the pathos of jackie kennedy dolls on etsy, vol. 4, no. 2

hi. hello. remember how this is a thing we do? basically go fug yourself but with dolls?

nope? may i refer you to my rich seam of informal, doctoral-level scholarship on emotions and dolls: HERE.

yep? let’s roll.

as has been the case in recent years, the franklin mint will dominate here, so let’s go ahead and get our girl madame alexander out of the way.

do you ever just feel like…….


i do think the level of baggage this doll has speaks to its authenticity.


would that we would all experience in our own lives at some point the level of care doll jackie’s undergarments have received here.


ok. also, before we pivot to mister franklin mint, behold this fresh hell:



ok, so there’s apparently a thing called GADCO. which is a “wacko” rhyme but actually stands for the great american doll company. and they make dolls LIKE NO OTHER DOLLS IN THE WORLD™.


(you know i CSI-ed that photo to make sure it was a trademark and not an asterisk because i am here so you never ever have to wonder 😉)

thing about this is it really speaks to the power of cellophane to render UTTERLY HORRIFYING something that minus cellophane is fairly benign. or at least as benign as a doll can ever be.


another thing about this is that it is kid jackie. kid jackie with miss. mississippi pageant-level eyelashes.

another thing about this is that it introduces us to one of the world’s lesser-known systems of measurement.


i assumed the band-aid was a reference point here for the image’s size. but also kid jackie has a band-aid in the image, so maybe it’s for the doll?

oh no. wait.



for a mere $350– a savings of $345!!!!– this doll and this band-aid can be yours!!!

ok, weirdly, loooooooong as we’ve been doing this seasonal review of our current times through the lens of jackie dolls for sale on etsy AND as much franklin mint product as that has involved, i feel like things are new and different. either my pandemic year 3 eyes are sharper or there are whole new vintage jackie franklin mint dolls out there.

WHERE HAVE THEY BEEN? WHERE DID THEY COME FROM? no clue. but they are here now, and they are ready to party.

voilá, jackie zee georgetown years!


her head packaged more like a rose…


than the actual rose that comes with her…


which is, of course, packaged like evidence from a crime scene.

oh wait. here she is for $4.29 less.


a victim, yet again, of the cardboard guillotine. ready for a packing foam fist fight.

behold! canadian mountie jackie!

where has she been all this time??? other than, obviously, shackled within this box…


the bows are a nice touch but truly, HEAVEN FORFEND the beret escape!!!!!

riddle me this: are these hands or gloves?


i assume gloves and, from this image, that seems conclusive. but also, WHY o WHY can doll manufacturers not make something approximating proper gloves? WHY o WHY do they always look like mickey mouse hands??

newport charity gala jackie has entered the house!

with a horrifying lollypop head situation.

a historically inaccurate blanket scarf:

and what i feel entirely comfortable describing as the worst wig i’ve seen in my life outside of oliver stone’s JFK.


i will allow that they really do nail her profile on these dolls though. like, everything is wrong and also the profile is 100% jackie.

here’s another, which provides maybe the most accurate representation ever of my life-long struggle with insomnia…

which, if you’ve never ever felt like that, thank your lucky stars.

that one is in a jumbo set with this one…

which i honestly cannot even figure out what this outfit is supposed to be, but i know this feeling.

my art therapist always wants me to identify feelings. we’re using objects from around the house, but i’m starting think maybe i need a flashcard set of jackie doll pics. so i can be like, THIS THIS THIS:


me: i’m very strongly feeling jackie in a box with hairnet and twist-tie in the midst of a defeated, broken-armed wave.

therapist: and where do you feel that in your body?


and also i feel like it the information were really so important, wouldn’t it have a fancier cover? like this looks super not legit, even slightly.


i’m disheartened that they have revealed here that she is made of vinyl.

it seems too much. an unnecessary intrusion.

already we’ve been privy to her undergarments. why is it essential that we experience the indignity of vinyl too?

does anyone read these posts on dolls?

do you read them and think i have completely lost my brain?

(ooooh, it’s jackie in france, 1961. this garment is meant to approximate the pink lace cassini? [image 11 here] LOL.)

they don’t seem to matter nearly as much as i make them do. these advertisements about vintage collectibles, which i’ve been riffing on in this space for nearly seven full years now.

they’re just a bunch of dolls being sold on etsy. a bunch of vinyl and polyester and bad fake hair all pretzeled up in boxes with padding and cardboard and paper and plastic.

both cultural and capitalistic detritus. and like all things under those things, they’re a snapshot of a time– the time which they depict as well as the one in which they were manufactured.

i’m aware so many of these dolls were released in 2001. i’ve written about jackie and 2001 elsewhere, so let’s push on.



every time we do this, there’s some image i find bizarrely moving and i think this is the one. let’s christen it jackie’s handbag in protective plastic on cardboard. because why not.

pathos is about appealing to the reader or listener’s emotions.

gripping their attention and moving their hearts.

it’s manipulative, maybe, yes. but it can be powerful, and persuasive.

i think there are many reasons why i always come back to these dolls.

because they are the stuff of the everyday. collectibles people bought with the intention, from the go, that they would be collectibles and, therefore, worth more over time. which, by that being the very nature of their origin, means they are almost immediately doomed to accrue very little financial worth with time’s passage, because that was all they were ever intended to do.

their very purpose for being inhibits them from achieving that purpose.

because if you buy the thing because it’s going to be worth more and everyone else does that too, its market value is deflated, almost instantly.

the true collectible is the thing you get because it interests you. and you hold on out of that interest. and then you wake up one day and you’re on antiques roadshow and all gobsmacked because that thing you kept because you liked it is actually holds material value under capitalism.

the dolls intrigue me, i think, because of that intentionality. they were collected. not played with.

all these years, they’ve sat in their boxes, hairnets and zip-ties intact, dressed up and going nowhere.

and that is a selling point. they went nowhere.

jackie went everywhere. ruthlessly, restlessly, she wandered.

using her, i’ve gone so many places, done so many things, met so many people i would not’ve.

i come back to these dolls because they are collectibles and history and the everyday and total hilarity, but also because they have stories to tell.

pathos is about appealing to the emotions, to feelings. feelings are not bad. they are ok.

(i deflect with humor. my therapist always points this out. so i’ll just say this: note how i refrained from cracking a live, laugh, love joke there, please, thank you.)

that feels like such a trite thing to say. it also feels like a true thing.

if you are still with me, here is your reward.

i LOLed. you’re welcome. scroll slow. savor the story-telling.

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