening or camping. If she had a very elaborate hairstyle, I would think about how uncomfortable it would be to have to go to bed in it, but if I took her hair down, what would we do the next time she had a party to attend? I’m not a hundred per cent convinced that producing the same character in different situations is a perfect answer to this, but I can understand why it appeals to so many.

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8 Responses to “Dollelgangers – Ghoulias”

  1. discodiva1979 May 18, 2013 at 2:22 am #

    Wow! She does photograph well, compliments to the photographer as well. I agree with the money laundering, sure miss those vintage fashion/accessory packs.

    • barbielea May 18, 2013 at 9:48 pm #

      Thanks very much DD

    • Andrea May 21, 2013 at 3:02 pm #

      Money Laundering is a good expression and yes, it really feels that way to me. I never gave the hairstyles of my dolls that much thought as a kid, fo me the plot of my story play was more important, than the realism. But I remember, I was more into new outfits, than new dolls.

      I also hear lots of parents complain how expensive the Monster High Fashions are, so maybe they rather buy a new doll to get more for their money.

      I also like first wave Ghoulia the best. She is Ghoulia-perfection. Besides, how many of the same character with minor differences does one need?

      • barbielea May 21, 2013 at 9:38 pm #

        Hi Andrea. Absolutely right! Faced with buying a new doll in a new outfit OR just the outfit for virtually the same price, most parents are going to buy the new doll. Wouldn’t it be nice if more parents rebelled against all the consumerism by making their own MH clothes, as was common with Barbie once upon a time? But I suspect that children would prefer the constant stream of new dolls anyway – they’re so coordinated and put-together in their factory outfits, and there’s so much buzz and hype (especially online) about the new lines.

        Er, on a related note – I’ve got a new Ghoulia crush. I nearly bought Scaris Ghoulia a couple of days ago, and I don’t think its going to be long before I end up getting her. Seems I (always) need one more of the same character with minor differences *sigh*

  2. Andrea May 22, 2013 at 10:15 am #

    I think most moms don’t have the time for sewing doll clothes anymore, as most of the moms are working half or full time to help make ends meet.

    Plus kids today spend much more time with television and are more exposed to the ads, that make them aware of the new stuff. In my childhood days, television was very limited for me. I had the booklets that came with the doll or the outfits and it was a question if the stuff was available in the toystore around the corner.

    There is one neat side effect for us collectors, with the kids being so over saturated with new dolls, though: the dolls get less messed up in play and show up much sooner at yard sales and fleamarkets. 😉 Good for our wallets.

    I so know that doll crush problem. Hydration Station Lagoona did that to me, I was stalking the toyshelf waiting for a markdown. Luckily I got her for christmas. If you really want Scaris Ghoulia badly, then get her or you will regret it.

    • discodiva1979 May 22, 2013 at 3:10 pm #

      You hit hit the nail right on the head-very true! I gave purchased quite a few dolls at the thrift store in very good condition & yes, good for us!!!!!! Times have changed. My mother sewed all my Barbie/Ken clothes so getting a new Barbie was a real treat & those booklets were fun to look at, wish I had kept them!

    • barbielea May 22, 2013 at 6:28 pm #

      All very true. I am always amazed at the amount of dolls who are under a year old who end up on eBay … it sometimes makes me a bit sad, it seems that dolls are becoming even more ephemeral, But on the other hand, I admit its nice to be able to find them on the second-hand market in such good condition …

      I’m letting my Ghoulia crush settle a bit, see if it digs in. If I bought all the dolls I have a strong impulse to buy at some point, I’d be left pretty much unable to pay the bills :/ collector, know thyself

  3. amystika18n December 2, 2014 at 8:49 pm #

    I love Ghoulia too. The idea of a genius zombie is so fun! I have Skultimate Roller Maze Ghoulia-couldn’t resist her banana-curl pigtails with the green streaks-and the Ghoulia fashion pack, and she looks just as good in it as she does in her roller derby dress. Now if I could just find Sir Hoots-a-Lot on his own…

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