Girls and Dolls

American Girl Dolls

My cousin-in-law recently posted on her reluctance to buy her daughter a Monster High doll.  I can understand her concern – the messages that these dolls (and their little webisodes) send to young girls are questionable…  Just the other day I read an article about What your American Girl doll says about the rest of your life and I was reminded of my own childhood.  I skimmed the article, reading about each of the dolls until I got to the final option and had my “Aha!” moment:

No American Girl Doll
Your parents wouldn’t buy you an American Girl doll because $80 is a ridiculous price to pay for a toy, which would then inevitably lead to the purchase of multiple accessories ranging from the overpriced ($18 for “Winter Accessories,” consisting of tiny doll mittens and a hat), to the exorbitant ($56 for an “Ice Cream Set,” consisting of tiny plastic scoops of ice cream), to the highway robbery ($349 for a “doll’s chest,” a.k.a. tiny wooden box).

You grew up to be financially independent, level-headed, unspoiled, and still just a little bit resentful whenever you walk by American Girl Place.

Yep.  That pretty much sums it up.  It was especially cruel since I had all the Kirsten books (courtesy of my Grandma) and an annual subscription to the magazine for years, but alas, no doll. My siblings and parents told me repeatedly how very spoiled I was growing up…  I’d just like to take this moment to point out that all of my nieces have genuine American Girl dolls (or bitty babies and aren’t those nearly the same things?).  So there.  I had to play with Barbies and DIY paper dolls.  I would also like to take this moment to list the other items that I never got to have growing up but always wanted: a nintendo or a sega, and roller blades.  Although I did have the Barbie BMW, Barbie hot dog stand, Barbie ice cream maker, and two Barbie pools.  So maybe I was a little bit spoiled…

I do however remember the birthday where I received a fishing pole, and another where I received trees (which I must say is a totally cool present, 1 of my 3 trees is still alive back in MN, and it is probably something I genuinely wanted as a child).  Yes, my parents were (and still are) that awesome.

What are the toys that you really wanted growing up but your parents would never buy for you?  Do you think the toys you did or didn’t have growing up says much about your now, or more about your parents?


8 thoughts on “Girls and Dolls

  1. My oldest niece bought her own American Girl doll a few years ago because her parents wouldn’t buy one. So she asked for money for birthdays/Christmas until she had enough to buy the doll. I was reluctant to give her money since I think the whole expensive doll concept is insane. When she was 12, she really wanted to eat at the American Girl cafe at the Mall of America. So I treated her for her birthday. Even their food was overpriced. And the food was rather bland. Not worth the exorbitant prices. Now my other niece is following in her footsteps. For her upcoming 9th birthday, she is asking for money so she can buy her own American Girl doll. Don’t they understand that when they are 16, they are going to realize what a waste of money that was?? I think it’s great that my sister and her husband aren’t outright buying the dolls for their daughters. But I kind of think they should teach them the value of the dollar and teach them how some things just aren’t worth the price.

    • It’s great that they are saving up to purchase the dolls themselves. Hopefully they will learn to save and think about whether or not something really is worth the money (or years later seems like a big waste!). 😀

  2. For the record, I believe that every child on the planet (unless they are an only child) believes that their siblings are spoiled but that they, themselves, are not. 🙂 Haha!!

    I have mixed feelings about American Girl dolls. Heck yes they are ridiculously expensive—I believe because they were originally made in the US (of course prices were not reduced when production moved to China). But they teach kids about history, culture, friendship, perseverance, citizenship, inclusivity—which is positive.

    We did buy our daughter a doll. However, she had to wait about 2 years to get it and it was a “big deal” gift on her seventh birthday. She’s learning to save her allowance and wait to have enough money to buy accessories she wants, so she’s learning about money (she also gives part of her allowance to charity and donates a portion to her savings account). At the store in Minnesota, the cashier was quite impressed to see my 8-year-old count out her $1 bills and that she needed to buy her latest purchase, a dog carrier for her doll’s pet (that she earlier bought with her own money). It took her weeks to save up enough.

    Like so many issues with parenting, I think that the American Doll “issue” is one of balance. My kids are never going to have five dolls, the car, wardrobe, horses, furniture sets etc. Yes, they’ll likely each get a doll at some point. But hopefully we’ll keep the emphasis on the positive lessons, not on “buy more” “buy more” “buy more.”

  3. I find it ironic that the American Girl dolls are made in China now! I think you are doing a great job with the balance though. : D LOL, I didn’t even consider the option of having more than one doll (although now that you mention it I’m sure there are kids out there with more than one!). I imagine it’s the children’s version of status symbols – having at least one doll means you are cool.

  4. I’m going to start out by saying that our parents got most of their toys/clothes second hand from relatives or garage sales (we honestly had no clue/didn’t care that they weren’t new). We didn’t get an allowance, but were paid to do our chores and we all babysat and did the paper route to earn money for ourselves. While my parents didn’t exactly teach us about how to manage our finances, they taught us that we had to work for our money. I remember in teen years saving up money to buy a CD player, and Doc Martins, to name a few things (ridiculously expensive things) that I was convinced I needed, but my parents refused to pay for. I now see why, but at the time I thought they were trying to ruin my life. 😛

    I too, remember feeling like my parents were cruel when I saw all the neat things that some of my friends and cousins had (ninentos, trampolines, or A POOL) but in reality we had so much.

    However, my mom has a soft spot for toys, especially dolls! My sisters and I all had American girl dolls. We knew the dolls were special items, and treated them so. They didn’t get tossed naked into a bin like the barbies. Most of the accessories or outfits were given to us by our grandparents, or we made our own. (We didn’t actually have many of the accessories, because they were quite expensive, and regular doll toys worked just as well.) But, more importantly we ALL read every. single. book. Renee is spot on about all the positive things that they teach girls, and they do it in a fun way.

    The dolls, for us, inspired so much fun imagination and creativity. And the fact that the stories were about young girls made them all the more relevant and inspiring.

    Yes. The price tag is ridiculous. Way too expensive for “just a doll” but I don’t think one can automatically say that your kid will be/are spoiled, for owning one. In my opinion, American Girls have way more to offer than a lot of other dolls, so maybe they are worth the price? I personally also loved playing with Barbies (can you say never-ending soap opera?) and also cut out paper dolls — I totally DIY’d those paper dolls too, Becks!

    • So which doll did YOU have? Or did you have one of the custom dolls?

      I also wasn’t allowed a trampoline – apparently they are dangerous or something. ; )

      • I also wasn’t allowed a trampoline….I guess our parents all loved us enough and didn’t want to risk us dying in an accident. 🙂

      • What, no one ever got hurt on a trampoline!!! I had Kirsten.

        Also, I wanted to add, that my mom always wanted a Chatty Cathy doll as a child. They were quite expensive at the time, and as a farm family with 9 kids, there’s no way she was ever getting that doll. Then, my dad found that they re-issued the doll and bought it for her for her birthday several years ago.

        All I’m saying, is it’s never too late Becca 🙂

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