And then… what to say about Stella?
Well… hmmm… I confess I try to avoid talking to much politics on this blog. The truth is that I like paper dolls. My readers like paper dolls. And really… that’s why we’re all here right? To enjoy paper dolls, play with paper dolls and feel guilt free about being in my late twenties and still in love with these tiny ephemeral objects.
Still, I think Stella deserves some commentary. I drew her several years ago, like most of the Mannequin’s while I was reading a book on the history of Asian-American theater, creatively titled, A History of Asian American Theater. I picked it up for a class I couldn’t take and ended up reading it anyway, because I was curious. So, when I sat down to draw my Mannequin heads, as I do when I’m starting a new paper doll series, I was full of thoughts about repression of Asian-Americans and stereotypes of the “oriental”.
I knew I wanted to create diversity in the paper doll series, but I also felt weird drawing an Asian paper doll and not acknowledging that Asia is a very large, very diverse place. Is it fair to simply stick Stella up, note in my tags that she’s Asian and then move on with my life? I just wasn’t and still am not sure.
Which brings us to Stella and what I can say about her. She’s based on no one in particular. I have struggled to draw Asian features, particularly eyes which have epicanthic folds and a single eyelid, for a long time, so I don’t trust myself to do them very well. I think she looks good though. She’s based, very vaguely, off a very kind Korean student I knew and also some Chinese girls who rode the same bus I did in the afternoons and with whom I struck up conversations sometimes. They were both law students.
Personally, I think Stella is Asian-American, perhaps Chinese or Korean in descent (in honor of my various models), I think she is going to university and studying to become a historian. That’s all I’ve decided about her. Perhaps other people have other ideas?