Sunday, March 18, 2012

Why I Haven't Posted


Before you ask, I visited San Antonio and Corpus Christi for Spring Break and it was a whole lot of fun! (Pictures will be up soon!) But, that's not the real reason behind this post. The real reason to talk about why I haven't posted and how a super-mega rich company has something to do with it.

Let's start with the company that I mentioned above. It was American Girl  and it has a quite a lot to do with the opinions expressed in this post.

American Girl has changed. 

This is fact- not an opinion- and I'm sure American Girl would not deny it, but it's changed, and in my opinion for the worse. When I look on American Girl Wikia and read about older AG products, I realize how much more effort was put into making the products real- and making them out of the highest quality materials possible. Dolls used to be made in Germany instead of a huge plant in China and a doll skirt and shirt didn't used to cost $28. A set filled with paper and small plastic products is marketed off at $26, even though it probably costs around $3 to make. It just makes me mad that products made in China (not even AMERICAN!) are sold at such a high- even though their quality just seems to go down. Now, I'm not saying every AG piece isn't worth the splurge, I'm just saying the majority is. Do you really want to spend $58 on a doll dining set? Which doesn't include a table?

But, honestly the thing I'm really upset about is definitely the Historical line. This line is by far my favorite, but it also is the thing that is really buggin' me.

Historicals used to be- in my opinion- about showing girls what history was really like, even if it wasn't all fancy frills and glassware, but instead the hand me down dress and tin. It taught girls what history really was (hardwork and determination).

Now, just look. Look at American Girl Historical's line and tell me that it not only accurately represents history, but also represents the doll. Just take Kit for example. Kit is described as a hardworking girl who hates pink and frills, but instead likes reporting- and reporting the truth. And look what AG comes out with to represent and a girl who's family didn't have a load of money and a girl who really didn't like pink? A frilly summer dress and a pink nightie. Why? TO SELL!!! Not to represent and era when most Americans lived in poverty, but to sell. To sell to girls who like pink and frills. TO SELL!!! It's all marketing, while her books portray Kit as a hard-working girl who's family doesn't have a lot of money (or a lot of pink and frilly clothes), the product, unfortunately don't portray Kit this way, they show her as a pink-and-frills loving girl whose family has plenty of money.

But why? For money. It's all about the money. And, that makes me upset. And, that makes me not want to post. Because, how can I post about dolls and products that I love, when I strongly dislike the company that makes them?



Lexie said...

I am so with you. I just told my mom I am like done with ag and she was shocked til I told the reasons. Are you done blogging on this blog???? Going back to the name princess???please keep us updated. I love your blog it inspired me to have my own.

Carolyn said...

I'm right with you, Gabby. I am really going to start buying from other companies {handmade sellers on Etsy and such} who actually care about quality and historical accuracy!


Heather said...

Make your own doll stuff. that is what i do. doll clothing IS so expencive.

Sara said...

I must disagree. I still believe AG cares, and I will continue to buy only from them.

By the way, I hope you have a blessed life. I have enjoyed reading your blog.

Anne said...

It's so sad, and the saddest part: What you say is true. I suggest writing a letter to American Girl telling them how you feel. But now, seeing this point of veiw, it's all kind of been a lie hasn't it? They say they care about girls? They care about the money. Are you still going to subscribe to American Girl Magazine?

Anonymous said...

I must disagree, other companies don't have great quality american girl has such great quality [I love these dolls] they bring hours of playtime and they are so importent to ALOT of girls

Dakota said...

I agree, and to tell you the truth, I think that's what the world is coming to. I mean, think about the immigrants, they were looking forward to hard work, because they could have it. I wish Pleasant Company could start a new collection of dolls that are sort of like that, but a little different.

Silverstreak said...

It is sad to think that the company who started out as an Aunt looking for dolls that were her nieces age and had history in them has turned into the greedy multi million dollar company that they are today.
Where is the passion for making historically accurate and affordable clothes?
We look through the catalogue at our house and gasp. $105 for a doll?!!!
It is insane the prices, and I wish they would realize that they are getting out of the range where normal girls can afford all of this stuff. I personally have to save up my own money for all of my doll stuff, and sometimes I feel as if it is a waste. I mean, if the stuff was made in America I would understand more...
But what can we do about it?

Heather said...

Hey Gabby,

I'm the mom of an AG doll loving girl and I just wanted to let you know that your post shows great integrity. I also thought I'd give you the "mom perspective".

The dolls themselves hold the highest quality product and as a mom I don't really mind paying the high price. The clothing and accessories are too much and their quality is not the highest. I agree with you there.

Great point you made about Kit and her product line. I see where you are coming from.

However, it's great bloggers like you who still help girls like my daughter to enjoy the AG brand and why not continue blogging about what IS historically accurate and share that with your readers.

Fun blog...we'll hate to see you go.

Heather W

Anonymous said...

I totaly agree! AG has changed,they need to teach girls,not show them the complete opposite! Molly never cared that she couldn't have those fancy polkadot dresses,because of the war effort and lack of money. AND GUESS WHAT THEY DO!, come out with a blue frilly fancy polka dot outfit,for $36! Seriously. Are you kidding me? In this economy no one will be able to afford that stuff. I bet you if they lowered prices, people will buy their products. I will always love my dolls, but not American Girl Company the same way i did 3 years ago. Amanada M.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

I agree with you. I only have a couple of outfits from the actual AG company. Most of my AG clothes are handmade from Etsy. I like Monster High now. Those dolls are sold for 15 - 20 dollars. Much better!

Anonymous said...

OMG! You said ALL of the things I wanted to say. I used to really, really love American Girl, but now it has a line of doubt. Back then, it was like "oh the books had dolls? I should check that out!" and now it's more like "oh wow the dolls have books? You're kidding me!"

I still love the AG books because they are very well-written, unfortunately Mattel's money-thirst has driven fans like you and me away. It's really unfortunate because not a lot of people realize this and they still kept on buying AG products, hence Mattel can safely ignore things like this and go on selling pajamas for $30.

And the fact that they keep on retiring the awesome Historical Dolls. I bet the only reason they retire Felicity, Samantha and Kirsten (all of them my favorite, except for Samantha) was because they wanted to make new characters and hence, more DOLLS.

Greedy, bloodthirsty scandals.

Anonymous said...

I understand what you mean; however, I don't completely agree with you.

I went to AG's website and saw Kit's frilly dress and pink nightie. You are absolutely right about that.

The part I don't really get is that it is all China's fault. Now, I know you didn't say that right out, which is a little better, but all the big-company all-for-the-marketing -bad-quality-because-it's-made-in-China talk is kind of offending. I don't know for a fact, but I'm pretty sure that people in the USA design it and just tell people in China what to make.

The price is very high for some items, because AG knows that GOTY dolls and their items sell for extremely high prices on sites like eBay after they are retired. To put yourself in AG's shoes (figuratively),How would you feel if someone resold your products at a 500% markup?

Also, there's inflation. Money today is worth less than it used to be. Inflation is the main reason why lots of things have had their prices raised over the years. (I'm not trying to be mean or sarcastic, I just want people to know what I'm talking about :D) For ex, you used to be able to get candy for a penny. Car gasoline used to cost A LOT less, and so did a gallon of milk. Does this make you hate the companies that sell these things?

I read this post plus other people's comments, and saw things like "they were better when made in Germany, since they took more time in trying to make it real with good materials" and "I would understand if it were made in America". (Of course, these aren't exact quotes) And by the way, America includes South America--USA might be a better word choice. But I get the idea.

Products from Pleasant Company did have a little bit better quality. However, Mattel is dealing with a much larger product line (Why? They want to be fair to all races, religions, kinds of people, etc. and come up with something new, like Caroline for learning about what life was like during the War of 1812, a largely ignored war in present times) so it's really not fair to compare, as AG now has so much more to take care of on their hands.


Anonymous said...

Another point I want to make: money and why prices might be so high. Does anybody reading this have a shirt or clothes from Aeropostale, Abercerombie, Hollister, Gilly Hicks, or other popular stores? It's the same thing as the $3 to make McKenna's accessories thing. There is a demand for "hot" and "popular" and "cool new trends", so there is also a lot of markup. Think about it: how much do you think it costs to make a t-shirt with a few words on it (ex: AERO New York)? Not a lot. And yet they sell for REALLY HIGH PRICES. In addition, if Pleasant Co. was so good and had such great quality products, then they must have spent a lot more money making them, right. And this is just a guess, but maybe that's why Mattel was able to buy them. I don't own a Pleasant Co doll, so I'm not the most informed person out there, but I don't think AG dolls today are bad quality, certainly! Sure, sometimes their clothes are a little cheap. However, try supporting yourself making only doll clothes. In the seller's perspective, you want to sell your things for a price that you can profit off of. Imagine doing that, just making and selling doll clothes. Would you want... Marketing? YES! Higher prices? YES! Absolutely top-notch materials? Well, uh, maybe, if ends meet... This is what some people have to deal with (not necessarily just in regard to making doll clothes but for lots of things)--they have to make enough money to provide not only for themselves, but also for their loved ones. Besides, would you rather buy from Walmart (again, not just doll stuff) knowing that they underpay their workers (ever wonder why the prices are so low?) or spend more money knowing that people someplace else are making enough not to starve and are having a good education? We can't be selfish.

WARNING: stuff you are probably tired or hearing. We as a nation need to set a good example for other countries. I think that's China's mistake--they want the best for themselves, and think that if others rely on them, it's a good way to get stronger themselves. No, we shouldn't do that. We need to do what's best for everyone, not just us, while remaining one of the top (not so we can take advantage of others, but because we should show them what a good example is)

Yes, a lot of it is the marketing. Some people argue that Our Generation dolls from Target and such are much better choices than AG dolls, because American Girl is "just a big company that wants to eat up all your money". Which company do you think is bigger and owns more money, Target or AG? I know, tough decision. I truly believe that AG has some of the best quality products out there compared to other doll companies today and even if they aren't as good as they used to be, and that's enough for me. Dolls won't even be $110 forever, as high as that might seem to you now. But in a couple of years, you'll probably think $4 for gas is RIDICULOUSLY LOW "wow, the olden days!", too.


Anonymous said...

Many are disappointed in AG's historical line. They didn't used to teach the same things. But now their main focus is most likely on Girl of the Year and My AG. They don't want another "how can you say that you are teaching girls to work hard and be independent when all your dolls come in dresses and all your dolls live such a long time ago?" scene. No, really, something like that has happened before. Yup, the press is powerful.

The message that they are trying to get across with these more modern dolls is "Hey, you can be yourself! Don't imitate other people, everyone is different. There's no "normal" except on a dishwasher, and there's a place in this world for everyone, people of all ethnicity, religion, and skin color". And what's wrong with that? In my opinion, American Girl does a great job of teaching lessons (friendship and saving animals and working toward a good cause with Kanani--read the books, they're awesome!) to girls (boys, too, if it applies) of all ages with their GOTY line.

Personally, I believe that AG should do some more work on their Historicals, too, because history is very valuable, but if I could only pick one message out of the 2 it would be "be yourself", too. And even if AG REALLY wanted to help out their Historicals, they've probably got too much going on at once to really concentrate--it happens to everyone, even companies (going back to my earlier idea)! I think too many people get carried away with "role model", thinking that it means you have to be just like them. Hmmm, is that why American Girl changed to "My AG" from "Just Like You"? To be honest, people who have more than one My AG usually have one that DOESN'T look like them and/or match their personality.

Okay, anyway, I agree that products like the dining set are priced pretty ridiculously, but that still doesn't completely ruin the whole company's image for me. Or maybe that's just me.


Anonymous said...

One more thing: it's about the Kit situation. The books and stories don't always agree with the dolls. Plus, I know that being resourceful and honest even in hard times is a wonderful thing to teach little girls, but who really wants a dress made out of chicken sack? Not to mention that it would be really hard to make realistic and little girls probably wouldn't want to buy it... Let me put it this way: most people don't (or won't) enjoy being poor. Yes, that is very blunt. Sorry. And we all know that AG is really more geared to the little girls, because it's them who convince their parents to get them a doll and the parents, when they find out that AG has books, excitedly buy them for their child in attempt to add some more educational value. It's the older collectors, mamas, and big sisters that realize how AG really is. Some decide to still appreciate it and understand whenever there's a ridiculously high price or cost raise, and others decide to break off and put their interest in something new. Both sides are PERFECTLY acceptable--you just have a different viewpoint.

I like the Etsy idea, going for handmade, less expensive doll clothes.

PS: Please, please, don't discriminate China. All they want is the best for their country, and it's mostly the US's fault for not being able to provide for ourselves. See, try telling AG that they have to make all their stuff in the USA from now on. They won't be able to manage. You can dislike them, you can hate them, but don't take it out on Asian people. Most people who work in those factories don't dictate what a product is or is made of, they just do it because they want a job to help support their family. Just because you live in the USA doesn't give you the right to say other countries are completely inferior. Who knows, in the future, China might overtake the USA, just as Mattel overtook Pleasant Co. It's survival of the fittest in this world, and if others are more ambitious, skilled, talented, hardworking, or just plain have and advantage, well, what can I say? You'll just have to back down and submit.

Thank you for reading through my rant, and I urge you to keep what I say in mind, even though you don't have to agree or even like it.


That’s it, no more continuations ;)

Anonymous said...

My friend and I are in our 30s and 40s. We are longtime AG fans. I showed your post to her and we agree you are right on, Gabby. Very wise for someone your age. The historical stuff just isn't how it used to be.

Evan White said...

I have a small colection of AG dolls the white body Germany ones are the most valuable and best.

Anonymous said...

That was amazingly well said. I totally agree with you. I like their dolls- they are pretty good quality- but their doll clothes- even though they are pretty- are way too expensive. My dad says, "You can get a full outfit for yourself all for the price of one AG outfit." I recommend getting clothes for your AG doll online on Etsy or such. They have cute, trendy clothes for dolls at a reasonable price.

I am also very sad that they put Kirsten in the archives. She has an amazing story and I love her accessories and clothes.