10/13/09

 

American Girl Drama


I may be running into a political bonfire with little more than a garden hose for defense, but come on. All the drama over the new American Girl Doll seems just a tad... well...

Overblown.

They are releasing an expensive doll. They ALWAYS release an expensive doll. The doll, "Gwen", has a complex back story which creates fodder for a series of books and potential movies and made-for-TV specials. Imagine that.

People seem to be upset because charging $95 dollars for a doll that is 'homeless' is a mockery. There is a popular notion that at the very least a portion of that money should go to charities that benefit the homeless. That would be nice, but unless it's a standard of behavior that Mattel has already begun, (donating Addy's proceeds to Civil War History Museums, or Kaya's proceeds to Native American causes) it would seem unfair to start now with Gwen.

I had an American Girl Doll. My two best friends did as well, and we read their books and played with them daily. As far as toys go they are very expensive, and while my family was not wealthy, we were fortunate to be able to afford extravagances like that at Christmas and birthdays. For better or worse I was sheltered from many of life's more unpleasant facts until I was much older by my parents' vigilance.

I suspect that it is the same for many of the children playing with American Girl Dolls today. If a parent wants to introduce their child to homelessness through a doll and accompanying literature, I don't have a problem with that.

If you don't like the product, you don't buy it. That is your feedback outlet as a consumer.

If you didn't plan to buy it anyway and are thus lacking an outlet; imagine for a moment that rather than being upset, every person who had complained about this donated $5 to a charity benefiting the homeless.

I suspect the latter would do a significant amount of good. Whereas the former just creates drama.

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