This is so totally not a big deal

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

and I know it but it is bugging me.

Yesterday, American Girl sent out an email that they were going to discontinue Kirsten Larson. She happens to by my first American Girl doll. That made me really sad- like they were taking part of my childhood away.

For those of you who are unfamiliar- American Girl used to be about educating girls about life (for tween girls especially) in various historical time periods- often at least touching on the social and political topics of the time. They had historical items as well as clothes and stories about their lives and experiences that girls of today could relate too- such as birthdays, first days of school, holidays etc. Which was an awesome jumping off point to interest girls in history and allow for a lot of discussion.

Enter Mattel. Mattel bought out this company and it no longer seemed focused on the historical element- but on commercialization and the self instituted dichotomy between the have and have nots of society (lets face it- these dolls are NOT cheap)- there of course have been a few scandals now that a global brand is in the mix- but have marketed well. The company has achieved a status of "Tiffany for Tweens".

So why the upset?

I personally have really great memories of reading Kirsten's books in bed with my mom and then being so intrigued that I independently researched immigration in the 1850s. Of course I also have pretty awesome memories of playing the girls adventures with my friends and spending HOURS dressing, undressing, and narrating stories.

The holiday when I received Kirsten stands out in my memory as one of the best in my life. This of course was in the pre-status symbol days of American Girl (then Pleasant Company). I loved that doll and brushed her hair over the years until she was darn near bald- thankfully you could send them in to a hospital to get a new head.....

Of course I am tempted to run out and buy the darn doll for my 5 year old Princess- who may or may not already have 2 American Girl Dolls- maybe I would not give it to her- but save it until she can understand it a bit better. The biggest part I am struggling with is- it would not be about the historical stuff for her- she may never appreciate that- as the focus has totally shifted and I wish I could share that with her.


Atwood-Family of 4 said...

If they discontinued Molly I would totally feel the same way. I LOVED her and always wanted a doll of her, but alas my parents were way too practical and frugal for a poor kids in elementary school

Nicole said...

That is really sad. (I'm a friend of April's btw.) I'm the proud owner of Felicity & I remember having the same feelings of receiving the doll & wanting to know about her life...reading the books with Mom...all that. I think that especially because you are aware of the experience & feelings you had that you will make it more of the same experience for your daughter. Eventually it might become a "status symbol" but it's YOU that would make the doll more of a learning experience/gateway to learning about Kirsten & her period of time. Good luck!

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