Friday, September 25, 2009

Signs that the apocalypse is upon us

Anyone reading this blog who knows me IRL, as we say on the internet -- "in real life" for those of you who still don't know what LOL and BRB mean, and if you don't, IDK what's wrong with you -- knows how I feel about those American Girl dolls.

You know those dolls? Those eighteen-inch, pop-eyed vinyl creatures that sell for $95 each?

Yeah. Those dolls.

The American Girl website describes itself like this on the Google directory: "American Girl is a premiere lifestyle brand that offers a variety of age-appropriate, high-quality dolls, books, clothing, and accessories." Is it just me, or does that make a little vomit come up in your mouth? A premiere lifestyle brand? What does that even mean? I have my suspicions, the first and foremost of them being that any purveyor of pop-eyed dollies that sells them for $95 each and then describes itself as a "premiere lifestyle brand" is catering to an elitist snobbery that can sometimes awaken in people's hearts over their children: "Observe me and how I love my children more than you love yours! Because my child has a $1200 stroller/an exclusive prep school/a toy box stuffed with $95 dolls."

Once upon a time at a luncheon, a mother said to me (obviously not knowing me very well), "I just think the only way you can have a truly quality upbringing for your child is to avoid all cheap toys and go for those ones that are exceptional. And if those toys are the ones that are the most expensive..." She broke off here to emit a tinkling little laugh. "Well, we all know what's appropriate."

I hesitated, torn between the desire to lie and tell her that Meelyn and Aisling's favorite toy was a gun I bought from a guy working out of the back of a van who promised me that the piece was "clean" and my eagerness for this mother to perceive me as APPROPRIATE, even as I sat there with my elbows on the table, cleaning my teeth with a fish fork.

Anyway, back to the dolls.

When the girls were small, I told them quite frankly that those American Girl dolls were the most hideous things I'd ever seen, I mean, check out the EYES on those things and do you really want that staring at you across the room at night? , and if they wanted one, they were going to have to apply to Poppy and Nanny because it goes against everything Mommy believes about the simplicity of childhood to spend $95 on a doll. Dolls who have pajamas that cost $24. I don't think I've ever spent $24 on pajamas for myself, let alone for a doll. I am obviously not appropriate, quality or exceptional in any way.

But neither is the American Girl, LLC. Do you know what those rascals have done now? Let me tell you: They have created a homeless American Girl doll. Yes. Homeless. You can read about this doll, Gwen Thompson, here, on her wiki at the American Girl website, but for those of you who don't want to click over, I'll tell you that Gwen's dad deserted the family and then her mother lost her job, necessitating a move into the family car.

Gwen, complete with her cheerful storybook that's sure to gladden the hearts of all the little mommies who read it, sells for $95. Ninety-five dollars for a plastic doll, when there are so many real-life American families out there who could use that money to buy a week's worth of groceries to keep their souls connected to their bodies, families who are living in the new tent cities that are springing up around the nation as the recession grinds down on us all.

Ain't that a kick in the shorts? I'm pleased to say that the main reports are that the sales for this doll are very slow.


Kayte said...

There are advantages to having boys...never once have they asked for a $95 doll and accompanying clothing, etc. SO I CAN'T WAIT TO HAVE GRANDBABY GIRLS so I can buy a doll...some kind of doll with some kind of little clothes and shoes, etc. Legoes and Hot Wheels just take you so far....

Amy said...

American Girl dolls are outrageously expensive. Annie's came from her grandparents. I don't think they are ugly, though. And I do like the stories that are written about the characters. The movies are also pretty well done. The one about the homeless girl isn't really about the homeless girl primarily, but about another little girl dealing with bullying. It's a shame the Gwen dolls aren't selling well because to me that's a sign that people don't want to acknowledge the ugly truths about society. It would actually be a better idea, I think, if the proceeds (or a reasonable portion of them) from the sale of the Gwen doll would go to fund homeless programs.