Sardonic Sistah Says

Observations… Ruminations… Ponderances… & Rants from Another Perspective

A Chinese American Girl Doll

with 2 comments

I have mixed feelings about the American Girl line of books and dolls.

On one hand I feel good about them.  The dolls accompany books that place a young girl (about 8-12) in historical settings.  The stories are historically accurate and are written by some of the best children’s writers in the business.

On the other hand is the mass consumption you can get swept into.  The dolls themselves are not a joke with a $92 dollar price tag.  And then if you want to give your daughter the complete experience of the story there are accessories.  Not only are there clothes but there are pots, pans, bedroom suites, athletic apparel –I could go on for days.  My daughter is now 17 and recently while we were looking at ice cream makers brought up the fact that I never bought one for her doll Addy.

“It was a working ice cream maker, Mom.  We could have been making home made ice cream long before this if you had just bought it for me.”

The maker made one scoop of ice cream at over 50 dollars so I passed.  A few of the characters in different the series may have been living under meager means but buying the accoutrements they may have used during certain time periods are priced for modern day collectors.

Still, I am excited that a new set of American Girl books will be issued this fall set in the 70’s.    The stories are about Julie and her Chinese American friend, Ivy and will focus on some of the social issues that were prevalent during that time period (mostly I remember them from TV sitcoms) like divorce, immigration, and working mothers. 

I am glad that they finally have an Asian American doll that will be a prominent character in the historical stories (a few years ago they had a “Girl of the Year Doll” that was half Asian and half white but those stories were modern) but I wish that the doll was the main character instead of the sidekick.   I think the market could support an Asian girl as the main character.  There are lots of stories that could be told from an Asian perspective: maybe a Japanese girl whose parents were in the American internment camps during WWII, a Korean girl living in the 60s or 70s who was adopted by a white family and she lives in an all white town, or a Chinese girl whose awaiting the arrival of a relative from Angel Island.  And it’s not like there haven’t been American Girls dolls of color before.  As I mentioned before my daughter has the African American doll Addy doll whose stories are set during slavery.  Then there is the Native American doll Kaya who lives in Northwest America in 1760 and the Latina Josefina’s stories take place in the early days of New Mexico.   There are still other time periods that the franchise hasn’t  tackled yet so there is room for an Asian American dolls (or another African American doll -in the 60s maybe?)

With my daughter getting in gear for her senior year she has long left her doll years behind.  Her two American girl dolls still sit near her bed, quietly observing her stressing over college applications and SAT scores.   One day in the future she may give the dolls to a daughter of her own and perhaps then there may be an American girl doll of the 90s that encapsulates the experience of computers, cell phones and high priced dolls that take you through history. 

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Written by rentec

26 August, 2007 at 2:15 pm

Posted in books, parenting

2 Responses

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  1. I really like this blog. Do you mind if I add it to my blog roll?

    the diva

    the diva

    29 August, 2007 at 12:57 pm

  2. Yes, please do!

    rentec

    29 August, 2007 at 9:52 pm


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