American Girl dolls and ... the Predator
My devastatingly handsome husband took me to lunch today at our favorite mom-and-pop restaurant downtown. We’re regulars and tend to eat there pretty much every Friday afternoon, but we haven’t been able to take a lunch break together in a few weeks because of job training, traveling, ect. There’s something so wonderful and familiar about sitting in a cozy booth with my hubby and eating a warm bowl of yummy soup—I can’t even describe it. I hope it’s still like that when we’re old and gray and have to eat soup not because we want to, but because it’s all our dentures can handle.
While we were eating our lunch I told him about a status one of his relatives posted on Facebook earlier that day about American Girl dolls. Are you familiar with these? They were a big deal when I was a kid, and I’ll never ever forget the Christmas morning that I tore wrapping paper off of the coveted long, white box and saw my Samantha doll peeking out at me with her honey brown eyes.
These dolls swung into huge popularity right around the time that I received one from my parents, and at that time there were only a handful of girls in the doll collection. Each girl came from a different time period and had corresponding books that told her life story.
Samantha Parking’s books took place in 1904 and she had a very well-to-do, Victorian style. I'm pretty sure her only shenanigans was the time she tore her stockings on the day of a big country club party, but I didn’t care about any of that. She had brown hair and brown eyes and looked just like me.
My sister and I eagerly tore through the American Girl catalogs with the same enthusiasm and relish that I exercise with my Victoria’s Secret catalogs as an adult. After only a few hours in our house, the American Girl catalog would become a crinkled mess full of dog-eared pages and black Sharpie cirlces on all of the clothing and accessories we desired to have for our dolls.
In short, American Girl doll paraphernalia was like crack to an 8 year-old.
So I was tickled to death when I saw that Clayton’s cousin, Nancy, was starting to consider the idea of getting dolls for her daughters. However, Nancy was asking for suggestions of which particular doll would best suit her girls in terms of appearance. Nancy’s daughters are two of the most beautiful Chinese girls you have ever seen in your entire life, and I am shocked that American Girl only offers one doll that has almond shaped eyes.
I dated myself like 10 years by telling Clayton that “back in my day” there were only 3 dolls and it took forever for them to introduce an African American girl in the collection. They finally brought Addy into the world of American Girl as a slave girl living in the 1800’s. I know, right? My doll was gallivanting on Park Avenue and poor Addy was trying to escape a plantation.
American Girl has done a fabulous job reinventing the dolls, and My American Girl now offers the opportunity to customize dolls with a variety of choices for skin color, hair type, and facial features to match its owner's. I totally love that you create a doll that looks just like you. In fact, I wish that option would have been available when I got my doll because then I could have her made with crappy hair, a big nose, and gross feet. But then I probably wouldn’t have played with her because she sounds ugly.
Regardless, with all of the progress that American Girl has made to accommodate every type of girl out there, it’s kind of disheartening that some of the “minority” dolls are still limited in their appearance and have less options than the Caucasian ones.
Anyway, I told Clayton all of this over soup and salad and he pretended to know what was I was talking about.
“Surely you had some kind of toy catalog that was delivered to your house when you were a kid,” I said matter-of-factly around a mouthful of lettuce.
“We did,” he replied. “We used to get an Eastbay catalog that had nothing but sports equipment in it, and I used to look at that thing cover to cover.”
“See? Then you can totally relate to what I’m talking about. Ashley and I used to fight over who got to look at the American Girl magazine first,” I said before pausing to dunk a cracker in my tomato bisque. “I was always jealous that Ashley ended up getting a bed for her doll. I never got any furniture for Samantha. I was too into her fashion to care if she had a functional place to sleep at night.”
|So NOT the same thing.|
“Well, I never had a DOLL growing up, Courtney,” Clayton interjected. “But I did have action figures and they had some pretty sweet accessory-type things.”
“That’s not the same thing. Plastic weapons don’t count.”
“Um, excuse me,” Clayton replied defensively, “but I had an action figure of the Predator and he came with a removable mask. And my Terminator? You could totally change his sunglasses.”
“I can’t even begin to tell you how much that is not the same thing.”
“How is that not the same thing?” he asked, frustrated.
“Because,” I said, climbing up on my soap box, “unless you can buy the Predator a wardrobe full of cute bell bottom jeans and put a teeny tiny issue of Tiger Beat magazine in his hand, it most certainly is NOT the same thing.”
“Well, that’s just stupid, Courtney. The Predator didn't wear pants.”
I can’t wait to see what we argue about when we’re old.
I hope you have a good weekend! I’m hitting up 3 different Christmas parties. Hopefully you guys are doing something equally festive and fun!