American Doll X

For those of you that know me, you know that I am closet doll-lover. Heck, it’s not that secret, I have Barbies on display in my living room. The phenomenon of the American Girl Dolls is one that still wows me. They came out right around the time when it was no longer socially acceptable for me to really be playing with dolls. However, what is socially acceptable? If someone wanted to buy me an American Doll for Chanukah, I wouldn’t protest. That’s a hint. Just kidding. No I’m not. Or am I?

The premise is that the gals come from historical eras and it is supposed to teach girls about history. Sounds benign enough, right? Well, I just found out they created a new historical doll. Julie, who is from the 1970s. Does it get any better? She lives in the Haight in San Francisco! Woot? And she has a funky Chinese bff from Chinatown, natch. Why didn’t someone call me when this came out? Don’t you know me at all?

So yea, The funny thing is that the intentions is for girls to learn about crucial times in history, but it gets lost on the impact. For instance, the only black doll is…wait for it…an escaped slave from the civil war era. And her story is that she had a hard life, and now is beginning a new life with “nothing but a silver nickel and a smile” or some shit like that. Each doll comes with a set of accessories (which costs, no joke, hundreds of dollars). Now here’s the bed that goes with Samantha. the rich, spoiled Victorial-era gal.

Addie’s bed:

Damn! What girl would CHOOSE Addie’s bed over the other one?

Kaya’s the Native American doll, and for a mere $70, you can buy her teepee! And her worker dog!

Molly, who is from World War II era, accesorizes with camp gear. Hmmm, how much is the shame for the Japanese internment camps? Kirten is from colonial times. Was Addie her actual slave?

You are probably thinking that I am looking too much into it, that they are only dolls. Yes, I suppose that’s true. But, if you are making an attempt at teaching history, it’s pretty sucky when you paint the era as good and feature the clothing and accessories for the dolls as a big sell. If you are going to teach history, be more realistic.

Oh, but I still wasn’t kidding about getting me one for Chanukah. Just kidding. Or not.

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5 thoughts on “American Doll X

  1. My cousin is/was into these. She’s 15 now, so prolly not kewl anymore. It’s Brave New World cosumerism at its finest. Not only do mommy and daddy have to shell out like $100 for the doll, but then there’s all these clothes, and furniture, and shit. and then you have to get a doll for the doll and another doll for THAT doll. And it all costs money, money, money. And then you have to shell out for the pilgrimage to Chicago to go to American Girl land or something, where at this store you spend more $. Note to self: Need to figure out next big trend and jump on it.

  2. I totally should have told you but I assumed you knew! I saw Julie premiere on Oprah, with Hanna Montana, I didn’t get the connection but it was good none the less. Look for it on You Tube, they went into the factory and did a profile on the doll designers and researchers.

  3. UMMM I hate to call you out on this BUT Kirsten was a pioneer girl in the mid-west. Felicity didn’t own slaves BUT Elizabeth, another colonial era doll, had tons and she was not known for her kindness. For $200 you can buy her slave auction set. It comes with slaves who cry real tears when you separate the children from their mothers.

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