|Let's go to the mall!|
Time Keeps On Slipping Into The Future.1 It's Black History Month, pay reparations on my soul.
It was just thirteen scant years ago that the announcement came down the pipeline for the newest American Girl Historical Doll to be released in five years, with the most recent being Kaya pushing Felicity off her horse and letting the AG world know she and other Indigenous Americans were here first, redhead, now get in the archival vault. And the speculation was all over what era would be picked. Would she be of the 1920s? The 1830s? Maybe they'd finally stick someone between Addy and Samantha, since we'd kinda skipped forty years of history there and clothes and culture had changed a lot, even if black people were all living in our underground bunkers until the Civil Rights Movement.
Nope, none of that was correct. Instead the new girl was going to be from the far flung era of...
The 1970s. The historical era of bell-bottoms, disco, President Ford, avocado colored interior design, and fondue. Her name was Julie Albright, she had long blonde hair and brown eyes, she liked the Brady Bunch and basketball, she lived in San Francisco--our first Californian Historical--and her parents were recently divorced.2
Now I hadn't been in the fandom very long--and the only place there was any fandom outside of AG Over 18 was AG Fans (from which I'd been banned for rampant public paganism) or AGPT--and that mess I still need to go in on, how the mighty fall like a Fall Out Boy song--but the reaction was, from the more middle aged sectors of the fandom? Melodramatic flailing.
"How dare American Girl say my childhood is historical! It wasn't that long ago!" was the outcry from quite a few women--mostly white--who had been celebrating the anniversary of turning twenty-nine for the past decade or so and had forgotten how to count. Those that weren't clutching pearls over having to realize they (as late boomers/Early Gen X) were way above their dirty thirties and had been kids nearly forty years ago were instead running around in circles and fainting in the pews, because Julie's parents had committed the awful sin of ending their marriage and American Girl was daring to endorse/condone/promote the breakup of good marriages and stable homes. You know how Kira B.'s books were controversial over women marrying women? Yeah it was kinda like that. We had the same levels of outcry from the homeschooling conservative ladies who were terrified of their eight year olds learning about poor people, over the portrayal of women daring to seek no-fault divorce instead of remaining miserable housewives. Women ain't supposed to do anything but take pills and stay married to shitty men that treat them badly, I guess. Karens gonna Karen, Beckys gonna Becky, and conservatives are going to whine that we're destroying the family and all of America by daring to let a woman have a right or something.
Yet, among all the lamentations, weeping and gnashing of teeth, and the rending of calico peasant dresses, marriage certificates, and Have a Nice Day shirts from Nice Old White Ladies, Julie--and Ivy, the superior Julie--came out Fall 2007 with much fanfare, six illustrated books, and quite a few outfits and accessories. The predictions failed and her release did not suddenly turn people who were ten in the seventies into dust when they had to explain to their own target-aged kids about the US Bicentennial, Title X, the 1976 Election and record players. AG Life went on, and after Julie came Rebecca, Caroline, Marie-Grace and Cécile, a lot of retirements, characters out of the vault, the start of BeForever, Maryellen, Melody, Nanea, the end of BeForever, this blog, and a whole slew of white Girls of the Year.
And in February 2020, American Girl announced that they would release a new historical character from the newly minted vintage era of...
The 1980s. Historical era of Care Bears, Rainbow Brite, My Little Pony, wanting your MTV, VCRs being stupid expensive, Walkmans, designer jeans, Cabbage Patch Kids, President Reagan--the second worst president that's ever been president in my lifetime--and hanging out at the malls and watching Saturday Morning Cartoons. Because it was that or go outside, and outside didn't have air conditioning and Nickelodeon.
And as the news came down the pipeline that American Girl had declared another generation "historical" everyone looked at the fully Gen Ex kids and waited to see how we'd react.
We rejoiced. At least, in my corners. I'm sure somewhere online, a collector fell face down on her bed and cried into the body of her lopsided Kirsten doll with the uncombed hair and shitty hair loops because American Girl was stating the 1980s was now historical and she believed American Girl history should remain firmly before 1940, as it was when Saint Pleasant was still in charge of the company and everything was made of balsa wood and glass but Samantha and Molly's shoes still sucked and Felicity's books wouldn't say outright that Rose and Marcus were enslaved so folk could say deadass to my face that they were just "hired servants." But I haven't been on AGPT in over a decade now and I don't let people who suck that hard around me unless they want to get bodied.
Anyways. I rejoiced.
My friends and I in that late X early Mill chunk were hype for the news. Unlike the 70s kids who'd been swooning over the fact AG had slapped their asses with the history label, a good portion of us were excited to be folded into the canon of a company we'd known about since we were kids. Many of us had been right around that target age of eight to twelve when American Girl launched with three dolls and required mail ins and calling and $85 for a doll was asking for a lot so no, we did not get the West Germans. Many of us didn't get our first dolls until we were older--if not fully grown--but we cherished our gangs and had memories of pouring over the catalogs and hoping for tiny doll plates. We put on Whitney Houston and Prince and Debbie Gibson and A-ha and talked back and forth about our childhoods in excited voices as we pictured tiny Trapper Keepers, acid wash jeans that zipped at the ankles, scrunchies for days, side ponytails and Get in Shape Girl leg warmers--and we were hot to be here for every neon poisoned, acid wash, Swatch Watch minute of it.
And we pretty much got it.
Baby Boomers in 2007: nooooo the 70s isn't history nooooooooooo you can't say we're old nooooooooooooooooooo
GenX in 2020: hehehe courtney go beep boop
I'd long ago created Kimmy Kim and her best friend Tyanna Lewis as my representatives of the 1980s, because the fact is that history and historical events keep popping off every day.3 And Courtney--in all her Valley Girl Southern Cali glory--was going to join them as part of the AGGiRL on day one. As more pictures of Courtney and her collection came out and more information leaked, I just kept here and there bouncing in my seat and going "dolly play the Pac-Man" because dolly indeed, play the Pac-Man. She had curly blonde hair--mistaken for red early on, because lighting was off--and blue eyes--mistaken for hazel, same lighting off--and was wearing leggings and ankle boots and acid wash skirts.
My body was ready and my wallet was squeaking.
|The AG Brat Pack. L to R: Tyanna, Courtney, and Kimmy.|
Courtney Moore launched on the website about a month before my birthday, and Bae--who buys me one AG doll like, every half decade at most and the rest of the time tells me "I love you but I can't tell your dolls apart, honey, I'd probably buy you a double of something you already have"-- gave me a shopping limit, an upgrade to two-day shipping in place of paying for ear piercing since I owned a power drill so she'd be here in two days, and an "I love you, this is your Big Birthday Thing" since we didn't get to do what I wanted on my birthday anyways and I was hitting a big birthday milestone and there was a pandemic out there that'd been ruining my entire year since March. She got here that Friday and I was up for the FedEx delivery and took pics of her arriving like I had with Edith and DeeDee four years prior, meeting the girls like her already here and they formed the AG Brat Pack even though I haven't actually watched The Breakfast Club.
Step 1: Courtney's Collection
Step 2: Joy
When AG Seattle4 put things out in the store the weekend of the 26th, I went, got the giveaway extras--a scrunchie and some crafts5--and got even more of her collection then. In fact, there's not a lot of her smaller stuff I don't own, and that's more of a matter of balancing my desires for other things across the brand and things being constantly on back order. Or not ever arriving at AG Seattle, weep.
I love Courtney so much, guys. She's now in my top Ten Historical Characters. Maybe Top Five. There's kind of a Fog of War there in the middle. Maybe someday I'll do a proper ranking of Historicals and Why Neth Likes or Doesn't Like Them, and everyone can tell me why I really should appreciate Molly, you guys, because Nanea is a SJW promotion of a tiny part of American History that didn't apply to as many people as much as turnips and tap dancing. The shit I be reading with my own eyes. So in this post, we're going to cover her entire collection that's out now. Including the three new cute and fresh things that just came out recently, are already coded onto the Wiki because we work that fast--me and one of the content mods almost overlapped, we were so hype--and that I won't have personal pictures of until I place an order later in the month and wait two weeks for its arrival unless I want to pay a hit extra for two-day shipping.6
This post is probably one of my longest posts, right up there with my covering of the BeForever release in 2014. I, unlike some people in this fandom, know that on the internet we are made of words and don't show up cutting off my own fingers. There's no limit on how many letters we can use to type the whole word out instead of going "skskskkskss lol u say 2 much." I mean, character limits on Discord, but you can type twice! Even paragraphs! Boo boo, we gave up netspeak way back in the days of MySpace in the transition onto LiveJournal--but I'm pretty sure you weren't even potty trained when that was the hotness, if you were even so much as weaned. They don't even use that shit on Twitter and for years we only had 140 characters and could post via text message. In this thread I will--ahem.
Ahem. If you don't want to summon my death glare, keep your name out from behind your teeth. I've hexed people for less. I don't know why you keep trying to waste my time.
Are they gone? Good.
Get some snacks, yo. This is a double sided 90 minute cassette, with Side A about Nonsense in the Fandom and Side B about The Stuff. Moonwalk under the cut, and let's talk 80s, babies.
Including how I'm coming for everyone's necks today because these damn children have no idea how anything before 2000 worked.