Marina Bychkova creates dolls to “confront difficult topics that transcend the innocence normally associated with dolls.” Touching on themes of social injustice and women’s rights, Marina is able to face the “ugly realities of life.” I think this is an effective way to discuss and confront the taboo subject of sexuality. Many dolls nowadays are made to be asexual, with no developed sex organs. This can cause body issues and insecurity for young girls. Marina Bychkova wanted to make dolls that were vulnerable with no shame on the female body.
The keyword “Body” by Kelly Hager in Keywords for Children’s Literature relates to Marina Bychkova’s dolls. “…engagement with the body and its physical vulnerability is the genre of young adult fiction, with its focus on sexual maturation, orientation, body size, and physical abuse.” Marina Bychkova is touching on all these difficult subjects in her dolls. Young adults are becoming of age; developing morally, intellectually, spiritually, and sexually. These dolls show the vulnerable state all these children are experiencing through a type of media that they are all familiar with, dolls. The keyword “body” also discusses how “we are invested in ignoring the existence of children’s sexuality.” This taboo subject of sexuality is discussed throughout the book “The Bluest Eye” by Toni Morrison. Pecola was thought of as “ruined” after being raped, meaning she lost her innocence and purity. The Keywords essay on “Body” discusses how the ‘value’ of a female body is considered crucial. In Pecola’s case, her loss of virginity was out of her hands – she was the victim.
How might a doll that was made to look like she had experienced rape have helped Pecola through this tough time and confusion? Do you think Marina Bychkova’s dolls act like a gateway for communication into these taboo subjects? Is there any other ways you can think of to open up these conversations on the “body”?