American Girl, keep giving us Dolls of Color for Girls of the Year.

Friday, April 26, 2013

AG Complaint Department: Sorry, Nostalgia Kiddos, But AG Was Never "Radical"

Wait, people think American Girl was radical back in the day? Surely you jest, Uncle Gard!
So there's been this article that's been at the edge of my AG sphere for a few days: American Girls Aren't Radical Anymore. To sum up the article snarkily: American Girl started out as SUPER RADICAL FIGHT THE POWER CHANGE THE WORLD with their stories and historical characters. But then Mattel stepped in and watered them down into 18 inch Just Like You clones, mini-Barbies and wimp girls of the year who at most stand up for the environment or art or gymnastics or whatever the hotness for the year is while kicking the Historicals out the door like so much past flippery-dip, and they have the catalogs to prove it. This article is circling around places such as Tumblr and creating that lovely flood of nostalgia that is likely prompting teenage and twenty-something year old girls all around to dig Molly and Samantha out of dusty closets and brush them up and read their books again while making snuggle cuddles.

That's nice. But now is the part of the evening where I sit you down, unsheathe the truth claws, and pop everyone's nostalgia bubble.

AG was never, ever, ever as radical or pushing against society as this article (and some follow up articles) seem to want to make them out to be. The Historicals are dolls with some educational flavor in the books. While several series did brush over some "sensitive" topics, they never go that deep, push back that much, and they don't hit as hard as nostalgia goggles let people think they do. The topics are watered down and glossed over for the palate of the average middle to upper class girl, and not much past that. I should know--I've read the books many times.1

Normally I don't do posts back to back, but this wailing and gnashing of teeth over AG is getting on my last damn nerve. Get behind the cut for the realness.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Historical Clothes Reviews: Felicity's Riding Habit

Felicity's Riding Habit. For Felicity. Not for anyone else.
Forgive the lack of posts recently. Things came up. Anyways, on to the topic at hand: A Historical Review! Not only do I have a lot of modern clothing and items, I have a lot of historical items as well.

We're going to start with Felicity Merriman. Felicity was one of the earliest AG dolls (coming out after the first three of Sam, Mol, and Kirsten) and representing the Colonial period. Which was a little weird seeing as Ms. Rowland was inspired to create the whole line when she went to Colonial Williamsburg, but whatever, I just buy the dolls and snark about the fandom and the fail. Felicity was released in 1991 (and thus got rid of the white body dolls1), half ass retired in 2002 with the release of Kaya, and fully "archived" in 2011, leaving only her books and some extras for purchase. Felicity and some of her clothes and things were my Giftmas present from my husband in 2006, and as of now I have a pretty solid amount of her collection--minus outfits I think are either too hideous to have or too expensive to pay for at present. What can I say, I'm picky.

One of the first things I got for Felicity was her Riding Habit and Hat, partially because my husband picked it out for me as better than the Tea Dress (which I got later). The Pleasant Company version was released in 1993 and retired in 2002; the 2005 version was released when Felicity's movie was released, and retired when her collection was in 2011. I got the Mattel version direct for costs at the time of $28 bucks. Then a few weeks ago I found the first release for the lowish price of $45 and even though it didn't have the hat, I snapped it up. This review is done with the PC2 version, except the hat which I don't think had a significant change. Seeing as Felicity and her entire collection are retired, secondary prices are variant--from about cost at $28 to highs of $60-70. This is regardless of PC or Mattel, it looks.

Before I go into the review, let me put my foot down about something. Unless I don't have the character doll whatsoever, I do my historical reviews on the appropriate historical or a doll close to the era. None of this Addy's clothes on modern white girls shit. But that is another rant.

Note: For some reason Blogger was not uploading my pics direct, so I uploaded them all via Picasa. They won't get any bigger. If I can't find out why, this is the wave of the future. We'll all live. I also did the entire review with a background of Felicity's Scenes and Settings.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Crafting Creatively - Things I've Made: Addy's Blue Lace-trimmed Dress and Dorothy's Blue Dotted Dress

Let's show off some crafty stuff!
It's time for more Crafting Creatively, where not only do I give tips on doing stuff right, but examples on how to do it right, in my eyes. Since I tend to not babble too much about my crafting, I'll likely do these in bursts of twos and threes--not including going through my backlog of crafts, and even examples where I mucked it up. (There are quite a few things I have made and later ditched in my crafting life, not gonna lie to you.) I tend to lean towards expanding the historical wardrobe, especially because I have so many created ones. Modern stuff is a lot easier to find to expand a wardrobe.

Today, we will cover two historical outfits I've made recently: Addy's Blue Lace-Trimmed Dress and Dorothy's Blue Dotted Dress. Forgive some of my bad pic taking and Addy's hair being flyaway; I was a touch groggy.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Creating Original Historicals for Fun and Frivolity: Naming Tips

Edith May Anderson and Dorothy Gale McNeil. I researched hard.
So you've picked a time period to put your created historical in. Congrats! One of the hardest steps is done. You've picked the decade you want to set this all in. Now on to another hard step: naming your character. Names make the doll--and the character in this case. The name you pick can either cause you to crash and burn or soar and fly.

The main thing is that authenticity will get you. Every damn time. It is the major way people fuck up making a historical character and it's where I find myself face palming every time. If you want to name your character McKayla Piper Wallace, that's all well and good for your modern girl1, but they didn't name girls that back in the 19th century, and it's really going to jar your authenticity to do that mess.

Let's stop you from naming historical your girl a name that makes us go "Eugh, that's...nice." and get you to to a name that makes us go "Oooo, that's nice!"