Little girls and doll snobishness

So awhile back, Cindy of Mom on a Wire wrote about American Girl dolls and how she didn’t really care for them, or, more accurately, the price. ($125 for the doll, a book and accessories)


Which is why Tootie has two Our Generation dolls ($31 for the doll, book and accessories)

One, Eva, came from her Nana. I think the other one may have too, but I can’t remember for sure.

Anyway, here’s Eva:

Cute, isn’t she? And she has freckles, just like Tootie.

And here we have McKenna from American Girl:

Cute, sure, but also pricey.

Now don’t get me wrong — I’m a big fan of the American Girl books. Tootie loves them, and has read and re-read dozens of those books. Her fave series is Julie from the ’70s. As a child of that decade, I totally approve!

So yesterday she took her other Our Generation doll to summer care. She’s blonde, but I can’t remember her name at the moment.

Another girl, however, brought an American Girl doll, purchased at the store in Dallas.

You can guess what happened. The girls belittled Tootie’s doll, telling her it was fake and not as good as the American Girl version.

She came home in tears, unable to see or understand the difference.

Last night, she decked out her other doll, Eva, with plans to take Eva and her horse, Penny, to the daycare.

Tootie, you see, thinks she’s going to convince those bratty little girls that Eva is just as good — if not better — than the AG dolls.

And she is, really. She was given to Tootie by her Nana, who told her at the time that she chose Eva because of the resemblance to Tootie. The accompanying book was a mystery, and Tootie loves a good suspense tale.

Here’s the thing: The AG books are about brave and enterprising girls from different periods of history.

But the dolls? They’re only good for visits to the American Girl store beauty shop and an afternoon tea. In no way do they resemble or act like their literary counterparts.

Which is part of the reason I don’t like them. They’ve overshadowed the stories of girls who accomplished wonderful things — without worrying about their hair or what to wear to tea.

There’s also the irony of the price tag. The books feature girls who don’t necessarily have a lot of money. And they aren’t snobs.

So those $125 dolls?

Are. Not. Reflective. Of. The. Girls. They. Allegedly. Represent.


9 thoughts on “Little girls and doll snobishness

  1. I’m not going to say I don’t like the dolls – I am going to say I don’t like the price. Bear has Hearts for Hearts Girls and is perfectly fine with them. I see no reason to pay the price of an American Girl doll. I love the American Girl books, but $125 for a dang doll. NO WAY!!!!!!!

    Shame on those girls for making fun of Tootie’s doll. I know kids can be mean to each other but I try to teach my child to “THINK BEFORE YOU SPEAK”

    I am proud of Tootie for bringing another one to show them that hers is just as good. You go Tootie!!!!!


  2. I have to respectfully disagree with your comment that the dolls are “only good for visits to the American Girl store beauty shop and an afternoon tea. In no way do they resemble or act like their literary counterparts.” How dolls “act like” anything is beyond me – they are inanimate objects. And to say they don’t resemble their literary counterparts also confuses me – they wear the clothes and use accessories and furniture intended to mimic girls from the eras they are designed to come.

    Of course they are expensive – first of all, they are good quality, and second, they were the first of their kind, so inexpensive knock-offs are inevitably going to follow. I was given my first American Girl doll at age 7 (Samantha, of course), and when I bought Felicity at age 9, she was my very first purchase with my own hard-earned money (not sure where I earned it, but this was, nonetheless, the case). The dolls and their clothes, furniture, and accessories remain in excellent shape 20 years later, and I intend to save them for my own next generation.


    1. They are inanimate objects — until they are placed in a little girl’s hands, at which point imagination brings them to life.

      My problem is that when you go to the stores, it’s all about the frivolous stuff, rather than what we read in the books.

      The emphasis has shifted from offering a realistic portrait of a girl’s life to styling a doll’s hair or taking her out to eat.

      The girls in the books are admirable and likable. But when you convert them to dolls, they lose their appeal.

      I also don’t like that fact that the AG dolls have becoming something of a grade-school-girl status symbol when the girls they allegedly represent aren’t into that sort of thing.


  3. I like your comments, maybe because I AM Tootie’s Nana, and don’t like at all that someone belittled her doll as being inferior. It’s not the cost, OR the name, but what an imaginative child can do with the doll that matters. And a gift given with love is equal to the more expensive version in every way.


  4. So we have both a Target doll and an American Girl doll at our house. I have to say the AG doll really does have better hair. I’m not sure it’s $75 worth of better hair, but it’s definitely better.
    I totally see your point about the disconnect between the store and values of the characters in the book, but what are they supposed to do really? It’s a store.
    I am sorry they made fun of your little gal’s doll too. That really is awful, but I think gussying up the other doll and sending her back with the super cool pony to show up the other girls’ dolls was playing right into the status-seeking game. All the girls could have benefited from a little chat about loving the doll they had. How’s that for a 70s reference?


    1. Hi Jennifer!

      I tried to talk my daughter into taking her Heart dolls instead, so she wouldn’t be playing into that whole status thing. But she seemed to think that if she took Eva instead of the other doll, the girls would see how special she was.

      As it turned out, another girl brought an Eva doll yesterday, which helped the situation tremendously!

      The Heart dolls I love. They represent girls from other countries and profits are used to help these girls.


  5. Now don’t go hatin’ on my American Girl dolls… Snobby girls will always find a reason to put someone else down, whether it’s about a doll, a pair of designer jeans, shoes, etc. We’ve always taught Liv that it’s not about her, it’s about the other kids trying to make her feel bad. I can guarantee you that even if Tootie had the expensive AG doll, those girls would find something else to put her down about. There’s just no winning that kind of game.


  6. Oh gosh, this reminds me of the fake barbies from the 80s! A school janitor gave all us 2nd grade girls fake barbies one Christmas and I loved it because it was my first “Barbie” as it was for many of the other girls. We didn’t know about knock offs! How I miss that innocence (not looking forward to my toddler growing up!)


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