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“Babydoll” by Dorian Mooneyham

Written By: Kenny Schreiber May 7, 2010 2 Comments

As soon as I enter the YFT building I’m plastered with hugs. It’s hard not to feel like a celebrity when everyone greets you with a hug and the words, “Hey, Gorgeous!”

I made special effort to get here, despite working long hours and living in Plano without a car. Today is “Gender Specific Toy Night.”

In Gender Identity Group we were asked to bring a toy that plagued or delighted us during childhood so we could unpack the emotions associated with it. At first I couldn’t focus on anything. Most of my toys were gender-neutral, with the exception of my action figures I played with like Barbies. I had Legos, chemistry sets, telescopes, microscopes, space ships, models, video games and other toys that were certainly nerdy, but not really gendered.

Then I remembered one toy of mine that was gender-neutral to everyone but my daddy: my Cabbage Patch Doll. He had spiky blond hair and blue eyes, “Because he’s my baby,” I often shared with other girls my age. I couldn’t quite understand why my doll was a boy when all the other girls had girls, so I fondly named him, “Boy”. As an adult I learned my daddy threw a fit when I first received him and anytime I went in public with him, which was constant until school started. The women of my family came to my defense and said there was nothing wrong with my behavior, which he begrudgingly accepted.

Although I grew out of my doll phase I still loved and prized him over all my stuffed toys. But at the age of 12 my daddy sold Boy at a garage sale while I was visiting my mom. I cried like I had lost a family member. I could see my daddy’s disapproval of my gendered behavior was much stronger than I realized and thereafter tried to “be a man” in his presence. My mother tried to console me by tearing into daddy but the damage was done.

Ever since, I’ve hoped to find another doll like Boy, but no such luck. So I went to Target the day before to get a generic doll substitute. I selected a doll with yellow yarn hair and blue eyes and purchased her with no discomfort or embarrassment. Only after talking with another girl tonight do I realized this was the first time I have ever made a purchase from “The Pink Aisle”. I remember being so drawn to that aisle as a child but feeling physically ill because I knew I wasn’t “supposed” to like them. I believed every patron would know my secret shame from my mere presence in the aisle. Now that I’ve grown up it’s easy for me to forget how far I’ve come. I know if I went back in time and told 8-year-old Dorian that she’d be buying dresses, makeup and babydolls without any trouble when she’s a grown-up she’d tell me I was full of it. The distance I’ve traveled absolutely amazes me sometimes.


  • Babydoll said:

    I am smiling just surfing your blog. Thank you so much for the post!
    Nice blog!

  • Babydoll said:

    Oh cool, your post is really nice and definitely is comment worthy!
    Nice job. And oh your blog is great.

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