Sunday, June 29, 2008

Girls and dolls


The summer I turned ten, after begging my parents for two years, they ordered me an American Girl Doll for my birthday. I waited what seemed like forever for UPS to bring Samantha and when she arrived I gleefully ripped the box open to unveil my perfect doll. She smelled sweet and her hair hung in loose curls. I dressed her up, tucked her into bed at night, and carried her everywhere. I also read the books, which discussed historically relevant happenings. In the end I collected four of these dolls, but I never loved or played with the subsequent three as much as I did the first one.

Fourteen years later, we are visiting a large Georgia mall and I spot the American Girl Boutique and Bistro. I had no intention of buying anything (I am too old, Suzi is too young) but I had to take a look. My disappointment surprised me. There was nothing they didn't have, but I had to ask myself: Do girls need all that? Will it cripple a child's imagination if, instead of letting her build a doll treehouse with her father, we buy her one for $250? Is it necessary for a girl to have not only Victorian era Samantha, but her friend Nellie as well? When I started collecting these, there were five historical dolls. Now I've lost count!

I will definitely be buying one or two of these dolls for Suzi when she gets older. Why? They let a ten-year-old girl be a ten-year-old girl. They are not curvaceous, don't wear any makeup, and encourage reading and learning rather than teaching girls how to attract boys. But I don't know about the boutique. As we approached it I thought oh, I can't wait to bring Suzi here and buy her a doll! On our way out I was contemplating whether I'd ever take her there. Is it good for a child to go into a shop and leave ten minutes later with a doll? Wasn't half the fun waiting for the doll to arrive in the mail? When we were in the shop I saw several mother-daughter pairs and wondered, are these the same moms who are taking their "tweens" for a $300 spa day? Because that is so not me!

What do you think?


Jules said...

I don't know anything about American Dolls but I do think Jordan looks great sporting the ergo!

Emily said...

Man, I ALWAYS wanted one of those dolls (either Samantha or Felicity, because Felicity came with Spirit the horse) but my mom would never buy me one because they were too expensive :0(

I will have to check out the boutique!

Vicky said...

I would be all for going to get a pedicure and maybe manicure with my 10 year old girl.....we are talking at most $40-45.00 for the two services and that is with all the bells and whistles and a $5.00 tip! spend $300.00 on a day at the spa???? Then again...I can't see spending more than $40-45.00 on a doll either. (and that better include all the bells and whistles) LOL

Cheryl Lage said...

I'm with you! Let little girls be little girls! Even though my daughter is only six, I've made it clear that to my thinking "Bratz" are not only wrong in name, but in example!

Sarah's cousins LOVE their American's nice to know there's an alternative!

Love your blog! Thanks for stopping by mine...adding you to my must-read list!

Jenny said...

Vicky, I can see taking a young girl for a mani/pedi if it's a special day. But highlights, facials and massages? That's where I draw the line.

As for the doll, I can definitely see your point! They cost $82 when we bought mine. Really expensive--but then again, I never had a Super Nintendo or any expensive gaming equipment. I feel it was a good trade-off considering the dolls got me out from in front of the TV and encouraged me to read and use my imagination.

Beth said...

I never realized they had a whole store for those dolls! A friend of my cousin had like 4 or 5 of them when we were growing up and I always wanted one...but instead I just got the catalog in the mail and dreamed :-)

I LOVE your purple sling! (from what I can tell on your new picture) My ring sling is a grey and black one...not the prettiest but it does the job!

We ended up not going to freedom fest but we did go to see the fireworks...they were really good! Hope you guys had a good time in Atlanta!

Kelly said...

I use to get the American Girl magazine in the mail when I was younger. I loved it. I always wanted one of those dolls, but we never had the money. They are going to start having them on QVC!