Saturday, November 5, 2022

G3 Frankie Stein from Monster High

I already wrote an in-depth review of the new Monster High dolls, but I know there's a lot of interest in the individual characters, so I decided to do a short(er) follow-up with the fabulously freaky Frankie Stein!

G3 Frankie Stein from Monster High, $24.99.
Frankie was my second favorite doll based on the promotional photos, but they didn't arrive in time for the first review.

I won't spend too much time describing the packaging, since it's the same as all of the other G3 dolls, but for anyone who's curious about the box layout or box art, here you go:

One disappointment to me at first glance was that Frankie's shoulders looked hunched:

The vest and shirt ride up, making it look like Frankie has no neck!  That's not a big deal for a doll that's coming out of the box for play, but it doesn't look great on display.

I think Frankie has some of the best accessories of the G3 group.  They come with a camera, two photos, and pizza with bugs on it!

There's also an extra jacket, a backpack, and Watzit Watzie:

Why did they change her name?
As before, I'm unimpressed with the box art:

From what I've seen, the animated characters from the new television show look a lot better than the box art:

Here's the back of the box, with the full-bodied version of cartoon Frankie:

And the scant information about their personality:

There's no mention of the fact that Frankie is non-binary.

One of the dolls I kept when we moved two years ago is the original first wave version of Frankie, so we can look at that doll and that packaging as a comparison:

Original first wave Frankie Stein.
I love this Frankie's facial features, with those blood-red lips and crisply-painted, mismatched eyes:

Original first wave Frankie Stein.
The back of the box also has tons of information about Frankie, which is really fun to read:

Watzit looks really cute here, too.
Here's a closer look at the text:

"My stitches come loose at the most inconvenient times," lol.
Frankie's parents are listed here as "Frankenstein and his bride."  For those who missed it, this parental unit was released as a doll set last month:

I did not purchase this pair, but they look awesome.  I especially love her hair!

As a bit of a tangent, I also have the Boo-riginal Creeproduction Frankie set, because I was curious to see how similar it is to the original:

Boo-riginal Creeproduction Frankie Stein.
There are actually a lot of little differences.  First of all, the box design is different--there's less cardboard on the right side, and there are a lot of other small changes, too.  Here are the two dolls side-by-side:

Original first wave Frankie (left) and Boo-riginal Creeproduction (right).
Another difference is that Creeporduction Frankie has a huge poof at the front of their hair, which gives the whole face a different look:

Boo-riginal Creeproduction Frankie Stein.
Also, the color of the vinyl is slightly different (the Creeproduction doll is greener) and the placement of the facial features is not quite the same:

Original first wave Franke (left) and Boo-riginal Creeproduction (right).
Overall, I prefer the older doll's face--it just looks higher-quality to me.

The outfits and accessories are very similar (except for Watzit, who I'll look at in a sec), but the back of the Creeproduction box has a lot less information:

There are differences between these two dolls that I know exist but aren't apparent with them both still in-box.  For example, the original Frankie has elastic hips, gluey hair, and thinly-pegged arms.  All of these things were changed with the newer version.  So even though the Creeproduction isn't perfectly accurate, it has fixed a lot of the problems from the first wave.

Anyway, let's get back to the topic at hand!  Here's G3 Frankie with everything that was included in the box:

I'll go through all of Frankie's accessories in random order.

The extra clothing accessory is this varsity-style jacket:

The jacket has great details, like the ribbed collar and cuffs, asymmetrical fabric placement, and the pink Monster High logo on one side:

The back of the jacket has a large pink skullette:

The stitching is basic, with unfinished edges that look a little rough:

Frankie's animal companion is the delightful Watzie, formerly known as Watzit:

G3 Watzie.
Here's what the original Watzit looks like:

Original first wave Watzit.
The Creeproduction version has the exact same mold, but the paint job is worse. All of the colors are less vibrant, and the mouth paint is badly misplaced!

Boo-riginal Creeproduction Watzit.
Here are the two Watzits are side-by-side:

First wave Watzit (left) and Boo-riginal Creeproduction Watzit (right).
Like Watzit, Watzie is a patched-together dog-like animal.  This version has blue lightning wings and a reptilian tail:

Her body is mostly grey and black, but she has yellow around her right eye, green fur on top of her head, and a pink bandana around her neck:

Her wings look cool, and I love her tail!

Like the other G3 pets I've looked at, Watzie does not have any neck articulation.

My favorite of Frankie's accessories is this neon pink Polaroid-style camera:

The lens of the camera looks like a green eye, and there's a dripping pattern running down from the top:

Pretty creepy!
The back of the camera is plain, with only a simple checkered pattern.  This is too bad; I wish there were some molded details that made it look more like a camera:

The back looks more like a purse.

The camera has a small opening in the top that perfectly accommodates two small photos:

The photos are easy to tip out:

There's quite a lot of detail in these tiny pictures; one of them shows Cleo and Clawdeen in Boo York, and the other shows Frankie, Draculaura, and Clawdeen in Scaris:

Worldly fiends!
My least favorite of Frankie's accessories is this lightning-shaped backpack:

It's made out of translucent blue vinyl and has very short straps:

There's a removable pink plastic charm that hangs from one side of the pack, and this is decorated with a lightbulb, a lightning bolt, and the letter "F:"

The backpack opens at the top and can hold small items, but this particular pack came broken.  When I hold it open with my hands or with something large like the camera, one of the side seams splits apart:

This would be an easy thing to glue back in place:

Frankie also comes with blue lightning-themed sunglasses:

And a smartphone:

The case on Frankie's phone has a big stitched-together heart with lightning coming out of it:

The last accessory is this lightning-shaped pizza slice with spider web cheese, pepperoni, and little black spiders on top!

Chelicerates are crunchy!
There's a ring on one side of the pizza that allows Frankie to hold the slice, but that ring could also be used to string the pizza onto a necklace or bracelet.

Finally, here's Frankie!

They have the traditional salt and pepper streaked hair with a few blue highlights on one side.  Thankfully there's no curl or wave in the hair fiber, so it's easy to brush and manage:

The first thing I did after I got Frankie out of the box was try to push the shirt and vest down so that they didn't swallow Frankie's neck.  This is a slight improvement, I think:

I miss the bolt feature that the original Frankie had at their neck, though, and wish that it hadn't been omitted from the new version.  The bolt could have held the collar of the shirt down!

Frankie's hair is pulled back into a small ponytail on the left side:

And is clipped back with two lightning-shaped barrettes on the right side:

Here's a better look at the barrettes:

If I clip the hair back even more, you can see Frankie's ears and their green lightning bolt earrings:

I like the shape of their ears!
The earrings are removable and have little hexagonal bolts at the top:

Frankie's face paint is great, but this doll has a few little defects--most notably a line of missing paint through their coral-colored lips:

The eyes are mismatched, which I love, and both have yellow eyeshadow on the top and purple liner on the bottom.  The eyebrows are nice and thick, with a piercing on the left, but it's hard to see the hair detail in the brows.

Here's a closer look at Frankie's blue right eye, where you can see the intricate upper and lower eyelashes--and the lightning bolt reflective mark:

The left eyebrow has some scuffed paint, and the metallic silver of the piercing could be more distinct:

I wanted to get a better look at Frankie's hair, so I removed the two barrettes.  Here they are on their own:

The barrettes are easy to use and can hold the hair pretty well, but they have simple folded hinges that are already white from the stress of being bent:

With the barrettes gone, I could see that the hair on Frankie's right side was also held back with a clear rubber band...and I could also see some visible scalp and hair plugs: 

The rooting is actually quite good, and the scalp is painted white to try and camouflage it, but the white paint is not very thick, so a lot of blue vinyl shows through:

I left Frankie's hair down and brushed it out.  It looks great except for a small kink at the top on the left side caused by the rubber band:

Here's a closer look:

I tied the hair back into a ponytail to get it out of the way, and also with the hopes that it would help smooth out the kinks:

Frankie's outfit includes a collared shirt, a vest, a vinyl belt with a chain design, and a pleated plaid skirt:   

The shirt and skirt close in back with velcro, and the belt has a small peg and hole clasp:

I like how the outfit features the colors of the trans flag, and how the plaid skirt shows deference to the first wave doll's outfit.

I assumed that the vest and shirt were connected, but they're actually two separate pieces! Very impressive:

The vest is made out of a thin black knit, and has printed pink and blue accents and also some little white scar marks:

The inside of the fabric is white, which is a little strange.  I guess the black part of the vest is also printed.  But perhaps this reduces the chance of staining.

All of the seams are impossibly small and neat, although none of the edges are finished.

Underneath the vest, Frankie is wearing a collared blouse with a blue and pink lightning bolt print:

The details on this blouse are wonderful.  The sleeves are puffed and have immaculate little cuffs, and the pointed collar is symmetrical and lays flat:

The puffed sleeves and crisp collar are very traditional, but the cropped cut and funky print give this blouse a distinctly modern look. 

Here's the blouse on its own:

It's so dedicatedly-made.  I really hope none of those tiny edges fray over time, because I absolutely love this blouse!

The vinyl belt has the name "Frankie" molded into one of the chains, and there are also some small charms at the bottom:

Frankie's plaid skirt looks good...

But there's nothing to keep it from riding up.  So, as we saw with Ghoulia's skirt, this thing is up around Frankie chest more often than not!

The skirt is made out of a lightweight woven synthetic fabric with a plaid print.  I like how little lightning bolts were incorporated into the plaid:

Like little circuits!
The skirt has wide pleats all of the way around, and the sewing is similar to what we've seen on the other garments:

To complete the outfit, Frankie is wearing purple high-top sneakers with very thick treads:

The shoes have painted black laces and a thin blue line all around the top of each tread:

There are also molded lightning bolts on the treads themselves.  

The shoes have some fun suture details at the heels, and a green lightning bolt on the outer side:

A slit in the back makes the shoes easy to get on and off, and they seem to only fit easily onto the correct foot, which is nice.

Frankie's body is the mostly same as Clawdeen's, including the wonderful new torso joint:

But one of my favorite things about Frankie is that they have a prosthetic leg on the left side!

The leg is made out of shiny grey plastic so that it looks kind-of like metal.  There are some wonderful molded details, especially at the ankle and in the foot:

There are also painted details all around the calf area--almost like a signed cast.  "Frankie" is written in large lettering and surrounded by smaller doodles:

I tried gently scratching at these decorations with my fingernail, but they did not come off.

Every side of the leg is different, so there's a lot to see!

The back has two molded electrodes with electricity zapping between them!  So clever:

Unfortunately, the color matching throughout the blue part of the body is not very good.  It's not super-easy to see here, but Frankie's vinyl parts, like the lower arm, are not the same color as their plastic parts--like the upper legs:

But the body looks fine overall, and I really enjoy the little black stitches on the limbs and neck:

I like how the first wave box describes Frankie's stitches coming loose during fearleading tryouts.  Frankie's a tough one: they may fall apart at the seams sometimes, but they can always put themselves back together!

I scratched at the painted stitches with my fingernail and they did not come off, either--not like Lagoona's legs, thank goodness!  But I've read some complaints about the durability of these marks, so it might be best to be careful.

After the trouble I had with Clawdeen's hand breaking off, I tried really hard to get Frankie's clothing back on without pulling off their hands.  This was definitely possible with the blouse, although it took some maneuvering:

I think my favorite look for Frankie is when they're wearing the skirt, belt, and blouse--with no vest:

I also wanted to try out the extra jacket.  This is harder to get on over Frankie's fingers...but again, it's possible:

I left the hands in place the first time I redressed Frankie, just to see if it could be done, but for all subsequent outfit changes, I removed the hands.  It was simply too time-consuming to get the sleeves on over the hands.  I think it would be really frustrating for kids to do this.  

I was very slow and gentle when I pulled off Frankie's hands, though, and nothing broke.  Phew.

The jacket looks great:

Except when the front edges fold back and the seams are visible:

I was curious to see what the vest would look like on its own, and it's not bad!

Although the vest tends to ride up a lot, which looks pretty silly around the neck:

And the arm holes are a bit too revealing:

Here's Frankie with the blouse, vest, and the jacket--the compete outfit:

I was surprised that the jacket fit on over the bulk of the other tops (especially those puffy blouse sleeves), but it all works:

I love the confidence and zaniness of this outfit.  It's a little preppy, a little sporty, but it has that huge chain belt and that very feminine-looking blouse...and the lightning adds a bit of disco!  Frankie definitely has their own style.

Next I tested out the sunglasses:

I like these!  The jagged pattern along the top makes Frankie look like they have bushy, intense eyebrows:

And of course Frankie can hold their iCoffin phone just like the other characters:

And they can even hold the pizza in the opposite hand:

The backpack is more of a challenge, though.  I had a hard time fitting the small straps over the bulk of Frankie's clothing:

I did actually manage to get the backpack on, but it's super-tight and looks uncomfortable:

I'm not going to school like this.
It fits better without the jacket:

The camera slings comfortably over Frankie's shoulder, but doesn't stay in place very well unless Frankie is holding it:

I really like how Frankie looks with a ponytail, but I took their hair down for the rest of the photos, just so you can get a better sense for how it behaves.

Frankie is very fierce and fun to pose, although those tops definitely want to ride up and make them look neckless:

I played around with Frankie and their accessories for a little while.  The barrettes are fun to use and are a nice way of accenting the hair:

And the backpack is more fun if I don't have to jam it over Frankie's shoulders!

The camera and the pizza are my favorite accessories, though. 

They give Frankie a lot of extra personality.  I see this character as a street-smart city monster, strolling through the neighborhoods of Boo York with their food truck pizza in hand, taking snapshots of the scaffolding and the pigeons.

Bottom line?  Frankie is great.  I like them just as much as G3 Clawdeen, probably more, especially since I didn't have to do anything to fix their hair.

There are a few irritating problems, though, like the missing paint on this doll's lips, the mismatched colors in the blue body, and the tendency of the blouse, vest, and skirt to ride up.  I also worry that some of the clothing items (especially the blouse) will start to fray at the seams before too long.  And it's pretty hard to put the blouse and jacket on without removing the hands.  So I recommend using care when pulling the hands off.

So many elements of this doll are great, though, and I feel like those things outweigh the irritations.  First of all, the outfit is attractive, with clever attention to detail.  The color scheme is a nod to Frankie's gender identity, and I like all of the lightning bolt accents--particularly the ones incorporated into the signature plaid skirt.  The blouse is also impressive, with its puffed sleeves and delicate collar.  Frankie's accessories are great, too, and my favorites are the camera, with its tiny little photographs, and the hilariously gross spider pizza.  But even without their cool outfit and great accessories, Frankie is a unique doll.  I'm so glad that the new version still has mismatched eyes and salt and pepper hair, but what I really love is the addition of the incredibly detailed prosthetic leg.  It's a perfect fit for Frankie's character, and a wonderful way to make the line more inclusive and accepting of different bodies.

During the summary of my last review, I had a lot of mixed feelings.  Even though I love Clawdeen, I was more ambivalent about the new Ghoulia and Lagoona.  Those conflicting reactions caused me to temper my enthusiasm for the whole G3 concept.  But with Frankie, my feelings are clear.  I had so much fun with this doll.  I have always loved the Frankie character, but the older version could get lost in the mix.  Without fangs, wolf ears, or fish fins, there wasn't as much to make Frankie stand out.  But this doll has taken the essence of that character and amplified it.  I see such a clear personality when I look at Frankie:  they are beautiful, weird, fashionable, resilient, a little creepy, very savvy, and fiercely confident about who they are.  And it makes me want to cheer.  


  1. Great review as always. Various thoughts:

    * I've seen some not-unwarranted heavy displeasure with Frankie's pronouns not being made visible on their doll boxes, which can indicate some reluctance toward making their otherwise-good representation visible toward casual toy buyers, and that has tempered my praise for the move a bit. There should not be a profit-driven exception to their visibility. I was also a bit iffy on the pink in G3 Frankie's colors since I don't find their palette very tidy, but if it is a reference to their gender identity, which I didn't catch, that really reframes it in my mind and I'm all for it.
    * Frankie's G3 design has been speculated as trying to deliberately veer away from the copyrighted Karloff monster look, as they are no longer green and don't have flesh staples or bolts anymore. Not sure Mattel was actually running up against copyright stipulations since Frankie was fine beforehand, but G3 Frankie is noticeably less like the Universal depiction than before.
    * G3 Frankie uses text very frequently in their outfits, giving them a new style signature.
    * By the position of the name on their metal leg, it's clear Frankie signed it on themselves while sitting down one day!
    * G3 Frankie has a budget release wearing an outfit more directly analogous to their G1 version's signature costume, and that's the Frankie that I might go for. There's a Creepro Frankie at a store nearby I could get to pair with them. Thanks for pointing out how Creepro Frankie may differ from earlier releases of the G1 signature doll as well!
    * The Universal Frankenstein Skullector set is gorgeous and would be awesome to have. I hadn't heard about it until this review!

    1. If you do get the budget Frankie, none of the budget dolls have chest joints. I was going to get one until I heard that, now I’m getting the regular Clawdeen and Cleo!

    2. That's so weird! Thanks for the heads-up, though. It doesn't make a huge difference to me, and I'm very used to MH with no torso joints. By the day I'm tempted to get Frankie's signature doll as well, too, so I'll probably go ahead but that's useful to know.

  2. Frankie's pronouns aren't on the box BUT they are in their very cool music video, Sparked To Life, but what are the chances kids will see that? I always liked the lightning bolt aesthetic even if I wasn't fond of Frankie as a whole. I hope we see Draculaura and Cleo as reviews soon, they are the ones I really enjoyed.

  3. I'm surprised you didn't mention how wonky Frankie's eyes look! Maybe it's just me, but the blue eye seems to ride higher than the green eye, and the green eye seems maybe a tiny bit tilted down at the inside. From the thumbnail picture, I instantly thought "Oh Emily's going to HATE those eyes." But it wasn't mentioned, so... am I just seeing things? Do they look fine in real life? Otherwise looks like a wonderful doll.

    1. It's just an optical illusion with how the shines were done that makes them seem off. The blue side has pure white while the green isn't causing them to look a little weird. If you zoom in on the photos it looks better.

    2. Uhh, it’s not. I just put a flat ruler against the photo, she has a slight wonk in the green eye.

    3. Uhhh their pronouns are they/them...
      And depending on what photo you used that isn't going to be an accurate way to tell if their eyes are wonk.

  4. What a great review! It is so inspirational that MH is including gender neutral and non-binary dolls! Frankie really reminds me of a close friend who is also non-binary, I love how Frankie is femme but also really gender neutral in their clothes and features. It would have been so helpful to me as a young kid struggling with gender identity to see Frankie and be like “ok, people accept non-binary people, the queer community doesn’t have to hide.” It is so important and I am glad that dolls like MH and Creatable World are so inclusive and just very important to our world. Thank you.

  5. Thanks for another great G3 review, Emily! Although, I'm not sure if I should really thank you because I had managed to keep this Frankie off of my wish list, and I think I might just have to change that! I have watched quite a few G3 reviews on Youtube already, but I love that you really showed how Frankie interacts with all of their accessories. I also love the ponytail look on them, and I think the poses in your pictures really show how flattering their clothes actually are. Frankie just seems a lot more versatile than what I gathered from other reviews or promotional pictures, which is good for Mattel, I guess, but not very good for my wallet, hahaha!

  6. Frankie always was and always will be my favorite character they were my first MH doll. Something about their facesculpt spoke to me, the fashion style, the personality, the color scheme, everything. And I was so glad this G3 doll is the same for me, they look just as beautiful as before. In my opinion, the best G3 doll frim this new release, thank you!

  7. Oh, I really really like this G3 line and I hope they will arrive in Europe soon :) I absolutely prefer this Frankie over Lagoona - but she looks like she‘s having massive back pain to me, on every photo. I don‘t know why…

  8. Great review! Frankie was always my favorite G1 and they're by far my favorite in the G3 redesigns so far. I've been really impressed with the accessories in these G3 dolls. The camera is such a great design--perfect balance of creepy and cute. The lack of stand does really bother me, though. I feel like it's almost an expectation these days. And I still don't know why they didn't put a little diary in these like they did with G1! So disappointing to open the box and slowly realize they didn't include one. It's a great marketing tactic to get buyers to buy more dolls, not to mention providing a basic personality and storyline for kids to springboard play off of. Heck, I went out and bought Clawdeen after I opened Frankie mostly because I thought the little Polaroids of them together looked so cute!

  9. Hello!

    Thanks for for your post, so glad you are back!
    Bth, seems I've understood what is wrong with G3 pets. They don't look monster's pet. They are just generic cute big-headed pets from any surprise franchise or a vending machine. Old ones looked much more freakier and spookier

    1. I agree that the G3 pets are one of the biggest casualties of the reboot that betray that it still isn't up to the G1 creepy standard. G3 is maturer than G2, but not without its own softening. The G1 pets had genuine unusual charm, while the G3 ones feel formulaically cutesy. Dustin is probably the worst-- a legitimately creepy-cute dust bunny made entirely of bedroom detritus turned into a glossy-eyed cartoon.

  10. As much as I miss the style of the old monster high, it's really nice to see they've kept the dedication to detail. I never would have noticed the electricity symbol in the plaid, that's so clever! Nice to see them being more openly LGBT friendly too, even 10 years ago, I wouldn't have imagined seeing a mainline non binary character in a doll line. And one with a prosthetic at that!

    The comparisons were interesting to see. They're definetly sifter and rounder, but still appealing in their own way. I'm actually for treating the new versions as new characters. They aren't replacing the old, or ignoring them, just trying new things for a new audience. As a long time transformer fan, it's par for the course. :)

  11. G3 Frankie might be one of my favorite dolls in my collection right now if I'm being honest. as a femme-presenting nonbinary person the casual way their transness is treated means a lot to me, plus I love their outfit and would absolutely wear something like that myself :) I'm pretty sure it was the G3 mission statement that mentioned they'll be discussing neurodivergency in the series, so I hope they're eventually confirmed to be autistic as well since that's another way I kind of see myself in them. it's also very impressive to me that you figured out the keychain was a lightbulb right away because it took me a solid week of occasionally glancing at their backpack and wondering what that thing was LMAO

    1. I wonder if that could actually be where Ghoulia comes into play, given her older incarnation. Her G1 version evoked disability subtext due to her limitations in speech and mobility and people discriminating against her for challenges inherent to her body. G3 Ghoulia is able to speak and move quickly, but perhaps they'll just drop the metaphor of zombie=disability and portray her openly as humanly neurodivergent while also being a zombie.

  12. Emily, you’ve done it again. Just when I was thinking that I “have enough dolls” [hahahahahahah…as if!!!!] I read your review and Frankie will be arriving day after tomorrow. —MnGrl

  13. Of all the G3 MH, I find Frankie the least objectionable. Still not enough to guy, but I like their design as well as personally/presentation. I struggle to understand how someone can be non-binary while looking and acting like a stereotypical woman. This kind of doll was long due. I hope they are going to expand Frankie's backstory and bring back diaries. Also, something I noticed in your post, is it not ok to refer to pre-G3 Frankie as "she"? They have come out only recently. Is the transition retroactive?

    1. I didn't catch that, but I would gently disagree with Emily and say that pronoun use seems unwarranted. G1 Frankie had she/her pronouns and is from a separate continuity from G3 Frankie altogether, so she doesn't need to be referred to as non-binary. G3 Frankie isn't G1 Frankie after coming out. If the two Frankies were actually one, then retroactive pronouns make sense because that's real-world trans etiquette, but I think G1 and G3 Frankie are separate people.

      If I'm reading your comment right and Frankie's presentation does or has confused you, I can sympathize. I've been through the phase where I was confused by trans people not perhaps being the most outwardly visually clear with their identity, but relaxed on that upon appreciating that since cis people express themselves variably and even contrarily to norms without that invalidating their gender, then trans people and enbies deserve to be able to do so as well.

    2. non-binary people do not owe you androgyny.

    3. This is important to me and I really appreciate the input. It does say very clearly on G1 Frankie's box "daughter of Frankenstein" which implies she/her pronouns. But I erred on the side of respecting Frankie's new identity in all of my historical references, as I would with a real person.

    4. I too appreciate the input. I'm glad G3 Frankie sparks discussions about gender identity. I was born female and whenever I think what defines a woman, I can only think of traditional gender roles and stereotypes. I understand the burden of being assigned the wrong sex, but not the wrong gender because gender is a meaningless label to me. How do we define a gender? I myself have never felt any sense of identity or belonging, so I find it really hard to understand the struggle of being misgendered. I am free to do what any man and woman do. I live in a country where I can vote, choose any profession, style of dress, haircut etc. To me "woman" is only a label on forms and directions where to buy clothes that fit me. I don't expect people to look like a gender stereotype and I certainly didn't mean to offend anyone. I'm genuinely trying to understand and learn. Here I found out that trans people require their new pronouns to be used retroactively. Wouldn't that invalidate their past experience with a different identity? I guess better to ask in each individual case. Since Frankie is not a real person, we can't exactly ask their take. But I really hope to get more background in future releases.

    5. (I was the first commenter responding to you, BlackKitty, but forgot to put in a name that time)

      This is the best understanding I've come to from seeing and meeting so many different people: gender identity is essentially just a personal thing that makes you feel most comfortable and can take the form of something as simple as a nuance that makes you feel more you. Some people feel comfortable exploring their gender identity in nontraditional ways and that doesn't mean they're not cis...and for some people it really does. Or another reason gets them there. Some people need to make big stylistic and/or medical changes to feel comfortable. Some just need new pronouns. That's all up to them to decide and up to us to respect. There aren't any real rules on how to be trans, and even those little personal changes can save lives.

      Retroactive pronouns (and with them, retroactive names if the trans person has changed theirs) are a courtesy to recognize the person's chosen identity. Often, their experiences living or performing a gender they didn't identify with are things they'd very much prefer to leave in the past and even with good intentions, referring to their past self as they were then can invoke a painful time and feel like you're taking away the person they have chosen to be that makes them feel the happiest. To you, they may not have always looked like and been called what they are today, but to them, their current self may have always been there hidden away, so it's more respectful and validating to default to using the current name and pronouns even when talking about their past self. Their past self still existed and had nice memories with others-- they aren't being wiped from history if you update the name and pronouns to acknowledge the current person.

      You may not feel it, and perhaps that makes you lucky, but in the end, gender really does mean that much to tons of people and being perceived in a way that doesn't match up can be very painful. Even many firmly cis people struggle with standards and roles and finding ways to embrace and enjoy their genders. Ultimately, it's best to keep asking questions and meeting and hearing out the voices of more people, and you're right to consider being upfront and honest and asking the individual how it works for their case when confused. Confusion isn't a bad thing as long as it doesn't preclude respect and curiosity. There's a lot of new social dynamics that have to adapt, and it can get unsure like with the question of "should G1 Frankie be considered in G3 Frankie's past as a toy and be retroactively gendered?", but the effort and care pays off.
      (Apologies for the long comment.)

    6. This is actually very helpful, I welcome the long comment and hope that Emily doesn't mind! Thanks.

  14. Whilst it is real-world etiquette (and greatly appreciated that you were considerate of it!), it is unecessary here as G1 and G3 Frankie are confirmed to be different characters existing in different continuities (which is clearly shown and can also be seen by thibgs such as Clawdeen and Howleen not being sisters in G3 to give another blatent example). Using ‘they/them’ to refer to G1 Frankie is misgendering her just as much as using ‘she/her’ to refer to G3 Frankie.

  15. Thanks for another great review. Reading this interesting conversation about Frankie a few months after the review was first posted. When my mother was growing up in another country, she made her own toys. The toys could be whatever she chose them to be. Today corporates create elaborate storylines and character backgrounds and leave nothing to the imagination. Children don’t “need” any toy to tell them it’s ok to be who they want to be. They need the freedom to explore what they like and dislike without adults jumping in to assign some meaning and label to it. American culture at its worst is about creating labels and telling us to buy, dress, speak or act this way or that…and get yourself labelled. As if you will miss out or be defective if you don’t claim some “identity”. The truth is we are ever evolving and ever exploring what it means to be human. Liking certain activities or styles of clothing should not be used to push people to claim an identity. It cements the idea that women and men are supposed to be a certain way. No! We are multidimensional beings. Not identities. Explore. Live. Love.