Uglydolls and us

Wonder what kind of a rock I have been living under to have missed out on the Uglydoll craze? I can't figure out whether to be excited or ... what? photo of Uglydoll Ox

They seem to be little stuffed... uh, things, I guess, "dolls". They have different names like WedgeHead, and Babo and -- the one here is OX.

You go to the site -- and first you can't get on unless you have the latest Shock or something or other... then you find out they've had all sorts of press, but i didn't find much online. Funny. They've been around for a couple of years. The article from Business Week Online -- no date; it's on the uglydolls site -- calls them "so hideous they're adorable." They've been written up in Time, the Boston Globe... at least says their website.

OK; so they've been around a couple of years. And it seems to me anyway that they speak volumes about, well, difference. But I haven't heard a word about them from the disability culture watch squad.

Here's what I read about OX at one of the site that sells them:

What kind of name is OX? No, not like the animal OX, as in HUG and KISS! How can he hug you with such short arms? OX uses his ears! He's not a very good listener, but he puts his ears to good use ...

What they have in common is... what we might want to call "disability" or at least "deviance from the norm. Either one eye or three ....

This about WedgeHead, who has one eye:

Wedgehead has his eye on you. and he likes what he sees! Finally, someone who understands him! He is very handsome too...can't you tell? What do you mean he looks pitiful? Look at that charismatic posture! Wedgehead understands you too. He sees things the way you see them OK, so he has to stand on his head to do so, but still! He understands exactly what you mean.

Are they disability cool? Has anyone given any thought to that? Or are they its opposite?

This about Tray, who has three eyes:

Tray has three brains! One for each eye, or one per lump. She also sees everything in 3D so you will have plenty to talk about with her. Tray may look a little confused...that may be from each brain ...

What's the scoop on these things, anyway?

Oops, I was wrong. Babo has two eyes. The word on Babo? "What Babo lacks in mind power, he makes up for in love. He's everybody's best friend. ..."

Surely they must be of some use to the disability culture crowd, no?

October 11, 2005 | Email this story


Comments (newest comments at bottom)

Well, they are kind of a cute sort of way. Notice however, that none of them requires any piece of assistive technology (Are they crazy? More gear would mean more $$$s). On the other hand, do we want to be seen as cute and lovable or as REAL as everyone else with both cute and lovable AND mean and ugly traits? AND, why can't you enlarge the tee shirts to get a better idea how they look? AND, why are the girls shirts pastels and the guys shirts deep colors? Frankly, I think they must have got their inspiration from the Lamisil bug...who is also cute and ugly...

Posted by: r on October 12, 2005 02:58 AM

Here are the vinyl and keychain versions:

Seems they've come out of the world of comics and animation. There are a lot of affinities between that world and disability culture, going way back. Add Uglydolls to the list.

Posted by: Penny on October 12, 2005 12:56 PM

I think what keeps them from being purely disability-cool is the "In spite of. . ." format. It's that "even though he's got yadda yadda yadda, he's still nice." As though having/being yadda yadda yadda generally precludes being nice; as though being nice were an exception for folks who have/are yadda, and as though having/being yadda naturally requires an extra portion of acceptance and love. That leans too much toward "overcoming" and "special" for my taste. But I'll say that if the language were tweaked a bit to have sort of that Addams Family naivete and just talk about how beautiful WedgeHead's eye is, etc., then I might be tempted to buy the whole collection.

Anybody have a problem with "Ugly"?

Posted by: Evonne on October 12, 2005 06:53 PM

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