Harper in action.

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Tuesday, July 14, 2009

American Girl Dolls: Suck It Xavier Roberts!

Today is McCall's birthday (happy birthday, baby!) so we went to the Grove/Farmer's Market to do a bit of shopping and get some things to prepare a birthday fondue dinner at home. While we were there we decided to finally give in to the tractor beam-like pull of the American Doll Store.



I really didn't want to go in, and we don't have any intention of actually purchasing one of these things for Harper (at least I don't THINK we do). But we walk past it all the time and people fly from all over just to go to this store. Not going kind of felt like living in New York City and not visiting the Statue of Liberty. It just felt unpatriotic. Like by not going we were letting the terrorists win.

So in we go and the first thing you think is, my goodness this is a lot of dolls. I mean when I was a kid there was never any GI Joe store, no Transformers store, no Masters of the Universe store, and no Star Wars store! So to walk in and see an entire store dedicated to only this single brand of doll is a bit overwhelming. And the first floor isn't even where it's at. That's right. The store is two levels and the second floor is about twice as big as the first. It's like Harrods for dolls.

But let's get down to the real nitty gritty. American Girl Dolls are ridiculously expensive dolls for which you purchase ridiculously expensive accessories. Want a doll? A base model is $95. Packages go for up to $118.

It all seemed a bit silly to me but the funniest thing was the historical dolls. Go upstairs and you're treated to a sort of museum of American history. With dolls!

Meet Felicity, a young girl in 1774 who believes in colonial freedom. Wow, these are forward thinking dolls. Meet Amy, she fights for gay marriage. Yeah Amy!

Then we come to the ethnic dolls. You have to have minority themed dolls, right? Otherwise your company might seem racist. So of course American Girl features Addy, the black doll who...wait for it...escapes from slavery!

I was also very happy to find Kaya, the Native American doll. You know for all those little girls from the reservations I see at the Grove all the time. Want Kaya's tepee? A steal at $70.

Are you an Asian-American girl looking for an American Girl doll to reflect your culture and experience? We've got Ivy Ling for you. The Chinese doll. But I'm Korean, you say. Up yours! But I'm Japanese, you say. Shove it! But I'm... Look we have one doll to cover an entire hemisphere so take the NorCal, '70s Chinese girl or go find Laotian Barbie. We dare you.

Once you select your doll, you can have a photo session with it to remind you that you bought a doll. I can't even take the time to go into the cafe with $20 tea servings and little high chairs for the dolls. Or the salon where your American Girl doll can have her hair did (if you don't mind the two hour wait). Or even the infirmary where employees wear doctor's jackets and stethoscopes (for listening to what, exactly?) and your doll can have that leg the dog gnawed off replaced.

Amazing? Yes. Excessive? Absolutely. Delightfully tacky yet offensive given the current state of the economy? Probably. But I see a lot of red shopping bags wandering around the Grove so somebody somewhere is making a boatload, and the store looked like it must employ at least 100 people so maybe it's not all bad.

However, I do wonder about the little girls who have these dolls, but maybe even more I wonder about the little girls who don't. Are American Dolls the status marker that Cabbage Patch dolls were when I was their age? I can't imagine otherwise. And it makes me sad that Harper Jo may one day be excluded because she doesn't have one. And it makes me sad to think that I may one day buy her one so she won't be.

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Was playing: The Doors - Light My Fire
via FoxyTunes

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Now playing: LTJ Bukem - Inner Guidance
via FoxyTunes

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Now playing: LTJ Bukem - Inner Guidance
via FoxyTunes

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