the pathos of jackie kennedy dolls on etsy, vol. 3, no. 2

yup. ’tis time. saddle up.

as you know, this ain’t our first rodeo. we’ve peered deep into the hell hole of jackie kennedy doll photographs on etsy multiple times before.

somehow, amid 15 moves and 14 jobs and myriad other responsibilities, over the last five years, i have produced a rich seam of informal, doctoral-level scholarship on dolls. you are welcome.


anyhoo, TODAY.

let us begin with an acknowledgement that, much like the international public health emergency in which we find ourselves now, there seems to be no end to this. the badly photographed jackie dolls: they just keep coming.

where to begin? ah, yes, let us take check back with the vaults of the franklin mint.

you may remember, in our last pursuit of the pathos back in december (omg, am i a pathos detective?! should the name of this blog’s doll analysis companion podcast be pathos, she wrote?!!). but yeah, something effed up was happening with the franklin mint.

it was bleak.

jackie looked like drunk julia sugarbaker.

she was upskirted.

(via etsy)


(via etsy)

but that was long, long ago in the pre-pandemic way back of december. things have changed. everything has changed. there is no normal.

well, some things remain unchanged. DEVASTATED LOUNGING JACKIE is still available.

i mean, this is a proper quarantine mood, non?

but, seriously, where do we stand now, with the freshman class of jackie dolls on etsy?


on a vair vair superficial note, she seems a bit more bosomy than before in this shot. or has her dressed slipped down? this is the problem of the off-the-shoulder dresses. they get all cocky and fancy themselves on-the-elbow dresses.

many days, i have felt like this.

truly tho, this is a masterclass in the inefficiency of blank space in advertising.

also, i say this with nothing but love in my heart, but if the sheet is going to be the dominant part of an image marketing a small doll, IRON THE FREAKING SHEET.

she looks bored.

and be-headed.

i do love the editorial decision that an up-side-down perspective of the doll in the box will aid us in our decision-making of whether or not to fork over $140! a sales innovation!

also, please note $140 is alarmingly reasonable and seems to represent something of a basement bridal jackie price.

take, for example, the closest competition, priced competitively at $141.66.

what, pray tell, are they going to do with that $1.66?!?! i gots to know.

but, alas, the situation for her here is not much improved.


jackie as the princess de lamballe.

do we think heads-on-pikes was the vibe for which they aimed?

this satin is super cheap looking, no? (woo! i’m extra claws out today!)
i don’t know that we’ve previously seen a photograph quite so adept at highlighting the satin’s cheapness, so well done there.

this doll is billed as “Jacqueline Kennedy Bridal Wedding Doll Large 16″ Collectible Limited Edition by Franklin Mint IOB Fine Bone China Excellent Lovely.” i do not think this large doll is any larger than all the other dolls, so that’s an odd flex.

as is this anthropologie-esque photo of her encasement:

reader, it does not get better.

AND WE ARE STILL JUST IN THE FRANKLIN MINT JACKIE BRIDAL DOLL AISLE!! (don’t worry our tour today is prolly gonna stay in the mint.)

but yeah:

i thought maybe we’d already done this one. (because, true story, when you look at 15 listings for one doll, they rather blur together) but i suspect i’d remember this:

and this:

which, were it not for the intrusion of human hands would totally be mistakable for the work of monet.

so this is bridal jackie, $199.

sporting the doll equivalent of the arm braces my aunt had to wear when she had her carpel tunnel fixed in 1991. (a piece of medical equipment that circulated as a gag gift within our family for the next four christmases.)

seriously though, what is up with the fetishization of “new in box”? it photographs so poorly.

that hairnet is not flattering.

ditto the teddy kennedy at mary jo kopechne’s funeral decorative neck brace.

and she still looks like julia sugarbaker.

(sidebar: just realized i’ve been saving all these photos in my pandemic unemployment assistance application folder! pathos abounds!)

historical fun fact:

whew, lynda rae resnick is a fun deep-dive if you’re in the mood.

but i am not in the mood because we’ve things to see yet.

ok, let’s get out of bridal, and move on over to the 1962 tour of india/pakistan part of our programming…

as you may or may not recall, that looked like this:

which has been artistically rendered as this:

now, i know we spent a lot of time over there in bridal so i’ll try to be swift, but i need you to focus.

we get a high level of detail here.

her arm seams look painful.

this hairstyle makes no freaking sense, like aerodynamically.

are velcro backed dresses the way of the future??!

let’s be fair, her gloves appear to be kneesocks, BUT– and it’s a BIG BUT– they raise an even more important question– ARE VELRO ACCESSORIES THE WAY OF THE FUTURE??

remember how i told you nothing is as it was and nothing is normal… is our bright, blazing future, when we emerge from isolation five years from now, do you think velcro will play a far more prominent role in our lives than we’ve thus far imagined?

as someone who anticipated the return to fashionability of press-on nails by a solid two and a half-years (to say nothing of home cut bangs), i’m just saying. listen to your fashion prophetess…

this doll looks very put together, untouched by the harsh times in which we now live. but pristineness comes at a premium. she’ll cost you a whopping $276.42.

not our girl over here though, my favorite of all the photographed franklin mint jackie dolls currently on etsy.

oh but hang on. you know i always have a favorite: the photographed doll who most fully speaks to the contemporary situation.

permit me a brief calvacade of past faves, first, before we get to today’s, accompanied by brief, deep thoughts from the time…

october 2015:

it reminds me of the scene from meet me in st. louis, when john truitt’s tuxedo is stuck at the tailer’s shop and esther goes running back up to her bedroom and throws herself on her bed. and when her sister rose asks what happened, esther replies, nothing, i just wish i were dead. that’s all.

because her boyfriend is unable to take her to the christmas dance and she may now have to go with her brother.

i imagine doll jackie has deeper emotional defenses. i imagine that, were doll jackie’s boyfriend unable to get his tuxedo out of the tailer’s in time for the christmas dance, she would manage stoically without wishing she were dead.

which suggests that, if it has come to this for doll jackie: the situation is dire.

december 2019:

so this is where we are. where are we going? what will 2020 look like?


we want to go on this journey, right?

yes, i was a bit disturbed by my initial inability to decipher whether she’s wearing slippers or if those are her actual footbottoms, in which case her footbottoms are a mess, but then my footbottoms are perpetually a disaster so i can relate.

actually, i think these are train shoes, which means this jackie is a super good forward thinker, who anticipates the need for sensible shoes and plans accordingly.

[…] the thing about this jackie is that she seems eager, and hopeful, rather than resigned. obviously, we all have our moments.

but for the most part, she seems rested and ready.

how much of her readiness is attributable to the fact that her lashes are real and her eyes open and close remains unclear. but she gazes into the future with something approaching hope.

she is most just like us. and so, with nails painted, fingers separated, real lashes, bendable joints, and a whole bunch of baggage… away we go.

just as a reminder, i claimed to be a FASHION prophetess. clearly, from the enthusiasm with which i greeted 2020, you may have noticed that my prophetic gifts do not extend into other realms.

so here we are deep in the throes of what i think we can all agree is a uniquely horrific year. who is the jackie need now?

here’s our girl:

for one thing, she’s a mere $50. so if you’ve been all up in your head like what am i gonna get oline for her pandemic birthday because the onassis moon landing earring replicas are just so hard to find??? voilá!

it’s the same doll we just looked at, the one testifying to our velcro future, but she really speaks to the moment here, no?

it’s something about the hair, the bare feet, the general sense of having just awoken (because this is bedhead, yeah? evocative of j.lo’s hair in maid in manhattan, when she goes home with ralph fiennes after the big party at the temple of dendur [A JACKIE SITE!!!] then wakes up in the morning with sex hair and removes her wiglet [the first movie i ever saw alone, on the day our family dog died, this moment is imprinted in my brain forever because it was my first, albeit distant, encounter with evidence that good hair wasn’t always real]).

actually, wait. more precisely, this is how one looks having awoken and thrown on last night’s clothes to go downstairs and collect the mail. that is how i look most all the time now.


obviously she remains in the pocket of the big velcro lobby.

but she’s also mad fierce. like you do not want to mess with USPS COMRADE JACKIE. DEVASTATING LOUNGING JACKIE, maybe yeah, you would, but not this broad.

she’s gloved up. though she hasn’t quite let go of the hand-shaking habit…

no, jackie. no.

i appreciate her… hmm… what’s the word.

oh no, the longer i look at this image, the more she looks like trump staring down the eclipse.

but she looks concerned, which is reassuring.

we live in alarming times. she led an alarming life. the level of alarm here seems appropriate. and yet she is undaunted, though i also assume her approach is informed by facts. it seems a safe assumption USPS COMRADE JACKIE has been reading and thinking critically about the news.

do you think if i decorated my apartment with enlarged, framed photographs of jackie dolls on etsy i would ever have sex again?

head over heart, heart over pelvis.

a joke i assume will go unlaughed at because (1) it is super niche and (2) who the hell has read this far?!!

you wanted pathos?


damn, this was exhausting. even jackie had to lie down.

riddle me this: is this sheet blue or white????

alright, we did some really important work today, so we’re gonna save madame alexander for another time.

i bid you adieu with this bizarro surreal pairing of a 1988 princess diana @ cannes and a jackie @ the breakers in 1962 statues who look like they’re leaving a party (on a kitchen table?!) having a laugh over a solid bit of gossip.

as i tell my students: dear heroes, take care, stay safe, bonne chance!

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