Saturday, February 02, 2008

Bulgarian Girl Dolls

It's almost Seven's birthday and we've put off the purchase of the inanely expensive American Girl doll long enough. It's her "golden birthday" (eight on the eighth) and she's convinced us that it is time.

After much deliberation, she's chosen Kit.

Frankly, it was much harder for her Godfather to choose. As I write this, approximately 1/2 hour after BioMom pressed 'enter' on the collective order, he is reconsidering his choice of Emily (who he originally insisted was from England), instead favoring Julie (because she's his age--assuming that the girls are approximately eight years old--and because he had concluded that Emily was "B-rated", being just Molly's sidekick and as a consequence, not sporting her own DVD. I'm not sure why he didn't simply choose Molly in the first place as he contended that "she's pretty without her glasses!").

Note to self: it was the best decision in our life to give her two gay godfathers. They've been on board with all of her interests from baby dolls to Barbies to now this. They're even conspiring about an American Girl Hadj: a train ride to Chicago in '09 to the American Girl Doll Mecca.

As they considered their options, I considered expanding the trademark to other countries. Imagine, for example, Bulgarian Girl Dolls!

There's the Communist-Dictatorship-Era girl ("Nadegda" or "Hope" in English) who is liberated from her proletarian chains and moves to the urban center only to find that her family has been spying on her for years, notifying the Stasi of all of her transgressions against The Party. Her DVD documents her time spent in the the Gulag.

Then there's Roma and Turkish Bulgarian American Girl Dolls, representing three and (according to some census measures) up to fifteen percent of the population respectively. While the Turkish girl ("Emel Etem") comes equipped with agricultural tools for the production of substandard tobacco that is no longer profitable since trade relationships with the former Soviet Union broke down after the economy transitioned to a market, the Roma girl ("Ivo") is homeless and her DVD documents her attempts at panhandling in tourist destinations.

There's also the Pomak girl, a Muslim Bulgarian ("Bilyana"), who is a descendant of Christian Bulgarians who were converted to Islam during the period between the 16th and 18th century during the Ottoman occupation of Bulgaria. Her DVD depicts the stunning views of the Rhodope mountains where she resides and discusses the pejorative origins of the name "Pomak." It reports on the 1930s movement (begun by the Rodina organization) in which the minority group moves back to their Bulgarian roots as well as their reconciliation with their Christian and Muslim faiths. Because they have promoted a more secular way of living, she wears modern non-Muslim clothing and has been educated, despite her sex.

Oh and, don't forget Post-Transition "Penka" who, unlike her highly educated parents, has decided not to continue on to University because there are no jobs in her home town of Smolyn. Even in Sophia the jobless rate continues to hover at 15 percent on average, making the return to an investment in higher education nearly negative. In a post-nine-eleven world, she is also much more restricted in her ability to get visas to work study overseas despite getting high scores on her entrance exams. Her DVD chronicles an attempt at entry into the tourism industry (her fluency in French, English, German and Russian made her an excellent candidate for a position as a hostess at one the many hotels at the sea resorts in Varna on the Black Sea) but a brush with the illegal sex trade forces her to resign and head back home, joining many of her twenty-something friends in economic deprivation and hopelessness.

2 comments:

E said...

This is seriously hilarious.

giddings said...

Happy Birthday E!!!