Friday, June 24, 2011



"There is a large swath of 20-something women who all appear to be afflicted with the same syndrome. It shall be called Mollyphilia. The Cult of Molly."
There is a large article in the Washington Post that appears to have been inspired by Chiara Atik's American Girl Doll piece on the Hairpin (she's interviewed in it, but they neither link to nor mention her post [Ed. — And now they do!]), and so far these are the best comments: "In true Washington Post fashion, they just can't get it right. Kirsten did not have 'fat blond ringlets,' but as was appropriate for a farm girl of her era — she wore her hair in BRAIDS !!" and "as a Kirsten fan I resent your inference that I somehow lack independence and am inferior to a Molly fan." Indeed, Molly was a nerd.

49 Comments / Post A Comment

apples and oranges

Kirsten, not independent?! she immigrated to a new and foreign country. PLEASE.

I, like the commenter, resent this slandering of doll-character. Also, Molly wasn't that great.

ShoShoni Rose@twitter

@kr30 As a proud Molly-type, I can totally agree that Kirsten was pretty awesome. I think that each doll fit the girl who wanted her in some way, so that makes me terribly nerdy (not that that was something I didn't know already^.^). I too resent the slandering of Kirsten's character. Not cool, WaPo.

apples and oranges

@ShoShoni Rose@twitter Nothing wrong with some nerdiness! (and I actually really liked the Molly books when I was younger...I think they started me on my lifelong obsession with WWII era literature. This is just my 3rd grade self resurfacing and feeling both lame and excited by the fact that none of my friends had a Kirsten)


@kr30 Kirsten, REPRESENT. I mostly got her because I had blonde hair and she did, too, but I've since come to embrace my Kirsten-ness in all its glory. I think my mom encouraged me getting her because of her independence though. It worked, mom!

Also, I'm glad I was in the age group to get the American Girl doll trend, but that I'm old enough to have missed the decline into craziness that happened with those dolls. The customization and choices are more than I could have dealt with at the time.

ShoShoni Rose@twitter

@kr30 Yeah, I think I can trace my obsession with the early part of the 20th century to my Molly books as well! It's all Molly's fault I got into vintage clothes, among other things.


@ShoShoni Rose@twitter Definitely. I had a Molly (okay, I was a Molly) but Kirsten was awesome.


Felicity stole a pair of pants, trained a horse in secret, and convinced a mean old drunk to give her the horse? And she was a one-person metaphor for the American Revolution, so she couldn't have been rebellious or independent?

Not It

Samantha was awesome. She climbed trees. She helped her orphaned friend, she spoke out against child labor, she defied her grandmother while still making it clear that she loved her grandmother. She boated and went exploring. She was an awesome painter and cook. She grieved the loss of her parents and took no guff from the neighbor boy. As a grown woman with a Samantha doll still packed up in her closet, I resent and deplore the pro-Molly slant of this article. But you'll notice that I don't need to denigrate Molly to build up Samantha, Samantha taught me manners.


@Not It Oh man, you just made me so happy! I'm sick of people always saying Samantha was the worst, Samantha-shaming me! Thank you for making me feel better about my childhood again.


@Not It Having a Samantha doll is the reason for my feminist/socialist politics! Plus, you know she grew up to be a flapper. Samantha = awesome.

My sisters had Molly and Felicity.

Jolie Kerr

I'm so glad I'm just old enough to have missed this trend in dollies. As Edith would say, "LADIES!"

Jolie Kerr

@Jolie Kerr Also Babysitter's Club *phew* DODGED THAT ONE.


@Jolie Kerr As a male human, I find all of this fascinating.


@Jolie Kerr I'm so old (and so glad) I even dodged the Cabbage Patch Kids!

Hot mayonnaise

@ironhoneybee: I did not, and I'm a boy. One year, my sister and I each got one. I think they were for investment purposes.


@Hot mayonnaise I could just click "like", but I actually laughed out loud at "investment purposes" and I think you should know that.


@Jolie Kerr Somehow I missed American Girl but fell directly into Babysitter's Club demographic. How is this so???


@ironhoneybee My mother forbid Cabbage Patch kids, for reasons I will never quite understand.


By trying to defend their honor, the girls on the comment section in the Post are confirming what the article is saying. First one is my favorite "Cute article, but as a Kirsten fan I resent your inference that I somehow lack independence and am inferior to a Molly fan. I've always been drawn to that (Kirsten's) time period, especially stories about pioneer life like the Little House series; it's not because she has blonde hair (I have dark brown and have never wanted blonde)." I'm glad to know you have dark brown hair and you are very independent, kc20008. (there's only two zeroes in 2008, by the way)


@cowgirlinthesand It is possible that she's referring to her zip code, 20008 is in NW DC.


Look if we're talking about the independence quotient amongst American Girls... Addy freaking escaped slavery. Boom.


@applestoapples I feel like Addy has the best books, too.

Pound of Salt

Samantha is gender-defying? Oho.


@Pound of Salt Seriously--"Gender-Defying" and "Friendly"?? Those are my dominant characteristics as a Samantha owner? I mean, it's not even necessarily 100% wrong, but what a weird combination.

Pound of Salt

I love that someone commented with this:

"Border Enforcement + Immigration Moratorium = Job, Crime and Eco Sanity"


We didn't have Canadian Girl dolls.


My primary motivation for selecting Molly was that she came with silver WWII-era penny. A silver penny was a very curious thing and I simply had to have it.


Of course we love Molly in DC-- we nerds recognize our own. I bet when Molly went to college she stayed up late in the common room arguing about McCarthy and the Algerian war for independence.

the fourth bot

So, was I the only 9-year-old who picked Molly out of shame and self-hatred? Like, she has glasses and brown hair and isn't glamorous like Samantha. Guess she's just right for me.


OH MY GOD I'm being attacked by my youth. Back in my day, your choices were Kristen, Samantha, and Molly. I have dark hair and wore glasses from second grade onward- definitely a Molly. I think my parents bought me the doll in hopes that I'd stop playing incessantly with my stuffed animals. Kind of worked...mostly I liked it because of the books. #nerrrrrrrrrrrrrddddd

sarah ruth

i wanted a molly. and my parents instead bought me this horrifying Faux Molly made of porcelain and with the same braids/clothing/freckles/glasses. except she was fragile (fingers broke asap) and had a really creepy life-like face. i think it was someone's homemade version of Molly that my mom won at a craft fair. i cried in bed on my eighth birthday because i was stuck with a creepy doll that was probably going to kill me in my sleep.

i've decided not to reflect upon what this says about my character as a young adult...!


Ok, am I really the only person noticing the ridiculous, racist essentializing happening in that infographic? What the heck is up with that?

Also, yes, I finally created a user account. I expect to spend less time telling everyone I know how amazing the hairpin is and more time commenting directly.


@pmk there is a LOT wrong with that infographic up there.


How ridiculous and (quasi-insulting) is it to say that being enamored with one doll (Samantha. Samantha. Samantha!) and developing my own personality are mutually exclusive?

I loved Mary Anne, but wasn't shy like her, nor did I have a hot boyfriend like Logan.

I loved Violet, but related more with Jessie (or Benny, because he and I shared a carb addiction).

I loved Elizabeth, but secretly wanted to a little bit of Jessica's wildness, too.

This is like saying that boys who liked Transformers had fascinations with becoming contortionists and boys who liked Ninja Turtles wanted to live in sewers with geriatric foxes. Come on.


this has little to do with this article, but i lived in ithaca, ny during college and there's this town north of ithaca, along the lake, aurora, ny... the cutest little town you ever did see. one day, i learned that the woman who started/owned the american girl doll franchise bought some of the town and basically made it how she wanted it... she even considered heated sidewalks for the snow to melt. she also owns this crazy property down the road that sells ridiculously priced furniture.

thee end.

i'm a kirsten, mostly because i'm half swedish. i think that we aren't defined by what dolls we had... but i am pretty outdoorsy.


Ok I guess this is the place for a little "theharpoon's Kirsten post-apocalypse favorites reading list," finally? Assuming people still want to know. If you don't, look away now!

First, a disclaimer: this is completely on the fly and will definitely be too short . Also, I am not guaranteeing that these books will not be insulting to ladies, unfortunately, a ton of post-apocalypse books are just that.

Caveats aside, a mini post-apoc listicle:

A Gift Upon the Shore - Wren
The Parable of the Sower - Butler
In the Country of Lost Things - Auster
Blindness - Saramago
The Day of the Triffids - Wyndham
Malevil - Merle
The Slynx - Tolstaya
A Canticle for Leibowitz - Miller
Walking Dead


@theharpoon Oh well, I guess the post-apocalypse fever is done. Anyway, Katie Walsh if you see this I watched Doomsday and it rocked!

Bus Driver Stu Benedict

@theharpoon I have no idea what any of this means, but I'll give you an "A" for effort.


@Butterscotch Stalin The first comment thread on this post should enlighten you!

Bus Driver Stu Benedict

@theharpoon Eyes, scales - fallen. That reminded me just now that I've been meaning to find a copy of Earth Abides.

Bus Driver Stu Benedict

I just realized I could have used that to try and engage you in conversation. Like, "There's this one book I can't remember the name of..." but Wikipedia is a little too helpful sometimes.


@Butterscotch Stalin I like that one! Also Alas, Babylon, which is kind of similar in tone if I remember correctly. Let me tell you which one I do not like: On the Beach.

Bus Driver Stu Benedict

@theharpoon I actually haven't read hardly any post apocalyptic literature, maybe just Cat's Cradle and an audio thing of Canticle that I barely paid attention to because of all the dumb Catholic stuff.

I have read a lot of wilderness isolation / survival-type literature, starting with My Side of the Mountain and a bunch of forgettable pulp. The first part of Desolation Angels too, I guess. Probably more I haven't thought of.

Maybe because I wasn't... ok, I was at least a little mopey during high school, but I never listened to Morrissey back then, just a little Joy Division now and then, you know?

Yeah, the more I think about it, the more your preoccupation with this stuff is starting to weird me out.

Bus Driver Stu Benedict

You take the scotch out, moosh the rest together and send that "at" yahoo. Or, if you must, that 140 character thingy.


I still have my Molly poster framed and hanging in my office. My late uncle bought it for me when I was in college because my name is Molly and I used to wear braids and round glasses when I was younger. My son's little girl-type friends just FREAK when they see it and now they are all like "You're one of us! You're one of us" I tried to feign some sort of enthusiasm until I relaized they just go to the store for all the stuff and don't read hardly any of the books.


Molly all the way, NOT just because we were sisters in nerd-dom but HELLO? That Miss Victory tap dancing costume? I was never allowed to buy into the doll craze and spent hours gazing longingly at the catalogs. I read Changes For Molly about a zillion times. It's the best AG book, hands down.


@excitedheart - OMG Changes for Molly was the BEST. I felt so so terrible for her and her awful disease-causing ringlets, even if it did mean she was the only one home to welcome her dad home from the war... I always thought, what if she weren't home? Would he have just sat on the stoop, chilling until the entire town was let out from the Miss Victory Pageant or whatever it was called? And why didn't she just sleep with her hair in braids overnight???

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