Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Is it just me? My anti-American Girl theories.


Ok, I have held my tongue long enough... I am going public. I do not like the American Girl franchise. There, I said it. You can all start throwing tomatoes now.

I was first exposed to American Girls a couple of years ago. I saw Ariana's friends with them and thought they were cute, sweet... much better than a Bratz doll or many of the other questionable female images we expose our daughters to.

I never really paid them much thought since none of my girls ever asked about them or wanted them... until we received a random American Girl catalog in the mail one day. As I opened the pages, I must have uttered a few profanities not suitable for my little mommy blog. A singular DOLL cost close to $100!!! Yes... one, zero, zero. And that is just the beginning. Clothes cost $25-$35 per outfit (and a little girl can get a matching outfit for $70-$80!), ear piercing or hair styling for $20, cribs for $75. And, there are way more ridiculous items I am not even mentioning.

As I flipped through the catalog, I was shocked and wondered how the hell this company conned people into thinking it was ok to spend more on these dolls than I spend on my own human needs. How could I possibly spend hundreds of dollars and this marketing bonanza and instill any sense of social responsibility, sense of living simply (or at the very least, not extravagantly!) in my daughters?

But, I seem to be the only person in America that shares these thoughts. People that purchase these girls don't seem to bat an eyelash. I was completely taken aback when a women whom I adore from stalking her blog asked her followers on Twitter about buying an American Girl doll. This woman has the most fantastic blog that shares great ideas for interacting/teaching/playing with your small children. From her blog, "Her impetus for this blog? Sharing with friends and family how she tries to sneak in some sort of learning for her own children in the every day. Nothing super-fancy, expensive, or complicated--just learning through meaningful time and play together." (I am not linking to her blog or naming her because I really do respect her and am just using her as an example, not trying to call her out.) Nothing super-fancy or expensive? Clearly she and I have completely differing views on fancy or expensive- If I spent $30 on clothing for myself, I would consider it fancy, let alone for a molded, plastic Stepford baby.

The next blow came recently when I asked my friend... "Bob" (let's just call him Bob so he won't know I am talking about him) told me he bought his youngest daughter an American Girl for Christmas! Bob!!! Let me paint you a picture... Bob has had the same Birkenstocks for 15 years and has resorted to using duct tape to hold them on his feet. He wears 10 year old corduroys and thrift store t-shirts. So, the concept of him shelling out $100 for anything, let alone something so frivolous for his impressionable little girl, floored me.

I guess that's it. I am alone on this one. My daughters will be off at college some day when the rest of their peers are sitting in their basement playing with the American Girl dolls that their parents forewent a college savings for.

33 comments:

  1. I do not buy most of Joz, and I get a lot of her doll clothes on ebay, but I personally would rather spend money on them then video games, because she uses her imagination far more with her dolls than the other two do with the wii, and dsi's and Ipods, and computers. She plays with them everyday. And hardly ever plays the wii.

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  2. I'm with ya, all the way. It's not a choice between this doll and video games for us, it's a choice between this doll and a doll that costs a tenth the price. Not that there's anything wrong with video games!

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  3. I am with Sarah, I have no issues with my girls playing with dolls at all... I encourage it. Cady loves her baby that my mom got her from Sams Club. And I love the theory of American Girls, they really are sweet and diverse and educational... it's simply a matter of price for me, I can not get past the hundreds of dollars I'd have to spend for my kids to be able to play with them. It just strikes me as bizarre, especially in this economy.

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    1. Get it straight, it's not hundreds. Its ONE hundred. It's not like they're one billion. Why don't you just TRY BUYING YOUR DAUGHTER AN AMERICAN GIRL DOLL and lets see what you comment after that. ._.

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    2. Well, I am a single mother... so, unfortunately, even at one hundred dollars, I can not afford them.

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  4. agreed! I get the catalogs too (and my daughter is only 2). The worst is paying $100 for the homeless doll! Hypocrisy!

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  5. Part of it for me is also the feeling that it's setting up my kids for that "I have to have this because everyone else does." I'd like to avoid that for as long as I can and certainly don't want to feed it!

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  6. I am so glad I have boys!! But I am with you. I don't see the point or the need for a $100 doll - I don't understand why they cost so much. or why their accessories are so expensive. I think dolls are wonderful toys, but why does it have to be the expensive name brand (really like everything else - if it isn't a name brand no one wants it or wants to admit they have it!!)

    again...just happy to have boys right now!!!

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  7. Generally, I reserve my blog responses to those topics having to do with breasts. But I'm turning over a new leaf today and busting out a response to something different....
    Our daughter has 8 of these things. Most purchased by relatives, but regardless. When they first started showing up on her wish lists, I had the same reaction.... "$100 for a freakin' doll?!" And, in the end, if I had it my way, she'd have been encouraged to love the similar doll with half the price tag just as much. BUT....

    Some people spend $1000 on a pair of tickets, because that's what makes them happy. Some spend $100 an a new video game, $hundreds on an instrument, or thousands on a snowmobile. Everybody has something that makes them tick.
    Value is in the eye of the beholder. Jozie gets more hours of pure joy out of $100 worth of dolls than $100 worth of many of the video games we've purchased for the other kids. We've spent hundreds on renting instruments that became more frustration (for us!) than any enjoyment that came from them.
    Nobody cringes more than this guy at a $100 price tag on a doll. But if I spent $100 equally on each of my 3 kids, she would, undoubtedly, get more smiles, more enjoyment, and more hours out of the $100 than the other two out of theirs. AND, she uses her imagination much more.... AND she doesn't blame the stupid controller when the game doesn't go her way...

    AND.... I love breasts.

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  8. that bob guy sounds like a real hypocrite. what a douche!

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  9. I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don’t know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.
    Alena
    http://onlinemariogames.net

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  10. I <3 ag dolls. Even though they cost a hundred fifty kabilian dollars.

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  11. your crazy.i have like....i really don't know how many i have.you can get them for Christmas or something!don't be a hater or a Debby downer!and by the way i'm a kid i was just looking for something to print when i saw this pic!sorry but i don't agree.

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  12. yeah this is me again i counted i have 16 and hundreds of accesories

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  13. These dolls are 100 dollars because they go through a lot they can endure rough play. But that is not what American Gil is about the promote reading they all come with a six piece set of books. They are all set in a different era of history. They allying through hardships (josephinas momma dies,julies parents get a divorce,Marie grace moves away from home to a new unfamiliar city,kits dad has to leave home to find a job and her parents have to take in borders to be able to save their house,molly's father goes off to the war,Rebecca's hopes and dreams of being an actress get crushed,samantha never new her parents because they died when she was a baby,Nellie is a poor girl who has to work in a factory,carolines father get captured in war of 1812.) They show that life isn't rainbows and barbie princesses and fake over the top sexified bratz dolls. They teach life long lessons that girls will treasure forever. They inspire girls and teach that nobody is perfect and that no matter how bad things can get doing the right things will get you the farthest in life in a fun way that gets through to young girls a lesson that I think is worth a MILLION dollars!!!!

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  14. My granny got mine for me. My mom said i would not have one if it wernt for her. I dont buy clothing from the catalog as well! I make them myself! Im 12 and can make a simple dress thats just as good as the catalogs! I am going to start selling them for 5 dollars! I agree the pricing is a ripoff but you can always buy one off ebay for around half the price and some look brand new! :)

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  15. I disagree with you, and here's why-AmericanGirl is expensive, you're 100% right about that. But there are many alternate brands of dolls-
    * Journey Girls

    * Our Generation

    * Madame Alexander

    * KidKraft

    * Carpatina

    * Springfeild

    * Gotz Dolls

    * Alexander Girlz
    Now, some of those might not be the best quality, but they are 18 inch dolls that fit most 18 inch doll clothing.

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  16. They are so expensive because of their quality.

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  17. They are great dolls. I am just a kid, I can save up my own money to buy one no problem. I am going to be getting them a long time and introduce my kids to them, if I have kids. But I love them and I just ordered one a day ago, I cannot wait for her to come!

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  18. i fully disagree with this, AGs are the best

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  19. It wouldn't be so bad if AG dolls were actually made by American's making fair wages. Instead AG dolls are made in China.. most likely in a sweatshop where the employees are treated badly and get paid pennies.

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  20. I think AG is awesome! I have 22 dolls, and who cares if they are $110? I still love them, and they are very pretty.

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  21. Yes, there are many American Girl alternatives out there. Take Journey Girls, Our Generation and Dollie and Me for example. These dolls are HALF the price of your average AG doll, but there is one thing all of them lack. Educational and inspirational stories, these stories are absolutely amazing and teach girls about some very interesting times in American history. They also teach important values and qualities.
    I am only twelve, but American Girl has given me a thirst for historical knowledge, something that no other doll company has done. American Girl has achieved exactly what it was supposed to do; teach a young girl to believe in herself and to be interested in history. Due to the American Girl historical book line, I know most everything that we learn in history already. This is worth 100 dollars to me.

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  22. My three daughters (ages eleven, eight, and three) LOVE their AG Dolls. We have eighteen of them in our home. They're expensive because of their quality.
    So glad that I found your blog, you're a great writer!

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  23. I totalty diss-agree yes the price ranging is high but, it is hight cause its the best quality doll(s) on the market so i think that I yes i am a kid but i found this pic i was totaly frusterated at this so yeah and my mother agrees

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    1. I do understand that their quality is likely very nice... but I am a a single mother and could never afford that price range for a doll. You need not feel frustrated, you are a very lucky little girl to have a family that provides you such nice things.... its just not for my family.

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  24. I think AG dolls are worth the price, they have great quality and teach girls life lessons

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  25. Have you ever HAD an American Girl Doll? If not then you have no idea. They are well worth the price because their quality is beautiful and they teach stories of caring for the world around them (families, friends, ect.). Also they let children have creativity and create their own stories and give each doll their own unique style. I'm not "throwing tomatoes" or anything like that, I'm just pointing out my opinion. I personally think that this is why no-one (except you) has pointed out their price.

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    1. Yes, I am a kid and no, my mom or dad didn't help me with this. I wrote it because I was totally frustrated (like Athena) that you posted this.

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    2. You have no need to be frustrated... It's simply a choice for me and my family. We choose to live simply and also simply can not afford to pay $120 for a doll. You are a very lucky child that your family can. Enjoy them.

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  26. Hi I'm from Australia and I have two dolls you are really lucky that you don't have to pay like $50 more dollars to get shipped to sydeny. But they the best toy ever they make kids well girls more creative. I know when I got mine i spot playing on my iPad and

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