Flashback Friday: Action figure or doll?

Posted on May 20th, 2011

You know, you can learn a lot from kids. Ever since Junior was able to walk, talk and express an opinion, I have learned that I am an idiot. Oh, he hasn’t said it—well, not to my face, anyway.  But as a parent, I have turned out to be quite stupid.

Maybe it’s because I grew up in a family of all girls, but I’ll be honest. Before I had a boy child, I believed that boys and girls were exactly alike—with the exception of certain parts, of course.

I honestly thought that the reason boys were more aggressive was because of our culture. I knew in my heart that boys would go to tea parties if society just made it acceptable. And I also knew that boys would embrace their inner non-violent side if we adults would just allow them to do so.

I can’t believe I was so stupid.

You see, once I had a boy, I realized that little boys are like tanks. Nothing is safe once a male is ambulatory. And that aggressive thing? Trust me, that’s inbred. There is no way to make a boy less aggressive. I’ve spent years trying. And that whole tea party is just out of the question. There is absolute truth to the saying “bull in a china shop.”

But even though I began motherhood as a complete and total idiot, I have managed to learn from my mistakes. Of course, that doesn’t mean I don’t still make errors. Take the time I took Junior to a toy store to pick out a present for his friend’s birthday party when Junior was somewhere around 8 or 9.

At the store, Junior picked up a doll. Okay, it was one of those “Lord of the Rings” guys, but it was a doll. So I said, “Are you sure he wants a Gollum doll and not a Gimli doll?” Well, let me tell you, there was stunned silence in that aisle. Every boy standing around admiring the swords and hobbits and fighting elves just stood and stared. And finally, my humiliated son says, “It’s an action figure, MOTHER.”

Who knew? Who, I ask you, knew that in boy world dolls are action figures? I didn’t. I mean, a doll is a doll, right? Was I wrong to assume that if it has plastic arms and legs and Velcro hair, it’s a doll?

Apparently I was wrong. And it gets worse.

It turns out that there are certain unwritten action figure rules, which are a bit difficult for me to understand. For example, GI Joe is an action figure. Gollum and Gimli are action figures. Even Buzz Lightyear is an action figure. But Ken, that misguided, dumped-by-Barbie guy, is a doll.

Poor Ken. He can’t get a break. It must be tough to survive in a world where Buzz Lightyear is an action figure and you’re just a doll. I’m sure Ken will make up for it by one day buying a huge Hummer to compensate. But in the meantime, he’s just Ken. A doll.

On the other hand, Buzz Lightyear, a guy who dresses in a purple and green space suit and is usually accompanied by Little Bo Peep, a cowboy named Woody and a dinosaur is an action figure. Please. What exactly makes him an action figure?  It can’t be that he hangs out with other action figures. I mean, okay, Woody might qualify, but Peep and the dino are definitely dolls.

And what about Arwen, the female elf from “Lord of the Rings?” Is she an action figure or a doll? I mean, she’s obviously female, which seems to preclude her from action figure status—but she also was part of the “Lord of the Rings” and according to Junior, that makes her an action figure.

I swear, this is enough to boggle my mind—what’s left of it, that is. So until I can figure it out, I’ll play it safe and call the toys formerly known as dolls and action figures “plastic life-form replicas.”

Sure, that might work. Then again, maybe I’ll just stay out of the toy stores until Junior is in college. That would work even better.

Add me to your rss reader | Become a Fan on Facebook!

You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

Leave a Reply