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On What Your American Girl Doll Says About the Rest of Your Life

Posted on June 2, 2011 at 4:45 pm 0

On What Your American Girl Doll Says About the Rest of Your Life

I didn't find this accurate to my childhood at all. My first doll (I own 4 -Samantha, Addy, Kit, Lindsey (Girl of the Year 2001), my mom owns 2 - American Girl of Today and Nellie)was Samantha and I was the only girl in my immediate circle with a Samantha doll. I liked books, hated math, wore glasses (like your "Molly" personality) and while I loved Molly's books and some of her outfits, my first love was Samantha. All my friends had Molly (with a few Kirstens and Felicitys and Josefinas in there)and I got made fun of for having a Samantha. The argument seemed to be that Samantha was a rich snot and therefore not "real". Molly was the "decent, hardworking American from the Greatest Generation" and therefore was "real people". This manifested in group gatherings where my friends would flip through the catalog and cheer when we looked at Molly's pages and boo on Samantha's pages. Way to attack me, when we were 8, guys.

This argument completely ignores the fact that, while Samantha is a child of privilege, social justice is a major theme in her books. Child labor, industrial conditions, women's rights, segregation, immigration, the divide between rich and poor, and blended families are all issues that are discussed in Samantha's books. I truly believe Samantha grew up to be an activist, she was exposed to enough of these ideas as a child and believed in them fervently (for a 10 year old). She was gutsy, stood up for herself and others, and believed in doing rather than just saying - her sampler read "Actions Speak Louder Than Words".

Molly's books, much as I love them for Molly's adventures, do not take on social issues. WWII is paramount and a few of the moral dilemmas of wartime are handled in terms of children learning about their worlds. But there isn't much about problems might be going on in 1940s America (Molly and her peers are all lily-white, middle class, suburban kids. Samantha was too, but she saw the other side of the tracks, literally in the first book when she went to find Jessie her family's seamstress and figuratively when she ventured into the former Gas House district in Manhattan.)

My Molly- promoting friends are all Republicans. Not the most open-minded Republicans, either. I, a Samantha girl, am a liberal Democrat. Connection?

I loved all the books, like all the dolls (and some of the more recent ones) for different reasons, and do miss the 90s Grin-Pins, American Girl Historical Society etc. I am an AG kid for life, the lessons and history I learned in those books set me on course for life.

Also, Samantha Parkington was totally Bryn Mawr College Class of 1917. Annassa Kata!!

Posted on June 2, 2011 at 4:45 pm 1