American girl


For several blocks we had seen little girls clutching their newly-attired American Girls. Occupying four floors of prime New York real estate, this is a big money spinner. These dolls are $100 a pop and that’s just the start.

Girls seem to choose dolls that are just like them. All the advertising matches middle class blondes with blonde dolls; wealthy red heads with ginger dolls; oriental-looking girls with Chinese dolls and African American rich girls with black dolls. I didn’t see any Native American dolls, but maybe demand is just too low. Tilly had quickly picked out a doll that looked something like her (we didn’t buy it), while Nancy had decided that none of them were really good-looking enough for her.

It wasn’t just the dolls and their owners who looked alike. The mothers of these girls were merely slightly older looking versions. The smell of stale hairspray permeated throughout the store and pearl necklaces and pretty cardigans abounded. Maybe one of their daughters could marry someone from Wall St or an attorney one day?

$100 was just the start. Accessories was where they made the money. Clothing of all preppie styles; multiple different types of glasses; pets; braces (which look like something Hannibal Lecter would sport); ear piercing; books; bubble bathtub. Nothing had been left out and each purchase had plenty of margin.

You can “personalise her spirit” by getting her a musical instrument. No rock guitars for these chicks. Clarinets, cellos and flutes are their thing. Boules and tennis are their sporting paraphernalia of choice.

You can twin your doll by wearing the same outfit. You may have paid three times the going rate for your doll’s plaid dress with accompanying knit beret and layering tee, but think how much you could pay for this outfit to wear yourself.

You could get your American Girl a friend. Maybe a doll with darker hair or maybe an English Refugee from WW2?

We went to the hair salon. These American Girls copied their owner’s mothers by arranging a spa treatment for their doll. For only $12 our doll could have her hair brushed (sorry, have a deluxe spa treatment – see photo).

If your doll is mauled by the dog, you can send it to the dolls’ hospital. It comes home to you in a hospital gown with an ID bracelet and a certificate of good health.

I’d love to say I made some of this up, but sometimes real things are too difficult to parody. Why not bring these girls into the 21st century was my thinking:

How about a nice butterfly tattoo on the lower back? The dolls hospital could then offer a tattoo removal service.

What’s wrong with nose and belly button piercings?

Or an unsuitable boyfriend in biker gear? You could send your doll to a alternative type of clinic, returning with a different form of certificate.


7 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Sarah on April 11, 2011 at 12:36 am

    Glad you didn’t buy one. On more important issues – did you see the Gulls score? Only 5 games to go….


  2. Posted by Lisa on April 11, 2011 at 3:10 pm

    Must be an American thing. We loved our visit to the store in Chicago for Megan’s 8th birthday. Both girls have read all the books and know something about the times the historical dolls lived in. Now, Emily has packed her dolls away. Megan is still holding onto them in her room, but I see the day coming when they will get packed away too. I imagine I’ll see them all again when I am a grandmother!


    • Hi Lisa – As I was writing this blog, I knew you wouldn’t like it!

      I hated it. In my view, just a marketing technique to get people to part with their money!

      You’ve still got a few years left until you are a grandmother.



  3. Posted by Melville Bishop on April 12, 2011 at 10:06 pm

    Of course horse riding is sooo m uch cheaper!


  4. […] have, it may do you well to visit your local thrift stores. They could stock anything from used American Girl clothing and accessories to American Girl books. You never know your luck; you may even come across […]


  5. […] Accessories can also be fuel for creative play. A horse or a shaved ice stand is an example that expands the play options. […]


  6. Posted by Weiniadrienia on August 29, 2011 at 6:44 pm

    Hey, your article is very practical to me. I shall keep a close eye on your website. Please do update.


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