Monster High dolls are too edgy, or so I thought. While never explicitly forbidden by my parents, the monstrous high school fashionistas always seemed off-limits. The dolls were spooky and wore trendy, immodest clothing compared to my Barbies and Disney Princesses, so they must be trouble. Despite this, child me secretly was fascinated by the freaky fabulous ghouls but kept myself from enjoying them. Was this because of the black-and-white, scrupulous thinking instilled in me by my Mormon upbringing? Yeah, probably. Now, as an adult, I feel free to explore my interests, including my childhood interests. When I was a kid, I admired Monster High Generation 1 from afar, but as an adult, I have become invested in Monster High Generation 3.
During the Winter Quarter, I was in a dark place and was coping by retreating to childhood comforts. Specifically, I was connecting to my nostalgic love of Barbie movies. Due to Google tracking my search history, I was recommended doll videos, and that is how I discovered a new generation of Monster High, Generation 3, recently began rolling out. Watching video after video made the temptation to buy a doll grow stronger and stronger.
One fateful day, I pensively approached my roommate saying I wanted to go purchase a Monster High doll. To help me decide, my roommate pulled out her divination card deck and invited me to pull one. Fatefully, I pulled “The Collector” whose description read: “The Collector knows what he wants to own. If he has come to you, be on the lookout for your next addition. Choose wisely, make sure this is something you desire.” Immediately, my roommate and I hopped in the car and drove over to the store. That day we both got into doll collecting. For her, Rainbow High, for me, Monster High.
I purchased my first two dolls on June 21, 2023, the two being Creepover Draculaura and Day Out Frankie Stein. I took great care to unbox the dolls and I dressed them up with the accessories they came with. This was the inciting incident for my new obsession. My third doll was Fearidescent Cleo de Nile, which is a Target exclusive, who I got while on a trip to Utah with my family. Fourth was Abbey Bominable, who was half-priced at launch on Amazon (a fangtastic deal). The fifth and sixth dolls I bought on the same trip to Yakima with my roommate: Creepover Twyla, who was on sale, and Monster Ball Clawdeen. Currently, these dolls are perched on Cleo’s coffin on top of my dresser. Every time I look at them, my inner child leaps for joy. As such, I am itching to grow my collection, with Amped Up and Scare-adise Island Frankie, as well as the leaked Venus McFlytrap and Hissfits 3-pack on my radar.
While Generation 1 was what originally piqued my interest Generation 3 has a clear advantage over Generation 1: representation. The main cast has been given diverse cultural backgrounds. For example, Draculaura is Romanian-Taiwanese, Clawdeen is Afro-Latina, and Lagoona is from Honduras. Transforming the ghoul’s ethnicities from coded to codified means more kids (and adults) can have a character to relate to and can spur appreciation for minority and foreign cultures. This change also strengthens the characterization, like with Abbey Bominable being Nepalese instead of vaguely Russian.
The tall and curvy Abbey is a great example of another kind of representation in G3, body types. G1 is frequently criticized for the dolls’ incredibly thin bodies, which has been rectified by G3. Both the dolls and their animated counterparts have unique shapes. Some ghouls are taller or shorter than average, as well as curvier or narrower, with molded monster details, too. For example, Draculaura is petite and pear-shaped, and Frankie Stein has a prosthetic leg. These bodies are more realistic, counteracting the idealization of a single body type.
The previously mentioned Frankie Stein is an excellent example of G3’s LGBTQ+ representation. Frankie Stein is non-binary, using they/them pronouns (a nod to being made up of multiple people). When I found out Frankie is non-binary, my need to get their doll became my top priority. Frankie also is developing a romantic relationship with Cleo de Nile is this generation, who was with Deuce Gorgon in the original series. You better believe I send my girlfriend Clankie fanart on the regular. G3 Frankie helps me feel comfortable and supported in my own identity, as I am sure many others feel because of the G3 Monster High ghouls.
Some G1 fans have a problem with the G3 dolls. One is the change in aesthetics. G1 was known for pushing the envelope when it came to fashion dolls. Generation 1 of Monster High had darker color palettes, Hot Topic clothes, and intricate details. On the other hand, generation 3 takes inspiration from current trends, with dolls looking more like TikTok influencers than mall-goths. This shift in style means brighter colors, clashing patterns, and flat-footed shoes. Frankly, I enjoy this change as these characters are high schoolers and do not need to be serving c*nt 24/7.
Another problem people have with Generation 3 is the lowered quality. Generation 1 was well known for the highly detailed and individualized sculpts for both the bodies and the faces of the dolls. Generation 3 also does this but is less exaggerated than its predecessor. Some dolls’ hair and clothes are made with cheaper materials than what was standard for Monster High G1. Additionally, G3 dolls can commonly be found with anomalies, usually, the face printed off-center. There is no excuse for the cost-cutting measures Mattel has taken with this new generation. The poor quality control sullies an excellent line of fashion dolls.
Monster High Generation 3 has scratched an itch for me. I find it comforting to indulge in a hobby that I didn’t get to when I was little. My doll collection heals my inner child but also brings my adult self joy. I like buying eye-catching fashion dolls to display in my room. The diverse cast gives me and many other characters to relate to and appreciate. Admittedly, there are flaws with this new generation, but it has still won my heart. If you’re reading this article and want to buy a doll or something else from your childhood, this is your sign to do it!