I never really understood why, as a young girl, I never had a Barbie doll. Shocking, I know. Instead, I had the Dawn doll (it’s a thing). Now I get it. If you follow the link on the image, you will find yourself in a retro blog that sports more vintage Dawn propaganda. It’s cool.
Dawn dolls not only were, as you can see for yourself, the MOST beautiful freaking dolls in the world—they were also approximately half the size of the better-known Barbie. This insured that the little girl caste system would remain intact and there would be no mixing of the two worlds without implied inferiority, silky hair or not. If Dawn or any of her posse tried to rock that pink Malibu car, they would have slid off the seats and been ticketed by the California Highway Patrol for some sort of minimum driving height violation. No amount of low budget fringe or elephant bell bottom pants would have made a difference.
See the dress Dawn is wearing, with the snappy little belt? I had that dress on a doll. I can feel the raspy golden belt all these years later. It is not a fond memory. You try tying that metallic cord in a bow for a smaller-than-Barbie fashion doll with swivel hips.
Don’t get me wrong—I’m not resentful about my Barbie-less childhood. Did it contribute to my later, non-conformist years? I like to think so. As a woman on the petite side, I thank Dawn for the enduring sense that I am taller than I appear in photographs. And I totally understand my mom’s financial dilemma. Even though the benevolent God saw to it that I was to be a mother of sons, one of them racks up some pricey totals on the Legos on his Amazon Wish List, and I have, on occasion, fallen for the temptation of the bigger, knock-off “Bill-duh-Bricks” set. Let’s just say he won’t be passing those on to my grandchildren.
From my minutes-long research on the fate of the Dawn line of fashion dolls, I learned that the company folded shortly after their reign, despite their alleged popularity, which accounts for the fact that I have never met one human being who shows the slightest glimmer of recognition upon hearing the phrase, “Dawn doll.” If I still had mine, I would likely have to insure them in the sixty-seven cent-per-doll range, in preparation for my opulent retirement. Guess I should continue teaching the cat synchronized swimming. I know that she is getting good at it, because my inflatable floaty is punctured from all the practice.