Thursday, August 31, 2006

American Girl Place: Friend or Foe?

I have been noticing a large number of tweens and younger carrying these red bags around The Grove for a few months now and yesterday I decided to investigate.

My thoughts in chronological order:
First I saw the book section: well it can't be all bad if it gets kids to read right?
Then I walked by the "Doll Hair Salon": WTF? Love that the employees for the most part were young men, probably wondering what the hell was going on with this.
Upstairs was all about the Historical characters. These dolls come from different periods in American history. They have period clothes, backstories and books about their lives. I wonder what girl buys the 1930's doll. Kathleen, my fellow pop culture junkie, believes these are the dolls that grandparents gift their grandaughters.

So now I am thinking that I have been too quick to judge. These dolls are teaching girls about history, and about the average young girl's experience during that time period. Then I see the freed slave doll and notice that she has white girl's hair! Again, WTF?

Then I stumble onto the theatre: "let the magic of the costumes, songs, and stories take you on a marvelous journey. You’ll explore the lives of American girls past and present, or the adventures of your favorite Bitty Bunch characters." Is it free? I ask. That's a big fat NO. It costs $30/person.

So here is where I stand after a good 30 minutes on the store:
This is a major money suck. Not only can you buy you and your doll matching outfits, you can have your birthday party here for the bottom basement price of $60/person!! And the "Private Doll Hair Salon Spectacular" is available for an additional fee. Who spends that much on a birthday party?

So I am going with Foe. It should really be called the American Rich Girl Place.


Blogger Erin said...

I rank these up there with the scary designer bride Barbies. A hundred and fifty bucks buys you a doll clad in Carolina Herrera and frozen in her perfect-day princess perkiness. The message to young girls as marriage trends continue to be on the decline? Priceless.

11:41 AM  
Blogger Jodi said...

So American Girl has been around for about 20 years and I used to love it. Back in the day it was only the books and dolls. Even about 10 years ago, my niece - who loved to read - got into the books. So, I bought her one of the dolls (Samantha circa 1904). It was still pretty expensive at the time, but it was this great history lesson and when I heard her talk about the girls, I felt so proud she was into it. I even picked up a few of the books and the stories were good. Well, fast forward a few years, and I had created a monster. Samantha ended up under the bed somewhere while she tried to get anyone who would to buy her one of the modern girls with modern clothes complete with a trip to the store and the show and OMFG! I hate what it's become. Such a great idea turned into the rich waspy hell it is. The only thing this company teaches little girls now is how to be even more spoiled and materialistic. A trip to American Girl for their 10th birthday is a sure prelude to "My Super Sweet 16" on MTV and Bridezilla a few years later.

8:08 PM  
Blogger tracey said...

Actually, white girls' hair on a "freed slave" doll would be historically accurate in many cases. My question is, do AG books give the history of how plantation owners raped enslaved women?

9:22 AM  
Blogger Jodi said...

I bet they skipped that part. But because I kinda like the books much as I hate the rest, the story doesn't suck as much as the expensive doll and all her accessories. So Addy (the slave girl) isn't freed. Her parents are planning to escape via underground railroad. Unfortunately her brother and father are sold before they can go and Addy and her ma decide to risk it and make it alone. They do so with the help of abolitionists. I'm sure it's pretty santized but at least they don't harbor some notion of a happy freed slave girl. Of course it is one of those "the plantation owner wasn't that mean" kind of things. Or so my niece told me.

10:52 AM  

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