When you deny a little girl a dollhouse it usually manifests itself in extreme ways later in life…

… The tragedy of my youth. I never had a dollhouse. I couldn’t understand it. It’s not like I was asking for a pony; just a dollhouse. Not even a fancy dollhouse with all the ornate miniature antique furniture and real porcelain tea sets. Just a simple wooden dollhouse that I could decorate myself. And my mom never got me one. Not even the ugly hot pink plastic Barbie dream-house.

This little girl has a dollhouse and she’s happy so it’s obviously not a picture of me.

What horrible mother denies their little girl a dollhouse?! I’ll tell you who. Feminists mommies who reached puberty in the swinging sixties, that’s who. A dollhouse was an evil toy used to indoctrinate gender stereotypes on poor young girls.

As a result my youth was spent seeking out girls who had dollhouses and making excuses to play with them. I’d bring my Han Solo action figure over to play the husband and whiny Luke was always the little boy we stuck in the corner. I remember every Christmas visiting the toy collection at the Abby Aldrich Folk Art Museum in Colonial Williamsburg. They had an entire room of dollhouses… and I seethed with envy.

I had almost forgotten this childhood neglect and trauma until I beheld the wonder of the Southern Christmas Show in Charlotte this past weekend. There was an entire exhibit of dollhouses. Dollhouses made out of hat boxes, teacups, even laundry detergent boxes. I felt like that longing little buck toothed girl again and excitedly realized if I want a dollhouse I can finally have a dollhouse, damn it!

However, I like the more unconventional dollhouses where the designer makes everything themselves with odd bits and ends, similar to the Bloggess’s Haunted Dollhouse. Except mine would be the Crazy Catholic Lady dollhouse, with tiny pictures of the Pope on the wall, miniature rosaries and statues, tiny little holy water fonts and itty bitty chalices. Oooo. Maybe a mini dollhouse convent stocked with thimble sized nuns! Maybe even throw in a priest performing an exorcism in the attic. I mean, why not. It’s my dollhouse after all.

I think I have a new hobby.

Related Links: All The Small Things , Jane Freeman’s Miniatures, Colleen Moore’s Fairy Castle

About Katrina Fernandez

Mackerel Snapping Papist

  • Therese

    I just love your blog. ;-)

  • http://uniconoclast.com/ Kim Vandapool

    I’m in your boat – never had a dollhouse, always kind of wanted one. But that haunted dollhouse… O M G… I think my life finally may have a purpose.

  • Elena

    My sister and I never had a /dollhouse/, but we had an old bookshelf that we could keep all the furniture set on that worked pretty well.
    At 19, I still find myself admiring ones I see in the store, however.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1509797535 Maurisa Mayerle

    Ooh! Do it! I want to see what you come up with!

  • SuzanneC

    My parish priest builds dollhouses for a fundraiser every year. I am still trying to figure out how he gets so many miniature catholic pictures (the holy family), etc.

    • TheodoreSeeber

      Prayer cards?

  • sallythomas

    I’m feeling kind of glad that my youngest daughter has inherited my old dollhouse, my brother’s dollhouse (now THAT’s how you do gender-neutral), my brother’s wife’s dollhouse, and the dollhouse her older sister got when she was three, AND most of the bookshelves in our house have been colonized by tiny dolls and furniture that originally occupied the dollhouses. Man, will she be one self-actualized adult — until it dawns on her that nobody ever actually gave her her own brand-new one, and she has to go for hand-me-down therapy.

  • Peony Moss

    *sob* somebody understands! I ended up making one out of packing boxes and household scraps.

  • Lydia McGrew

    If you buy _anything_ from this site they will send you mouth-watering catalogs that you will keep just to pore over and love all the little stuff–the furniture and such.

    http://www.miniatures.com/

    I’m obsessively-compulsively anti-clutter, but I once rummaged in the garbage to get back out one of their catalogs that I had accidentally thrown away. I didn’t see any specifically Catholic miniatures in here, but they have a ton of stuff. I’ve made an excuse of having a daughter to buy her extra rooms of furniture and dishes and stuff which we can’t fit into a house (she has a plastic dollhouse which is already full) but keep in a cupboard and get out to play with.

  • http://www.facebook.com/roberto.d.fernandez.31 Roberto Dianel Fernandez

    If you need any unusual items, I can try to help build them. I like the attic idea. Dad

  • http://www.facebook.com/deborah.s.wojtowicz Deborah Stephaine Wojtowicz

    She soulds just like me ,I could have writen the same thing. I wanted a real wooden doll house .Not one of thoses dumb tin houses were the funiture never fit right. My cousin’s dad built her a cabinet that the inside looked like a doll house .It to me was wonderful and how much I wish I would have had one too.I did have doll house that was made from some kind of wood stuff .But my mom got rid of it .I was so hurt when she did that.So when I was a little girl I made my self a promise that I would have a real miniature doll house .Well when I was in my 40′s after my kids were grown .I bought my self a real wooend miniature house. Now I have bulit 6 and gave 3 away to my granddaughters.My mom who thinks doll ouses are for little girls thinks I’m crazy for having this hobby .But I think if my parents would have bought me the wooden doll house I mite not be into them now.But I love that I can own homes and funiture I could only dream of having in reall life.So were all little kids inside ty

  • Kharrison

    No more excuses! Go out and buy yourself a dollhouse! Now that you mention it…I didn’t know anyone in my peer group with a dollhouse, Little Tykes or otherwise. I was a feminist child of the 80′s/90′s. And you’re so right about yearning for and seeking out femininity. My home life was stable, but if something couldn’t be bought at Meijer, it simply wasn’t worth my parent’s time to find elsewhere.

  • http://www.facebook.com/roni.b.jensen Roni Beavers Jensen

    I actually have a convent roombox as well as a chapel.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/thecrescat Katrina Fernandez

      Can you share pictures?

  • Barb

    I saw a collection of nun dolls wearing the habits of various orders at a doll museum in South Dakota. If you ever visit the Corn Palace, check out the doll museum across the street and down a block or two.

  • Nan

    I can make you a tiny rosary.

  • L.

    I hate to blow up your theory, but….I am a bona fide feminist who raised my three kids as gender-free as possible, and not only did I have a wooden dollhouse as a child, but I bought one for my kids, too. There is nothing particularly masculine or feminine about a miniature house, anymore than a miniature truck or a stuffed duck, etc.

    I loved my dollhouse — I made furniture for it, and also saved my allowance to buy some. To my horror, my mother donated it to the Salvation Army, even though by then I had a daughter of my own and would have loved to have passed it on. I think it was a “control” thing. Anyway, it hurt.

    When we moved back to Tokyo, though, we decided to get rid of the one I’d bought for my kids, just for space reasons. We were sure to leave it with a loving home, and a child who was very happy to receive it.

    Someday, when I have time, I’m going to make a Japanese dollhouse.

    • L.

      This is what someone else did — my dream project: http://flickeflu.com/set/72157612169870541

      • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/thecrescat Katrina Fernandez

        That is beautiful. :)

        And the detail is incredible.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/thecrescat Katrina Fernandez

      It’s not my theory… it was my crazy feminist mother’s idea for me not to play with “girl” toys. It’s also a stupid idea. Kids have genders there is no such thing as gender neutral.

      • L.

        Okay, then I am going to blow up your crazy feminist mother’s theory. My boys enjoyed playing with our SF dollhouse, too, before we gave it away, and my daughter loved playing with remote-controlled trucks. I mean, who doesn’t love playing with remote-controlled anything? Kids do have genders, but some of us choose to ignore them and let them freely play with anything they want.

  • Kristen inDallas

    My mom wasn’t a fan of dolls or related either. I had a few that “other people” had gotten me as gifts, but she never seemed happy about it, and was not about to get me a house for them. Fortunately, my dad, a burly-builder type decided to let me help him build one from scraps of wood and carpet fragments and left-over paint (so it wound up looking strikingly like our own house). My mom let it slide becuase it involved scewdrivers and hammers and fit nicely with her future-engineer vision of a daughter. Good compromise all around, I got my house and they got a daughter who is as comfortable picking paint swatches as she is holding a brush.
    Anyway, it’s never too late… build yourself a doll house. Let your kiddo(s) help you figure out how to wire it up so you can turn the lights on. That junk is FUN, I don’t care what gender you are. :)


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