My Little Monster
As noted in the previous post, Poe at Poe Ghostal’s Points of Articulation has graciously agreed to host my Ghoulia Yelps review, wherein I wring my hands a bit about the message these skinny, pretty dolls might send to my young, impressionable daughter. Well, unbeknownst to me, when my daughter Maitea recently visited her friend Emma, allowing me to surreptitiously play with Emma’s Lagoona Blue doll, Emma was busy showing Maitea all her other Monster High dolls. My wife was aware of the Monster High obsession that resulted from this visit, but I was oblivious; in my defense, when last I asked my daughter what she thought of Monster High dolls, she dismissed the entire series as “gross” because Lagoona Blue has webbed fingers.
I went ahead and explained to Maitea my concern: for all their monster trappings, these dolls send girls the message that the most important thing is being pretty.
“That’s not what they say to me,” she replied.
I have decided to trust that this is the case.
Meanwhile, I am always seeking creative activities for my daughter, and so, once I discovered that she was no less fascinated by these goofy dolls than I am, I sort of distractedly responded to her complaints of boredom the other day by suggesting that she draw a self-portrait. A Monster High self-portrait.
“Will you do it with me?” she asked.
And so I did.
Unfortunately, I could not decide on a monster gimmick for myself. Back in the late ’90s I babysat a young boy who created for me the nickname “Monster”, but as a character name it’s a bit limited and obvious. At a loss, then, I decided to simply create a self-portrait utilizing Monster High proportions.
I tried to make myself look plenty old and tired, but it’s difficult to make out the bags under the eyes in .JPEG form, and by coloring in the hair I unwittingly made it look considerably less gray than is accurate. Nonetheless, I am tentatively planning to use aging as my monster gimmick; as a play on The Picture of Dorian Gray (which I still need to read), I have decided that my monster self is someone who mistakenly believes he isn’t aging when in fact he is aging with terrifying speed and intensity. I’m not sure yet how to account for his confusion. Does he avoid mirrors? Does he gaze at a photo of himself as a young man and mistakenly believe it’s his reflection? I haven’t decided. If I go with the childhood portrait option, it could help account for why this character, a teacher like his real-life counterpart, spends his time following childish pursuits like toys and cartoons… like his real-life counterpart.
Whatever the case, I thought I’d call him Dorian Graying, but then I thought that perhaps DeLorean Graying would be more fun. I also thought I would pay tribute to my globetrotting adventures of the past three years by making Mr Gray an international teacher who has traveled the world… on Receding Airlines.
Meanwhile, my daughter’s Monster High self-portrait is called Batcatiefrankiestacialegous Dogrina. Behold:
According to Maitea’s notes, the accessories include a notebook, “Brain for lunch”, “3 hearts for snack”, “1 bone for snack”, a brain bicycle helmet (presumably inspired by Roller Daze Ghoulia’s rollerblading helmet) and, since the character is part feline, a “hairball basket”. Gross!
She has bat wings and parrot wings, plus a habit of panting (because she is part canine, you see). She has sharp teeth, “fur on legs”, a cat tail, stitches, bloody eyes and “1 ware wolf ear”; the other ear is a half-cat, half-dog ear.
While I did give her some Monster High stickers, I haven’t bought Maitea a Monster High doll yet, not least because our financial situation is so dire at the moment.
But if her self-portrait is any indication, my fears were misguided; apparently she is more interested in being a monster than in succumbing to pervasive beauty standards. Yay!