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