'Billy' doll

Made:
1998-1999
Selection of two dolls, 'Billy' and 'Carlos', with packaging, marketed to the gay community, 1999.

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Selection of two dolls, 'Billy' and 'Carlos', with packaging, marketed to the gay community, 1999.
Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

This object is a Billy Doll made around 1999. It was designed by John McKitterick and Juan Andres in the early 1990s. It was made for mass production by Totem International Inc., USA.

This item is 13inches tall and has blond hair, blue eyes, and one hand in a clenched fist and the other with an open gesture. It is made of moulded plastic and is anatomically detailed, including a proportionally large, circumcised penis. The doll is dressed in a dark blazer and trousers, black shoes, and a white shirt. He is accessorized with a blue tie with white polka dots and a matching pocket square. He has been removed from his original packaging.

This Billy Doll is an example of the Wall Street Billy produced around 1999.

The ‘Billy’ Doll is an object designed for a queer, specifically adult gay male, audience. Billy was designed by artists John McKitterick and Juan Andres in response to the negativity directed towards the gay community during the AIDS epidemic. Their designs were meant to create positive visibility for the gay community, promote safe sex, and with the later addition of his boyfriend Carlos in 1998 and best friend Tyson in 1999, champion diverse representations. He was originally a sculpture displayed at a London Arts Benefit for Aids in 1994. The dolls led to controversy due to their anatomically detailed bodies, including large genitals, and explicit links to the gay community. Despite this, continued demand for the dolls led to mass manufacturing by Totem International Ltd, being sold internationally by 1997. Billy’s widespread popularity illustrates how gay culture has dramatically spread into popular culture and commercial industries over the 20th and 21st centuries. 

Details

Category:
Public Health & Hygiene
Object Number:
2000-584/2 Pt1
Materials:
plastic (unidentified) and textile
type:
dolls