Close your eyes and cast your mind back 15 years. You’re sitting at your family computer in the lounge room in your allotted hour of internet time for the afternoon. You click into the site from an early imprint of Google (or Alta Vista if you’re really an internet OG) and feel the sugary, 8-bit rush of icon-creation mecca: Dollzmania.
You’ve been thinking about it all day — the perfect outfit, the right glitter, the low-rise pants and the dream hairdo. Maybe you’ll sneakily add a Playboy singlet this time and pray mum doesn’t look over your shoulder. There’s something inherently flirty and coy about the way they stand, too. It’s giving Supré circa 2003.
Only bad bitches spent hours on dollzmania in the 2000s pic.twitter.com/LqhCmlIEon
— ev 🦑🧡 (@crashbandiboob) June 21, 2022
I used to spend hours creating different Dollz, labouring over just the right combination of tops, bottoms, shoes, hair and poses. I would create various identities for myself depending on the aesthetic I was exploring that week — preppy, gothy, bratty, the list goes on.
Christ knows what I did with these glittery, pixelated, Internet 1.0 avatars until MySpace eventually rolled around. But just sitting in front of the computer in my Supré Bad Kitty collared stretch polo and dragging and dropping looks onto online paper dolls was the thing to do in the early ’00s.
Now, these dollz are having a renaissance alongside the Y2K resurgence.
Meme pages have started using blown-out Dollzmania characters for simple memes that scratch a particular 2000s itch deep in my psyche. Between this and The Simpsons dank memes, my childhood is turning into shitposting fodder and it’s honestly the best iteration of very specific nostalgia.
It’s unsurprising that Dollzmania — and Dollz Palace — has re-emerged into the zeitgeist largely in the form of shitposting if you really think about it.
We’re in the thick of a bimbo renaissance where pink-loving, sugary hyper-femme identities are celebrated and popularised. Christ, even low-rise pants and micro-skirts have come back into fashion, much to my chagrin. Memes and shitposting tend to attach themselves to what’s hot in culture to have a relevant touchpoint to the current conversation, so Dollz memes are part and parcel of the Y2K revival.
I wish Dollz Mania and Palace were around to pass the time pic.twitter.com/hLJo5W3cel
— eric rivera (@erictrivera) April 19, 2020
Now for the real bombshell: Dollzmania is still live on the internet as a neocities site (bless) after all this time so if you need me I’ll be creating angsty pixelated versions of myself for the rest of the day.