Monday, March 2, 2015

I Was A Teenage Monster

Ever since I was a kid, I've had a hardcore obsession with monsters.  I drew them, I daydreamed about them, I worried teachers and psychologists.  I could blame a (probably) way-too-early exposure to horror films, or I could blame TV.   Of course, to "blame" would imply that my life is worse for my fascination, which it isn't.  Poorer financially, but certainly not in any other respect.

I recently succumbed to the siren's song of Monster High merchandise.   I know that a certain segment of society wouldn't call Monster High "real" horror, and I'd totally agree.  The toys call to me on a different level altogether.  You see, I'm a child of the 80's and 90's.  More specifically, and big fat duh, I was a girl of the 80's and 90's.  The plain and simple truth of the matter is that the things I loved weren't being marketed to me.  During Saturday morning cartoons, when I indulged in a plethora of monster-themed cartoons, commercials would loudly proclaim the latest, the coolest, the most amazing toys ever injection-molded in China.  And, almost invariably, all of those commercials featured boys playing with those toys.

Intellectually I know, and knew then, that just because boys were the ones shown in the commercials didn't mean that I couldn't have those toys too.  And my mom, when she could afford really cool (read expensive) toys seemed to understand that too.  I knew that I wasn't confined to Barbies and those dolls that folded up into cupcakes.  But no one else seemed to have gotten the memo.  When I received gifts, without fail I would get at least one Barbie.  Sometimes several.  Except for the year I got this:

'Sup girl?

"Hey Rachel, just give your shitty Barbies to your sisters, and rock out with your awesome cool toys!"  I hear you say.  Now I get to the real problem.  I wanted the bitchin' boys' toys and the Barbies.  I wanted my Barbies to look like Morticia and Elvira.  I despaired that the only black haired dolls I could get had tan complexions.  Actually, their complexions caused a great deal of inner turmoil and strife because while I wanted my dolls to look like Death, I was also keenly aware of the fact that the toy industry was slow to make dolls for sullen little Latina girls with two annoyingly white sisters. 

So Barbies got makeovers, complete with sharpie makeup and tattoos.  I took up sewing, destroying a lot of mom's lingerie in the process, to make vampire bride costumes for my dolls.  I wish I had pictures of these early endeavors, but people didn't take the ass-ton of photos then as they do now.

So now we circle back to Monster High.  I mean, let's be real, they're glorified Barbies.  But they're the Barbies I longed for in elementary school.  And, even better, they're in high school - which speaks to another obsession of mine as a kid.  Monsters in high school.  I often have a hard time pinpointing where certain fixations begin for me, but I can on this one, and with laser precision.  During Saturday morning cartoons, before or after the New Kids On The Block animated series that I had to sit through as a trade-off with my sisters, there was a show called Gravedale High.  I loved that show with a burning passion.  I wanted to go to that high school when I got old enough.  It was stupid, it was hokey, it was a poorly written, and despite banking on Rick Moranis's fame from Ghostbusters (another awesome thing seemingly targeted toward boys), it genuinely seemed aimed toward girls.  Story lines focused on the interrelationships of the teenaged monster characters, and female monsters got as much, if not more, screen time as the males.  I wanted to be a monster.  Granted, I was a senior in high school when the Columbine shooting occurred, so teenaged monsters were much realer than I'd anticipated. 

Sorry to be such a buzz kill.  Let me make it up to you with pictures of monsters.

Also, I'm really sorry if you clicked that New Kids On The Block link. No I'm not.

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