In 1994, Sky Dancers Informed The Tiny Femme I Was Becoming

The year is 1994. I’m eight-years-old, and I’m the type of kid who has to have every trendy toy she sees. This is especially true of trendy toys made for little girls.

I was an incredibly girly little girl. Not the type who wore dresses and skirts every day, but I was obsessed with anything deemed “girly.” I had graduated from fake Tinkerbell makeup to real Clinique makeup to play with, I loved playing dress up, and I had an endless collection of Lip Smackers. There were Barbie dolls coming out of every storage space in our house. But the girly toy at the top of my Christmas list that year was a Sky Dancers toy.

For those of you who are either too young or too old to remember Sky Dancers, they were flying fairies. Made of hard plastic and slightly less hard foam, you put them in their base, pulled a rip-cord, and they took off straight into the air, their fairy wings acting as propellers. These toys were the epitome of femininity in a very different way than Barbie was. She was approachable. There’s nothing approachable about a pink-haired fairy toy that is careening at your head at top speed. None of the mechanics of the toy mattered. I just had to have one to fill my girly toy quota.

(I feel like it’s really important to note that as a kid, I spent most of my free time at dancing school. It was my home away from home, and as a result, was basically my entire personality. With the word “dancer” in the name, clearly I needed to make these toys my entire personality, too.)

I didn’t know it at the time, but looking back on it, those toys were an integral part of the type of girly girl I was becoming. At eight, I was on the precipice of tweendom, and I leaned into being a girly girl starting around then. It was all about lipstick and nail polish and trying to impress boys. I still preferred pants to skirts, but I was less about wearing just any jeans and a tee shirt, and started creating outfits. I remember having a pair of pink jeans I really enjoyed wearing, paired with a white bodysuit with a lace mock turtleneck. It was a whole vibe. My favorite movie was Clueless, and I wanted to be one of those girls.

Sky Dancers were just the kind of aggressively feminine toy I was unconsciously obsessed with. I wanted to be a girl who was pretty, popular, and a little fierce. When you’re an eight-year-old girl who is over five feet tall and already wearing women’s shoes, little and delicate isn’t something you’re going to be seen as. But these dolls were tall and strong and still pretty and well liked. Sky Dancers were all variations of pink, which I loved. When you surround yourself with Barbie’s dream world, pink is deep in the recesses of your consciousness. Plus, they were sparkly. To eight-year-old me (and let’s face it, adult me too) there was no limit on how many sparkles were too many sparkles. And back then, I didn’t have to vacuum or do laundry, so I was like, let the good times roll when it came to glitter.

I didn’t know it until I sat down to write about them, but apparently there was a Sky Dancers TV show, and I’m big mad I never knew about it because it was exactly my kind of show. The Sky Dancers went to a fancy dance academy where they also had to fight evil at the behest of the headmistress, Queen Skyla. I did find them on YouTube and have every intention on making it my entire personality for the next few weeks. History does repeat itself.

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Sa'iyda Shabazz

Sa'iyda is a writer and mom who lives in LA with her partner, son and 3 adorable, albeit very extra animals. She has yet to meet a chocolate chip cookie she doesn't like, spends her free time (lol) reading as many queer romances as she can, and has spent the better part of her life obsessed with late 90s pop culture.

Sa'iyda has written 122 articles for us.

4 Comments

  1. oh man, one year i got a sky dancer AND a dreamie sweet for christmas and my baby femme heart couldn’t have been happier

    i also seem to remember sky dancers getting recalled because the wings might stab you in the eye? the peculiarly 80s/90s phenomenon of flimsy-cheap-toys-of-surprising-lethality at work

  2. see the ‘boy’ version of sky dancers were ripcord helicopters which my grandparents had, ostensibly for my cousins but in practice for me, and i have vivid memories of getting them stuck in many a tree and once cutting my face on a rotor blade

  3. NGL, when I saw the blurb about “aggressively feminine” toys, I remembered the recent quiz about 90s toys and commenters talking about about whirling the sky dancers at their siblings’ heads. So that was the kind of aggression I was thinking about.

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