July
1st 2010
Valley of the Dolls, Stepford edition

Posted under: American history, art, Bodily modification, childhood, Dolls, Gender, GLBTQ, technoskepticism, the body, unhappy endings, wankers, weirdness, women's history

This creepy doll by Hans Bellmer, 1935

I can’t let the coincidence of this pass me by, since we’re talking about dolls and the objectification of girls’ and women’s bodies againSquadratomagico has a great post up on the off-label hormonal engineering of baby girl fetuses who have tested positive for (gasp!) Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia, which means that they frequently have ambiguous genitalia, may possess a strong interest in softball, and “as a group have a lower interest than controls in getting married and performing the traditional child-care/housewife role.” 

(Well, what thinking woman doesn’t agree with that last bit?  Seriously:  if you dig scrubbing crusty surfaces and wiping snotty noses and bums, that should be a symptom of clinical depression, not normative behavior in any adult, male or female.  Most of us do that junk because we don’t want the state condemning our houses and taking our kids away.)

Click immediately on this link to join the discussion.  I left a comment over there, so I’ll be following that thread.  Something else I didn’t mention in my comment is the odd equation of childhood behavior with adult predisposition for motherhood among these alleged sufferers of CAH:  “As children, they show an unusually low interest in engaging in maternal play with baby dolls, and their interest in caring for infants, the frequency of daydreams or fantasies of pregnancy and motherhood, or the expressed wish of experiencing pregnancy and having children of their own appear to be relatively low in all age groups.”  What a stupid way to think about children or the importance of play. 

My brother played army a lot and carried his guns in a purse when he was a child, and yet he neither grew up to enlist in the military nor carries a purse now at the age of 39.  When I was a kid, my entire room was lined with mini-kitchen appliances, and I wrote stories at school about how I wanted to grow up to be a “housewife.”  (And you can see how that turned out for me.)  Both of us loved making “forts” with blankets and couch cushions, and yet neither of us sleep regularly on the floor and in fact both of us live in traditional houses now.  It must be a genuine miracle of nature that we grew up to have different interests than our play-selves did at periods in our childhood!  (Somebody better go round up all of those little boys I played astronaut with back in the Apollo-mission days, because none of them grew up to be astronauts.  Test them!  Inject their sons and grandsons with untested hormones!)

(H/t to Vance Maverick for introducing me to the supremely creepy Hans Bellmer.)

5 Comments »

5 Responses to “Valley of the Dolls, Stepford edition”

  1. Vance Maverick on 01 Jul 2010 at 2:42 pm #

    In the words of a woman who modeled and collaborated with him, “the person ‘who is sketched by him, or photographed…by his pencil [sic] participates with Bellmer in the abomination of herself.’”

  2. squadratomagico on 01 Jul 2010 at 3:47 pm #

    Thanks for the shout-out, Historiann! And yes — new commenters are encouraged to add their perspectives on this repulsive new story.

  3. Z on 01 Jul 2010 at 11:14 pm #

    Now I’ll go and read Squadromatico, but I read about this on Clarissa. Then I followed some threads and it seems that this surgery isn’t just done by some wacko at Cornell, it’s sort of standard, and the guy at Cornell’s bag is to try to improve upon the standard. Hmmmmmm……

  4. Z on 01 Jul 2010 at 11:43 pm #

    OK, now I’ve also read the link on Bellmer. Fascinating.

    I wrote PR at Cornell a few days ago to ask about the genital mutilation project; haven’t heard back yet. More people should probably write.

  5. nicolec on 03 Jul 2010 at 10:56 am #

    This is truly horrifying, thanks for the link! You make an excellent point about what we do as children and how little that reflects on the type of adults we become! The fact that expectant parents are participating in this despite the risks (“a use that is unapproved and outside the scope of normal ethical oversight and clinical trials”) speaks volumes about our society. It is better to subject your fetus to a drug that isn’t approved than to risk having a LESBIAN!!!!!!! Now if we can only find a way to fix those pesky gay boys who don’t want to do it with our girly girls (with perfectly shaped girl parts…what’s the problem boys?)