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I Can’t Help It

July 25, 2011

Oh, lord, save me from myself.  I’ve discovered Blythe.

For the uninitiated, Blythe is a doll that was originally made back in 1972, but she didn’t catch on and was discontinued that same year, reportedly because she scared little girls with her wide-eyed, spaced-out, possibly menacing stare.

In 2001 a doll collector named Gina Garan published a book of photos of the doll called “This is Blythe” sparking the worldwide Blythe conflagration.  Blythe dolls are in production once again, and there are countless blogs and shops for custom Blythe dolls and absolutely unreal clothes and accessories for her.  You can learn everything you ever wanted to know about Blythe at Gina’s blog, aptly titled This is Blythe.  It’s worth a trip over to Gina’s blog, if only to watch the clip of the original t.v. commercial for Blythe (on the “about” page).  Seriously trippy.

I learned about the Blythe phenomenon after hearing that the annual BlytheCon was held here in Portland just last month (missed it!).   And, yes, I’m aware that lots of people find these dolls disturbing.  Online articles about BlytheCon prompted disparaging comments even from open-minded, arty farty Portlanders.   Comments such as: “fugly and freepy”, “blyarf”, and the simple yet emotive “Jesus.”  But I just can’t help myself — I think I love her.  I am not blind to her creepiness.  In fact, it is the vaguely sinister vacancy in the eyes that kind of draws me in.

The funny thing is, there are other dolls that are really popular and people go nuts customizing them and making all manner of teeny tiny clothes and accessiories for them.  But for some reason, these dolls do nothing for me.  Sure, they’re creepy.  But not in the good way.  Like the Lati doll:

I mean, it hits all the marks for cute and quirky, but ew.  Nope.  Nothing.

Or the Pullip doll:

Now, I have to admit that if I were to make an actual foray into the world of Blythe, I would be very tempted to re-create clothes from classic movies.  But, as close to my own sensibility as the above image comes, the doll just falls flat for me.  Maybe the simple reason is that the Tali and Pullip dolls are too realistic — not cartoonish or stylized enough.  And there you have it — it is reality that truly creeps me out.

So, open your mind, feast your eyes, and escape from reality for a little while:

Until next time! xxx


One Comment leave one →
  1. katethieltges permalink
    August 21, 2011 8:35 am

    whoa, those are creepy! I’m glad I didn’t have those when I was little, because they definitely would have given me nightmares. You can really tell the difference between the original 1970’s doll and the newer more stylized ones.

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