Sunday, March 6, 2011

Hello Dolly

Little Diva made her very first visit to the American Girl Place last week, and it was a day to remember. She loved having a fancy lunch and having her own little shopping spree with the gift card she got for Christmas.  Santa brought her an American Girl doll for Christmas this year, so she was eager to pick out some new outfits and in her words, "fantastic accessories."

Now Little Diva is technically "too young" for the American Girl doll. The recommended age for children on all the packaging for these dolls and their gear is 8+. I am not sure I totally get this. The dolls are sturdy, their hair stays nice and the clothes, for the most part, fasten with velcro and are easy to get on and off. (Not the shoes, though - they are even adult-proof, but whatever).

But more importantly, they seem like a logical toy for her play level and maturity.

Take for example, Barbie. The recommended age for Barbie is age 3+. Put the two dolls side by side, and which do you want your little girl to play with? Somehow, the American Girl seems a little more age appropriate.

I mean really, your three year old is old enough to play with a doll that dresses like a hooker runway model, wears tons of makeup, and is well-endowed, but not old enough to play with a child-like doll who wears kid's clothing and has a fresh young face? I find that strange.

And it is not as if you can blame it on the differing marketing ideals of two different companies. American Girl is a subsidiary of Mattel, who also happens to own that little empire known as Barbie.

Don't get me wrong, I like Barbies, and we have a vast collection of the dolls and her 1000+ piece accessory sets. We have had them since Little Diva was, oh yeah, 3. Basically since she was old enough not to inhale the miniature shoes and purses.

But I cannot understand what focus group at Mattel decides to market the hoochi-mama style doll to pre-schoolers, but wants you to wait until your kiddo is 8 before having a doll that she can should be able relate to. If I had researched this all thoroughly as a conscientious mama might do, I may have skipped the Barbies all together, and started her American Girl collection long ago. Somehow I like the idea of my little girl getting her doll ready for a play-date rather than a hot date. But I guess the toy execs might not agree.

Perhaps the Barbie is an iconic American toy, and to keep her place as the first lady of playthings, you gotta get them hooked young. But at the very least, it would do them good to re-evaluate Barbie's fashion choices of late. For example, the "I Can Be" series is a great nod to teaching kids about how to be anything when they grow up, but if the dentists, vets and teachers of tomorrow are going to dress in 3 inch heels and 3 inch skirts, we may all be in trouble.

And as for the American Girl doll, I am glad we did not wait until age 8.  For the cost of the darn thing, I want Little Diva to have as many years as possible to get our money's worth.

What kind of dolls does your child play with?


  1. We have yet to get into any dolls. The Dancing Queen was given a generic doll house and "people" for Christmas, but she only randomly plays with it. Instead, her favorite are the little plastic characters she has. Mickey Mouse is hands down the favorite, but she enjoys the Toy Story characters as well and Yo Yo Gabba (as she calls them).

  2. new gfc follower from a blog hop. Like your banner. Please follow me at

  3. We can't get enough American Girl! And I'm kind of anti-Barbie (I never had much use for her as a kid), so I don't care that Riley is only 4...she's been playing with Bitty Baby since she was 2 and now Julie Albright has taken over our lives. Just wish it was a little less expensive!!!

  4. My three year old isn't into dolls yet!

    I'm your new follower from the Sunday Blog Hop! would love a follow back while I take a look around your site!


  5. I love american girl dolls and I am too stumped as to why they are 8+ year old. I get that they are expensive, so maybe that is their logic, but I am not sure at 8 years old my daughter would have a love for dolls like she does now.
    We got a bitty baby from her grandma when she was born and she loves that. And I think when she is 4 years old she will probably be getting an american girl doll. I love their dolls.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.