RequiesCat In Pace

Remember all of those dolls and doll parts I’ve found running on back roads and country byways in Colorado, Michigan, and Maine?  Well, here they are–you can’t see it very well, but there’s a blue-haired doll in the mint pot on the left that looks like it was designed to be a dog’s chew toy, too.  Naked Barbie-like doll, doll in the homemade dress, and creepy doll head are all standing guard over my mint, parsley, sage, catnip, and lavender.  (The garden looks pretty scrubby, I must admit:  the sage is a re-plant just introduced, the mint leaped around the pots that were to contain it, the chives are totally overgrown, and the parsley needs to be decapitated and revived somehow.)

Here’s a view of more of the beds.  In the top left bed is garlic and brussels sprouts, and in the right foreground is yarrow and a just-starting-to-bloom red hollyhock.  (What’s eating the hollyhock leaves?  It seems to happen to every hollyhock in my neighborhood lately.  They still seem to bloom and come back every year nevertheless.)

Under the hollyhocks and yarrow

Truthfully, most of you didn’t really buy my argument in this post about the significance of finding discarded or even dismembered dolls on the roadside.  But, I still wonder if the toleration of the abuse of (mostly female) dolls is symbolic of the abuse of real live women’s and girls’ bodies.  Dolls speak to me of the condition of being female, in every way.

Oh, yeah: you knew this was irresistable:

0 thoughts on “RequiesCat In Pace

  1. I totally get how you feel. I’ve been wanting to put a headless girl statue in my garden and now I understand why. You’ve given me with push I needed.


  2. What a nice garden for the cat, and the dolls. And it looks a lot less scruffy than mine! In my experience, by this time in the summer the mint is always all over the place, and the chives look sad.


  3. P.S. And you’re right about the dolls, and the video is great.

    [And you’ve seen that there’s a Cornell doctor who does genital mutilation, right … except maybe it isn’t that, it depends on who you talk too … it would seem that between your feminist training and doll interest, and your husband’s medical expertise, you might be in a good position to sort that thing out.]


  4. Z–I always wondered why black cats got the reputation for being bad luck or evil when they’re so common. This one recently survived a dog or fox attack, so maybe there’s something to it.

    Vance, I looked at several of those Hans Bellmer sculptures and images, and found them disturbing, because they’re the opposite of what I’m after. They’re clearly a man’s heterosexual erotic expression of longing for female body parts. (Not for women as far as I can tell, but for female body parts, abstracted and rearranged, and frequently torturously so.) Whereas the dolls and doll parts in my garden are a critique of seeing girls’ and women’s bodies that way.

    I’d hardly elevate my garden to “art.” At best it’s random weirdness, or something like the dolls in the planters in Philadelphia from 2008 that Indyanna sent along way back when. Part of my interest in the dolls in my garden is watching them weather and decay, so it’s rather morguelike. At least, I’d find it extremely disturbing if anyone found my display erotic, especially since two of the four dolls or doll parts are clearly babies or children.


  5. I don’t disagree at all, Historiann. Certainly I don’t mean an endorsement of Bellmer! I think I understand what you’re after, but I find it difficult to see past the association of doll parts with Bellmer; this rather indicts the rigidity of my own background (mainstream accounts of modern art such as Robert Hughes).


  6. Gotcha Vance. Thanks for coming back to clarify. There is a connection–but only through the dolls.

    Of course, Bellmer was just doing what painters were doing with a different medium. When we look back at the angular and even violent reshapings of the human body in general (and the female form in particular) in paintings by Picasso, for example, and some of the German Expressionists, the connections to Bellmer’s work are pretty clear.

    Robert Hughes ain’t a bad guy, and he has done a valuable service in making art criticism so accessible to Americans. But, from what I’ve read, he’s more focused on the aesthetics than the politics of art.


  7. I’m fascinated by your doll posts. Have you read the sections in Sharon Marcus’s “Between Women” on little girls’ violence to dolls in the context of patterns of dominance and violence between women & girls? (It’s been a while since I read it, so that might not be a perfect summary.)


  8. If I was some kind of varmint I’d give your garden great leeway in favor of one less well defended by these garden gods. Maybe even leave an offering of a new and well-potted hollyhock or something like that. I did worry a little that Cat’n Morgan in the third picture might tend to slack a bit as the overall staff grew, but if ze fought off a fox, I guess no problem there!

    I’ve thought about updating on the windowbox colony in Philadelphia, which has undergone numerous personnel changes over the years, but I’ve got a new cam-phone and haven’t figured out how to send pictures. I’ll have another look, though. There was a very weather-beaten surfer-dood doll basically batching in the place the last time I looked, as the ladeez had all flown!


  9. Pingback: Valley of the Dolls, Stepford edition : Historiann : History and sexual politics, 1492 to the present

  10. Pingback: The eternal vigilance of the creepy dolls : Historiann : History and sexual politics, 1492 to the present

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