"Harmony" doll

rachel b. martin (mart0167@GOLD.TC.UMN.EDU)
Tue, 21 Jan 1997 03:52:47

I'll take up Kali's request for new posts with a meditative query about
dolls. A colleague here at the University of Minnesota just gave a working
paper about ethnic Barbies which provoked considerable discussion. We
tried to figure out when a "hippie" Barbie came out, which the resident
expert estimated as 1971. I recalled my sister's (b. 1969) and my (b.
1968) experiences with The Sunshine Family, but couldn't date its
appearance. And then Sunday's paper included the ubiquitous coupon section
and an advertisement for "Harmony" by Nancy Leslie. Harmony, claims the
Danbury Mint ad, is "a one-of-a-kind porcelain collector doll capturing the
free spirit of the '60s."

As the ad copy continues, "Who will ever forget the 1960s? It was a
colorful decade with a style all its own. Now, you can relive the
exuberant spirit of those days with _Harmony_ -- a one-of-a-kind collector
doll portraying a sweet child of the '60s.... Harmony's hand-tailored
attire will instantly sweep you back to the '60s. Just look at her
colorful 'tie-died' shirt, appliqued hiphugger bell-bottoms, macrame belt
and faux-suede fringed vest. Note too, her boldly patterned headband and
faux-suede sandals. For the perfect finishing touches, Harmony wears love
beads and a peace symbol around her neck. No detail has been overlooked."

There's more, but at the risk of wearing your collective patiences thin,
allow me to just ask the primary question I have about this particular
style of commemoration: Isn't it fascinating that this cherubic blond
thing flashing a peace sign and gripping a nosegay is so white and so
female and so innocently angelic? It seems so sanitized to me, and I
wonder if others have seen the ad or encountered this construction.
Knowledge of literature on the Sunshine Family, hippie Barbie, etc. is
invited, but anecdotes seem the more likely response. I find the contrast
between the pure white female iconized here and the real grubbiness of life
on the street in Hashberry rather dissonant. How about you?

Rachel B Martin