Barbie versus Bild Lilli or the Bourgeoise versus the Anti-Bourgeoise (myself)

Lemon Pledge Very Pretty – 1966

That said and done: Barbie was the ultimate bourgeoise nightmare, a Mad Men classic. My fascination with Barbie was entirely based on the subconscious desire to seduce and then hurt the sense of her raison d’etre, the bourgeoise ethic. I was fascinated with Barbie. At first it was like love, blinding and overwhelming, only later deep within me did I understand it to be horror. With an entire mini-household at my disposal, all I lacked was, as the coined phrase goes, “woman of the house” which incidentally made no sense to me at all. Why did it have to be a “mommy” type? I wanted to do all the dusting, cleaning and feeding of the puppets and dolls but I had no desire to actually be an actual woman or to for the most part, dress like one. While one may think it was my own desire to be a happy housewife, unbeknown to me I was inside already aligned with my “Anti-Bourgeoise” soul. Exteriorly, I wanted to re-arrange furniture, decorate and play with all the neat stuff which came with all these girl-y toys. I mostly wanted to do it though, like in a Lemon-Pledge furniture polish commercial, in an imaginary windswept chiffon evening gown. Well, not exactly IN a gown like that, but that commercial was so appealing to me. It wasn’t exactly a dress, an actual dress I wanted to swept around in, just something dramatic and brightly monochromatic like I imagined a Barbie doll would. I wanted to be as glamorous as that insouciant woman who’d swirl around in a lemon-coloured chiffon Givenchy doing light housework in a sixties’ suburban decor. What even deeper inside of me, I just wanted to seduce her husband, or better, Male Parent. Really queerly though, my first Barbie, was in fact only her early incarnation and was not Mattel’s Barbie but Bild Lilli doll. She was a Hamburg hooker doll of a few years earlier. I had gotten my first German Bild Lilli from my aunt after a trip to Switzerland (just like Mrs. Handler had). Then I even got some of the clones made in Hong Kong, called by doll collectors now by a term I made popular, “Hong Kong Lillis”. There even was Miss Marlene as well as Miss Seventeen by Marx Toys, which were made after Bild Lilli exactly from her moulds. I had Miss Seventeen dolls from Male Parent as I said earlier and treasured them. Although Mattel tried to deny it for years, Mattel and Marx had a lawsuit over their respective dolls actually. Louis Marx bought the rights to the moulds from the Lilli creator and manufacturer Rolf Hausser whereas Mattel, according to Hausser, just kind of cheated him out of it using Mrs Handler’s example she’d picked up in Lausanne, (or Luzerne) Switzerland. But by the time I got these dolls, Barbie was out as well and they were pretty much the same for me. I also had a strange Bild Lilli-type doll which came from Spain, with those very sharp fingernail-ed hands in flamenco pose, a doll which when I turned about 16, I dressed in my own fashions (and I still have this doll). She probably was the doll I kept that inspired me to create so much later my Mdvanii concept.
My completely androgynous mind didn’t realize there were distinctions in human beings other than clothes. My “Anti-Bourgeoise” self was non-gender identified at this early stage. So, Barbie’s incarnation Lilli and Barbie herself were the mega-glamour companion dolls, not like my child-like Kamkins art dolls at all. I was traumatized by these 11 3/4 inch (whom I later referred to as) “goddesses”. They looked nearly identical to female family members and had similar outfits – thus it took awhile for it to sink in that they, like my mini-washer and Hoover, were products and extremely mass-produced. I was under the impression that these feline creatures were created just for me. Also I imagined I was Lilli in every incarnation or name she took. Imagine! I don’t know if she ever had an outfit called “schlampe” though.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s