October
27th 2008
Monday morning doll blogging: Skipper and Judy Jetson!

Posted under: American history, Dolls, Gender, unhappy endings, women's history

Those broads over at Feminist Law Professors have done it again:  how’s about a little nostalgia for all of you 30- and 40-somethings out there to get you misty-eyed on a Monday morning.  (And not just because you don’t have time to watch the Superfriends any more before going to work because you still haven’t finished the book you assigned to your graduate seminar!)

First, Ann Bartow reminds us of one of the craziest dolls of the 1970s, “Growing Up Skipper,” who (those of you dames d’un certain age will remember) was the kid-sister of the Barbie family, and who grew breasts and got taller when you cranked around her left arm.  Pubertyriffic!

Next, Bridget Crawford reports on the so-called “Opt-Out Revolution” five years later, the topic of a speech by Lisa Belkin at a Pace Law School conference last Friday, “Women and the Law: How Far We’ve Come and Where We Need to Go.”  Go read Belkin if you must–E.J. Graff has shown that the “Opt-Out Myth” is something the New York Times discovers every decade or so–I was more taken with Crawford’s comments about how she thought we’d be past all of this feminism stuff because we’d get the ERA and equal pay and we could just sit back and enjoy the fruits of the labor of our foremothers in the feminist movement!  She writes:

It was not that long ago (um, ok, yes it was) when the older girls in my grade school were singing Helen Reddy’s “I Am Woman.” I remember thinking women wouldn’t “need” that song in the future.  I remember thinking we wouldn’t need cars, either.  We’d all have George Jetson-like space vehicles that were powered by air (courtesy of my childhood imagination).  I assumed the 21st century would be so different from life as we knew it then.  But we’re here and it’s not.

Yeah, man:  where the hell is my flying car?

11 Comments »

11 Responses to “Monday morning doll blogging: Skipper and Judy Jetson!”

  1. Erica on 27 Oct 2008 at 10:18 am #

    Wow, Buzz and I were just talking about the Superfriends yesterday, this one episode where Robin got all sorts of superpowers… oh, sorry.

    In both factories I had jobs at, the majority of my female co-workers HAD to work. Most were at a blue-collar level. (This means both that there were fewer women in high level and/or salaried positions, AND that there were a lot more blue-collar workers in general.) It was pretty equally split between married and single/divorced mothers — if there was a spouse, he was often employed at approximately the same level of pay. Also, many of the male blue-collar workers had spouses who worked outside the home for financial reasons.

    I’ve met very few women who worked just for fulfillment. And I don’t just mean working so you can afford better vacations or two cars, I mean working for the sake of intellectual stimulation and the money’s just gravy. I can think of fewer than five.

    At the moment I’m unemployed, and it’s perhaps the first of three stints of unemployment where I actually don’t financially need to work. (About time this PhD spouse started paying his way.) So I spend my days angstily reading blogs, and wondering whether I’m doing feminism a disservice by giving up on trying incredibly hard to find a job, then wondering whether it’s really all that bad to sit at home and play with a baby all day, then realizing a baby can be incredibly boring so oh God get me out of here now I’ll go flip burgers just let me leave the house!!!

    Women really can’t win. It’s selfish to leave you kids in daycare, it’s giving up to stay home with them. Women who work outside the home are sneered at by stay-at-homes, and vice versa. My mother badgers me constantly if I am working, asking “do you know what your daughter is learning at that preschool???” and inspiring all sorts of lurid paranoid fears of child molesters at her daycare. When I’m out of work and they’re home with me, Daughter gets bored and angry and wants to go back to school to play with all her friends. I’ve decided my safest mental health route is to ignore absolutely everything.

    (Finally: If you really want your car to fly, find a bunch of eager young engineering students who want to build a catapult. It will be able to fly repeatedly, although I can’t guarantee it will still drive.)

  2. GayProf on 27 Oct 2008 at 10:21 am #

    I remember Growing-up Skipper gaining height, but didn’t know her bustline increased as well. Mattel is crazy.

  3. Historiann on 27 Oct 2008 at 10:28 am #

    Landings are important to me, Erica–I want a car that flies, lands, and takes off again safely. (I won’t mind wearing a 5-point harness, though, if that’s what it takes.)

    I hear you about the mommy wars, which I think are mostly ginned up by media coverage and “Dr.” Laura Schlessinger. I think you’re right that there’s no way to win–the problem is that one choice isn’t always better in every case than the other (crudely put, to work for pay outside the home, or to work for nothing inside the home). As a wise friend of mine once said, that kind of advice only makes sense if all women and all children are absolutely identical, and course that’s absurd. The big problem is that whether women choose to stay home or to go to work, women making decisions about their lives, and we can’t have that! No, sirreee. Whatever you personally choose to do for yourself and your family–it’s wrong. Just keep that in mind, and you’ll do fine.

    This is what I tell my women’s history students, most of whom tend to be young women: just do whatever the hell you want to do with your life, because there’s always someone who will criticize you and blame you for imaginary crimes against your children (or, your lack of children and therefore your crimes against nature, which will be held against you too.)

  4. Historiann on 27 Oct 2008 at 10:30 am #

    Oh, and GayProf: I don’t know how any woman my age has managed to avoid breast implants. Seriously, as if Barbie’s bustline wasn’t intimidating enough, Skipper’s magically appearing bumps made everyone I knew in my ‘tween years incredibly breast-conscious. (I think that was one of the subplots of _Are You There God, It’s Me, Margaret_, the folklore that circulates among girls about how to grow bigger boobs faster.)

  5. Sisyphus on 27 Oct 2008 at 10:16 pm #

    Hey, my sister had a growing up Pepper doll (uh, one of Barbie’s friends I think?) that I ruined for her while still a toddler!

    Ahh, the memories … it’s good to be the youngest.

  6. Historiann on 28 Oct 2008 at 5:50 am #

    Pepper, eh? She must have been before or after my prime Barbie years, 1973-1981, and 2007-present.

  7. Little Midwestern College on 29 Oct 2008 at 11:57 am #

    My sister had Growing Up Skipper, someone gave it to her as a present, which I think simultaneously horrified my mother and made her laugh her head off. Superfriends! What about Electra Woman and Dyna Girl (can you believe Diedre Hall was Electra Woman?), and the Secret of Isis?

  8. Historiann on 29 Oct 2008 at 12:09 pm #

    I don’t remember Electra Woman and Dyna Girl–but I thought Isis was cool. She wore a cute mini-toga and flew, right? (For some reason, I have her paired in my mind with Shazam, but I don’t know if they ever had a relationship.) Were they on the same channel in consecutive timeslots? Maybe that’s why they’re associated in my mind!

  9. Little Midwestern College on 01 Nov 2008 at 9:32 am #

    I seem to remember that Shazam was definitely connected to both shows–I have the sense that there was an “equal time” for boys and girls things going on, and Shazam (and something else I wasn’t interested in but the boys I knew were) was on before or after EW&DG and Isis. Isis was the archaeologist who found the amulet that turned her into Isis. . .

  10. How gud iz ur reeding comprehenshen and Barbie knitting skilz? : Historiann : History and sexual politics, 1492 to the present on 21 Nov 2008 at 6:05 am #

    [...] Thanks, Robert, for your gentlemanly defense of this humble blog!  When I ran Historiann.com through the analyzer yesterday, it was ranked as High School, so I’ve been promoted!  Yay?  (The company was much better in my old junior high, I have to say.)  Do I say “wev” too often?  Is that it?  Or is it the Barbies and their cunning, tiny knitted couture?  My guess is that Nouriel Roubini hasn’t posted much on the Sex and the City:  The Movie, and Glenn Greenwald has completely ignored Skipper and Judy Jetson. [...]

  11. Where the hell is my flying car? : Historiann : History and sexual politics, 1492 to the present on 24 Aug 2010 at 9:38 am #

    [...] Eat your heart out, Judy Jetson.  I got a new car.  (Thanks, Fratguy!)  [...]

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