|©Copyright 2009-2010 Out Of The Blue.
By MICHELLE McALLISTER
Published: November 25, 2010
My doll is more depressed than your doll!
Out Of The Blue ootb646.com
Somehow last year, we ended up on the American Girl mailing list. Since that first catalog made its
appearance in our mailbox, my daughter has been salivating over the pages, much like I might over a
handbag catalog. She’s making her list, since Christmas is near and after looking at the price tag on
these dolls, she’s very fortunate her birthday is just a mere 5 days after Christmas.
After checking out the catalog, I’m beginning to think the American Girl doll designers are a little
depressed and in need of some Prozac laced cappuccinos. Whatever happened to fun loving toys that
are supposed to make children happy? These plastic dolls are not only overpriced, but come with
stories that would bring a young girl to tears.
First there’s Julie, a cute 70’s blonde hippie girl hailing from San Francisco. Her favorite dessert is
chocolate fondue and her best friend is Ivy Ling. All sounds happy enough, until you get to the “what
changes her life” part – her parent’s divorce and she’s forced to move to a new school! Yet she’s
posed with a gap-tooth smile. Shouldn’t she be crying? Maybe her optional $28 tape recorder and
record player accessories that actually plays music or the optional $20 pet bunny makes her feel
better. They just make me want to cry more.
Next we have Molly, who’s living during World War II. And it’s not fun enough that poor Molly has to
endure the hardships associated with world war, her dad is sent off to fight in that war. She grows
Victory Gardens and helps out with Red Cross fundraisers. She doesn’t have any happy-go-lucky
accessories to make her feel better unless you count the locket, beret, purse, and hankie for an
additional $24. She does have a friend for an additional $95, Emily, who escaped war-torn London to
come stay with Molly’s family. If Molly were around today, at least she’d have a fun military kid summer
camp and possibly get to Skype with her dad.
If those two little dolls’ stories didn’t tug at your heartstrings, then there’s Kit. She’s described as “a
bright light in the dark days of the Great Depression.” That’s a nice little burden to put on a child. The
catalog goes on to tell us that many people in Kit’s day couldn’t even afford to buy food or pay their rent
and that her dad’s loss of employment is a life changer for her. The bright side is she wakes up each
day with a “sunny outlook” in a bed that you can purchase for an additional $80. But then she gets a
slap in the face when the dad of her best friend, Ruthie, has to come play bill collector to Kit’s family.
Supposedly Ruthie helps protect her friend’s pride somehow, but you have to pay an additional $6.95
for the book that lays that story out.
I don’t know about you but if I’m laying out a hundred bucks on a plastic doll, and an additional $100 on
accessories then I want a happy story, damn it! I want my doll to be the popular girl in school who
makes the cheer squad and dates the big man on campus and who is so intelligent she gets a full ride
scholarship to an Ivy League college. And I’m not alone, after reading about the public backlash
American Girl faced last year when they released homeless doll, Gwen, and her story of how her dad
left her and she had to live in a car with him mom. Needless to say, they don’t sell that “2009 Limited
Edition” beauty anymore.
All in all, American Girl has left me feeling like I need a Prozac cappuccino or five, myself. My daughter
just gave me her list the other night. She’s picked broken family Julie with an additional Calico dress,
heart dress, cozy plaid outfit, honey puppy PJ’s, and the trundle bed complete with bedding (wonder
what the thread count on those sheets are) for a whopping grand total of $288. And just try reasoning
with a 9 year old girl about how many other things she could have for that amount of money or how sad
she’ll be when she leaves it laying on the floor and Julie becomes our dog’s new $300 chew toy.
One of us will be crying at the end of December…and it won’t be the dog.
(and moms will be depressed when they see the price tag)