Sunday, May 15, 2011

How Your American Girl Doll Set Your Path in Life

While procrastinating doing important social networking researching on Facebook the other night, I ran across this little link: What Your American Girl Doll Says About You

Growing up, I coveted the American Girl Doll.  I remember when Felicity was released, and I remember begging, BEGGING my parents for a doll, and being so disappointed when my birthday came and went and that magical white and red box didn't appear.  Until one unassuming day in the spring... (probably when it was easier for my parents to burn $100 on a plastic doll) my doll came.  And she was glorious.  And apparently, she set the course for my life!

I received Kirsten.  Let's see what the article has to say about her:

"You probably got Kirsten because she was blond, or because you read a lot of Little House on the Prairie books."

Or you were like me, and obsessed with a) Oregon Trail, and b) braids (my hair was boy-length short as a girl...I had braid envy big time.)

"Whatever superficial motivation led you to choose Kirsten, you quickly learned that life as a Swedish immigrant in Minnesota is not all lingonberry pie and ice fishing. Not halfway through the first book does Kirsten's best friend Marta die suddenly and tragically of cholera. This was shocking and horrifying. Obviously, you were used to cholera deaths (this being the age of Oregon Trail), but this time it was different."

Man, cholera was the worst.
They should really just write, "Sam is about to BITE IT.  You can rest for ALL the days you want and shoot EIGHT THOUSAND POUNDS of meat (but you can only carry back 478 pounds), and it WON'T FIX CHOLERA."
  And, being the young writer that I was, I remember totally calling Marta's death before it happened.  Kirsten needed her stakes upped, after all.  Also, the fact I fell deeply in love with Willa Cather's work in grad school, which is really just like the adult version of "Kirsten Learns a Lesson" suddenly makes a lot more sense now.  

"You therefore grew up to be a bit more thoughtful, a bit more reserved than your peers. You also find yourself inexplicably drawn towards crafts like knitting, jam-making, and quilting."

I also dabble in crochet, felting soap, jewelry making, scrapbooking, photography and collage.  Whoops.  Hello there, American Girl stereotype.  Meet my life.

"You secretly suspect that you'd manage just fine in a post-Apocalyptic setting, should things come to that."  

So, I once wrote a post about how I'm pretty sure I'd die in any dystopia ever, but that doesn't deter my deep-seated love of the hypothetical Apocalypse.  Whether it's Day After Tomorrow or Susan Beth Pfeffer, if the world is ending, I AM THERE.  (Knitting.)

"You were surprised and delighted to see some of Kirsten's outfits come back into style in certain enclaves of Brooklyn."

I went to Sarah Lawrence, which could easily be renamed Hipster Central.  I knew people who boycotted shoes.  People who were leggings as pants BEFORE it was cool.  The entirety of my Urban Outfitters knowledge comes from my college days.  Oh hai there, vintage apron I wear when I make jam cookies.  You look an awful lot like this:

I know I'm not alone on this.  Time to fess up, people!  What doll did you have?  Or want, but not get?  And for the moms out there, are your daughters just as obsessed with them as we were back in the day?


  1. I wanted Samantha when I was younger. They didn't have many to choose from then. I didn't get her until my mom started my own girls' collections of American girl dolls a few years ago. We now have Samantha, Kiersten, Felicty, and Kaya. Plus, my older daugher has a My American girl doll and my youngest has a bitty baby.

  2. I totally wanted the Samantha doll with her red Christmas dress. I thought she was the most awesome character. I never had a doll, but I drooled over the magazines we got every month.

  3. I had zero interest in the dolls, but I enjoyed the books. I read all of Molly, Kirsten, and Samantha. Molly was my favorite girl, and my favorite book was the one when she went to summer camp. When I started reading the books, Felicity and Addy hadn't appeared yet. I think there's a bunch more girls now.

    My sis had a Samantha doll with some accessories. I remember my parents mentioning how expensive it was, and that she "take very very good care of it".

  4. Where on earth is her analysis of Kit? Kit was my absolute favorite!

  5. I had Samantha because I loved anything Victorian when I was in 3rd/4th grade. (A Little Princess? Anne of Green Gables? The Wolves of Wiloughby Chase? Yes please!) Now I love anything steampunk. Thanks, Samantha?

    Also, I actually worked at an American Girl store for a summer. I loved when a little girl came in and was so serious about picking out the "right" doll (even though they all looked the same) because she'd been saving her money for a while and wanted to make sure she got the exact right one. Way to go, girls.

  6. I was a Felicity girl, but the article seemed a little snarky toward Felicity, didn't it? Maybe that's just my teensy hint of self-righteousness speaking. ;) But I must say, "a latent familiarity with Colonial Williamsburg" is spot on.

  7. This was me: No American Girl Doll
    "You grew up to be financially independent, level-headed, unspoiled, and still just a little bit resentful whenever you walk by American Girl Place."
    That is frighteningly accurate.

  8. @Page--I'm glad to hear the American Girl tradition lives on!

    @Titania86--I'll be honest, sometimes my first graders bring in the magazines, and I kind of still drool over them.

    @Liz P--I loved the books too! As a child I appreciated the formulaic nature of them (Meet Kirsten, Kirsten Learns a Lesson, Changes for Kirsten...) but still felt like each girl's story was interesting and different. And there are so many more dolls now! Kaya, Josephina, Julie, Kit, Rebecca...

    Liz--Kit seems like a really cool doll! She appeared a little later, I think--I definitely remember being past the age of being interested in dolls when she came around.

    Annie--Oh my gosh, I loved the Wolves of Willoughby Chase! I remember reading it in 4th or 5th grade--it was my first experience at "critical analysis" of a text.

    Juliemybird--I have to admit, I remember having a bit of snarkiness towards Felicity when I was a kid. She was the "new doll" and I remember being shunned by my friends because they all got Felicity and I got Kirsten, who apparently was no longer the cool doll to have, so I've always held a little grudge against her. Maybe the person who wrote the article had a similar experience as me :)

    Donna--Aw, you missed out! I STILL have my American Girl dolls, tucked away at my parents house. Some days, I still kind of want one. (Then I remember they're $100, and really, I'd rather have shoes.)

  9. I was too old for this phenomenon but totally intrigued. The books were a hit in my classroom!

  10. My first doll was a Girl of Today that my mom customized with Kirsten's clothes to be Laura Ingalls Wilder of Little House on the Prairie. She was sooooo awesome. Now I have fourteen dolls in my collection, and my favorite is Felicity. The description actually pictures me pretty well.


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