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

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

AG Complaint Department: Never Too Old for American Girl - Or Anything Else!

Addy, Michi, and my mom's Cécile.
So, back on track with things on the blog: ranting, raving, reviews, and magazines.1 But first the ranting. Well, more like fussing and talking, as it were, on a topic that is pretty dear to me.

In this picture are three lovely dolls. To the left is my Addy, to the right is Michi Taylor, and in the center is Cécile. But Cécile's not mine2. This pretty girl belongs to my mother--I gifted her to my mom when I went to AG Houston, along with her starter accessories. When I told some people this, they were a little shocked that my mom wanted an AG doll. Why would grown people want dolls? Shouldn't we want things like babies, or cars, or booze or houses or other mature, adult things? Isn't doll collecting a sign of immaturity and not growing up?

Fuck no. AG dolls might have a lower limit in my eyes, but they have never had an upper limit. Children can be too young for dolls and toys. But people can never, never be too old for dolls.

Let's talk about me and Addy Walker. When I was about thirteen years old,  Addy Walker came out. I found out because I went to go visit my grandmother for Christmas in Milwaukee, and they had sent her an American Girl catalog for some reason. She let me look through it. And I vaguely remembered the line, and that I had liked Kirsten. But who was this on the cover? This pretty black doll in a pretty plaid dress being held while they read the story together?

I flipped past Felicity and Kirsten, and I saw her. A black doll in a cinnamon pink dress and a straw bonnet, who was part of history too.

Yep, just like that.

 Her name was Addy Walker. She had brown skin and brown eyes and long hair to her hips, and she was an American Girl. She was from 1864. She was a girl who, with her momma, had gotten her freedom. She had cap toed boots, and black stockings, and drawers and a cowrie shell necklace around her neck. And she was beautiful. I hadn't ever seen a doll like her. And this was back with the catalog centerfolds, so she was in all her 18 inches of glory. I fell in utter love with her, right then and there. I wanted her so bad.

I carried the catalog with me, and asked my grandmother for her for Christmas or my next birthday--I didn't want anything else, just her and her accessories and her three book set. Please, I begged, I'd read the books and take care of her and love her.

My grandmother took the catalog, and looked at her price, and she looked at me, and she said something that she didn't mean to be crushing, but it was.

"She's expensive. Aren't you too old to be asking for dolls and toys?"

My heart sank as I took the catalog away. Too old for dolls? But--I still liked them! I still had my Cabbage Patch kids, and my Barbies, and my plushies--I'd lost my ponies but I hoped someday to find them again3. I liked finding plushies at resale stores, and I loved cleaning up poor, sad dolls and giving them new fresh lives. I'd become very upset a year or so before when I'd started my period for the first time because everyone had told me that when you started your rag you had to start wearing makeup and kissing boys and not playing with toys anymore. I'd been so upset I'd tried to hide that I had started. My mom had told me this wasn't true, when she found out. But was she wrong? Could you be too old for dolls?

I decided no, no I couldn't be. And that I would get Addy Walker, someday. Rather than tell the whole story, I'll link to it on my DeeDubya: Addy's Story. To sum it up here: I finally got Addy for Giftmas 2005. And I barely put her down all day. I brushed her and dressed her and I called my mom and I cried because I had Addy. I snuggled with her at night and dressed her in days and I squeezed her and whispered that I loved her and I'd wanted her for twelve years and she was finally there with me.

The first picture I ever took of Addy Walker.

And even as I've expanded my AG collection to twenty-six dolls and several other dolls and more clothes than even I wear, I never forget that moment when I opened my box and I literally started crying that I had Addy. And my mother in law didn't think it was weird that her son's fiance wanted a doll more than anything that Giftmas. I started sewing for her, and then Naomi when she came along, and all my gang, and getting collections, and loving them all.

Addy was my first--and she's my most spoiled--but she wasn't my last. I'm thirty-three this fall, and my mom turned sixty-two this spring. And we love dolls. My late grandmother--my mom's stepmother--loved dolls too. When I was little, I used to love sitting in the living room and looking at her display dolls--she had them on tables and shelves and as long as I never knocked them over I could touch and be gentle with them. Unfortunately, the family got their hands on a lot of them--but my mom managed to get four of them for me, and I plan to have them in honored places in my home once I clean up more. My mom has never squashed my love of my dolls. So when my mom looked at Cécile and said she was the one she wanted--even more so than Addy--I bit down and picked her up and let my mom cradle her and saw my mom just grin brighter than she had in months. And my mom couldn't have been happier. She's going to start sewing and designing things for AG, and she calls Addy her granddolly.

But before my mom this summer, this spring I gifted a dear friend of mine with her own Marisol. Again, not doing the whole story. Look at Meet Mari: An American Girl. But from my side: I saw her on eBay, I bit down, and I had her come here and get cleaned up because I wanted to spread the dolly love. I made her a dress, got her a couple of outfits, and sent her as a birthday gift.  And now we exchange clothes and outfits and send our dolls packages back and forth along with each other. And we're grown women.

Marisol to the left, Miss Mari to the right. Dolls for all!
 As previously discussed on this blog, some children are way too young for American Girl Dolls. Mostly because they tear them up and don't take care of them. But at the same time, no one's ever too old for AG dolls. The line says 8+, but the dolls can be for anyone old enough to take the best care of them even in teens and twenties and thirties and eighties and beyond! Hell, if a person was born when AG started, they'd be in their mid twenties now, and people who were old enough when the line started would be in their thirties.4

Before I was board booted, I spoke to collectors ranging from mid-teens to old enough to be grandparents. (Not all of them were worth my time, but that is another complaint department.) I'm still friends with a lot of them, and stay in touch my own way. We don't feel like being an adult stops us from loving our dolls, or that we have to give them up to grow up. It's often cited to women that they need to mature when they get older, and that dolls are something you put away. But to quote C.S Lewis again, "When I was ten, I read fairy tales in secret and would have been ashamed if I had been found doing so. Now that I am fifty I read them openly. When I became a man I put away childish things, including the fear of childishness and the desire to be very grown up."

And to quote Maya Angelou after that: "Most people don't grow up. Most people age. They find parking spaces, honor their credit cards, get married, have children, and call that maturity. What that is, is aging." 

American Girls and the AG fandom can appeal and do appeal to everyone. There's probably going to be a few people getting Molly out of nostalgia for their childhood--either because they remember Molly from the first three in their childhood, or because they are old enough to have IDed with Molly. I'm sure there's adults who have Julie because she's from their childhood. And if they ever come out with an 80s doll, I might have to bear down and scoop her up. Or at least some of her stuff for Kimmy and Tyarra. The characters aren't just to teach the young about history--they're for older people too. And think about it--you're an adult! You might have disposable income, that you can spend on dolls in a way you couldn't as a kid.

I found this long ago on the internet:

Man I used to think like oh god if I went out and grew up and got a job and whatever other adult things, I wasn't going to be able to be in fandom any more. But then it was like holy shit, I have money. Holy shit, I can buy stuff. Holy shit, I can buy all the things and do all the things (that I can afford to pay for, anyway) and I don't have to answer to anybody. If I want to play Pokémon instead of watching a football game or something who's going to tell me not to? And if they do, I don't have to listen! Why? Because I'm a goddamn adult, that's why!
--case, on DW, Fandom Secrets #1983

And yeah, that's me in a nutshell. 

As I mess about on Tumblr, I see these teenagers who often go "Oh, I found my old AG doll in a closet, haha what am I gonna do with this I'm too old." Which sort of aches, because I remember being in that position and feeling like I couldn't have dolls anymore. (Lucky me, though, in that by the time the internet was stable enough I was past about 90% of my teenage issues, even if I struggle with depression.) I hope that maybe they won't give in to the idea they've aged on or that AG is just a childhood thing. But it's them and not me. I also see "I found my doll, so many good memories, but am I too old for this? I'm twenty/fifteen/etc." Nope. You're not too old. If your heart feels it, do it. Get your doll out, and her accessories. Brush her hair with some braid spray, kiss her nose and remember that you loved her once and there's no reason you can't love her again. And if you don't feel like you love your doll anymore--or for some reason, you really gotta have those concert tickets or new jeans or any of that--sell her or give her away.

But if you think that you have to tuck or sell or get rid of your AG with your menarche--let me be one of the people to say no you don't. Now, I'm not saying that if you're not a doll person, that you have to be. But if you are, or if you want to be--don't ever think that because you've gotten into middle school or high school or college or gotten married or had kids that you have to stop loving dolls. You don't have to use your kids as a cover, or say this is for them, or decide with your first pregnancy that you're going to put your dolls in the closet in a box and never look at them again until you hand them down because dolls are for little girls.

You're never too old to like dolls, toys, or any of the things that make you happy--and to act like you have to give up things to mature is bullshit.

Fuck the haters. Love your dolls.

Michi Taylor ain't any less doll loved than Addy Walker.


1 Yes, yes, I know I'm behind on my Magazine Monthly. But last month was rough, and I'm actually waiting on the paper doll that goes with issue 2, so if you're willing to wait a week or so, I can review her with the magazine. Sit tight. 
2 Mine was at home. >.>
3 I did, and more besides.
4 You know, like me. 


  1. Hear, hear! This 36-year-old is PROUD to have her Miss Mari, and her ponies, and her MH and I don't care who wants to give me shit for it, cause I'm gonna do what I love. And that's collecting toys, and talking with other collectors.

    Love you, Neth.

    1. I'm 57 and just got my first AG doll " Mary Ellen". Love her!!!

    2. I absolutely love your blog and as an adult woman who adores dolls I am with you :) I am about to purchase my first American girl, yay :)

    3. Me too! I recently purchased a used Lanie Holland AG GOTY 2010 on eBay and a few outfits on the AG website. During the Christmas Holiday, I took her to the American Girl Store in LA and it was magical! I had so much fun and picked out a few nice things. Sure some adults were looking at me weird but who cares? I was happy and thats all that mattered! I also have a ton of Monster High dolls and 2 of the Monster High high schools. As long as it makes me happy. I am 24 btw.

    4. I'm a late 90s kid so I grew up seeing catalogs of American Girl. Every year from the time I was around six or seven, I would beg my parents for the only Native American Doll, Kaya (I'm half on my father's side so it meant a lot seeing a doll with the same background). Sometimes it was all I wanted. But every year, an unseen bill or something happened and they could never afford one.
      Then, three years ago, when I was 18, my mother and I went on a trip to New York and when I saw the American Girl Store on 5th Avenue, the little girl in me came out and I begged mom to make a side-stop. Then, when we got in the store, I saw her. Kaya, sitting in her box just waiting. I bought her, her accessories, her special occasion buckskin dress, and her winter accessories (along with a few modern outfits including a New York AG t-shirt)
      When we got to our hotel, I tore the box open and hugged her like I'd always wanted to. I was so happy that the doll I wanted for so long was finally mine.
      I'm 21 now and I still love her and treasure her.

  2. My Mom actually bought herself a Molly after buying my sister and I each our own AG. She fell in love with Molly, because they were born in the same time period... so it's an absolutely awesome trip down nostalgia lane for her... and it's so much fun getting her Molly's accessories and watching her go, "Oh! I used to have that!!" XD

    I agree with you 100% as well. I'm 34 and LOVE toys and dolls... I collect Pure Neemos and Dollfie Dreams... and figures, and Barbies... and Monster High... and... and... you get the picture. I'm not ashamed. It all makes me happy. Screw the haters.

    New follower on your blog (via RSS)
    I can't wait to read more of what you have to say.

  3. ...I think you've just convinced me that I'm not too old to buy the two dolls I want :)

  4. When I was about 12 years old my mom told me, that I was getting too old for my lego belville and my barbies. She said I didnt play with it annymore, and that we should give it to a thrift store. Now I feel like there is nothing worse, than adult telling a child he/she cant keep his/her toys.

    Im still figuring out, that im not too old for toys. Two years ago when I started dating my boyfriend, I remember telling him how much I missed my lego. He told me that I should just buy it again, I told him I was too old - but he couldent see the problem. He helped me find a buy, alot of lego sets i had or whanted as a child. Fall 2012 I was verry sad, and I decided it was time to bring back dolls in my life.

    My dolls helped me, get through my depression. Im grateful my boyfriend told me I werent too old, and suported me about it every day since. I really enjoy reading doll blogs, written by adult womens. It makes me feel like, there is nothing in the world more normal than an adult buying toys

  5. Thank you so much for saying that! I hate it when people say I'm too old for dolls! (I'm in my 20s.)

  6. Sometime can you write a complaint department post about the mainstream fandom?

    1. Oh, there will be many, many on those. I have a lot to bitch about. There might be diagrams. VENN DIAGRAMS. And a whiteboard.

  7. Not entirely related to doll/toy fandom, but I disagree slightly with never being too old for ANYTHING hobby-wise; I'm working on a new cosplay outfit, which makes me remember... certain other cosplayers. People in any fandom should not dress up as prepubescent children when they themselves are old enough to be the parents of children that age, for example. >_> At least not in public, because it's CREEPY.

    (Not that I'm trying to be the Fandom Police, but I imagine you remember who I'm talking about...)

    I was a little surprised when you mentioned getting an AG for your mom, but that only because I don't recall hearing that she's into dolls. However, since I do recall that she was the one who taught you to sew... think you'll soon be showing off HER beautiful creations, too? :-)

  8. Hi there, I just happened to stumble on your blog from your comments at The Toy Box Philosopher and was thoroughly happy to read this post! Within the past year I've come to recognize and accept the fact that I still really like dolls, despite having had to pretend otherwise for years (I'm 25).. but have still been sensitive about it. Last month I bought a Monster High doll in Fry's Electronics and a complete stranger, this middle aged guy waiting in line with his kids, decided it was his duty to make a comment about it. He looked at the doll, looked at me, and said scathingly "Aren't you a little too old for dolls?" Too which I emphatically said "Never!" but then it bothered me the rest of the day. And kind of still has until now. So, thank you for reaffirming so strongly what I already know: that there's absolutely nothing wrong with liking what I like. And if it happens to be dolls, so be it.

  9. I'm a white lady of your mother's age, and I just got my own Addy last year, but I feel about her much as you do. Often I pick her up and look into her beautiful brown eyes and just can't put her down again, even though my hands have housework to do. (I manage somehow, heh heh....) Miss Walker is just plain awesome, there's no doubt about that, and I'm so happy I made her acquaintance and brought her home.

    I also have Julie, and love her too, mainly because she possesses the super-long, straight "hippie hair" that I never could grow on my own head during my teen years. Don't know if that counts as being "from my childhood," but to each their own.....

    You said things that very much needed to be said in this post, Neth, and thank you for doing it! I hope that everyone who loves dolls but has doubts will somehow read this and be empowered to stand up to those people who would spoil their fun .

  10. Thank you! I've been looking at American Girl Dolls for a few years and thought I had to wait until my granddaughter got old enough to get one for her and found that after looking at them so many times I fell in love with them myself. I found a Just Like You girl very reasonable second hand that I'm waiting for her to get here. My husband has even said he will take me to the American Girl Store in Dallas or Houston for my birthday. I feel like it's Christmas!

  11. So very true! Thank you for this inspiring and uplifting post - do what you like while honoring your responsibilities, and realize that's what being a grown up is actually all about.

    I sometimes feel a twinge of concern about others' opinions of my plush animals flit across my mind; I generally dismiss it pretty quickly, but it's so nice to see someone else confirm this attitude for me.

  12. Thankyou for this post, you made me laugh, you made me cry. I turned 40 last May, and still feel awkward when I get spotted in toy shops/departments, the left over sting from teenage ridicule, but I think I'm getting better at confessing I love dolls, that it's for me and not for some imaginary younger neice.
    Barbie was a big part of my life up until 2010, when I bought an 18 inch doll - BFC ink Addison. Whilst I don't have an AG doll, though I did have a brief encounter with Marisol, I love reading the blogs about dolls and stuff and came across yours via the Toychest Snarker.
    BFC ink Addison (Maddelyn Foster) now shares the dollhouse ( a work in progress) with 30 others of her kind (a bit overboard maybe) but I love all of them, there may be another on her way. Need a bigger room.

  13. Yes, I'm going to save this post of yours. Thank you for writing it. As a middle aged woman, I have a hard time fully accepting my love of dolls. Although I have a large collection it's something I feel embarrassed about even though I still collect. I can only deal with a few around me at a time as a result. Strange since doll collecting is in my family genes. My grandmother, mother and older sister all love dolls. I just feel somehow like I shouldn't and probably always will. One multicultural doll line I love and that isn't very well known are Vanange dolls. I own three at present and would encourage others to look them up on the Internet. It's not the best web site but the dolls are beautiful and the outfits that the line has are carefully made. They come with books too, but I must confess I didn't pay too much attention to them. Don't know if you have covered this line already. This was my first stop on your blog and certainly won't be my last.

  14. As said another Anonymous(sort of), I think you might have convinced me that I'm not too old to ask for a Monster High doll for Christmas (and have that be the only thing, cause really those dolls cost. Not as much as America Girl (or Maplelea Girls since I'm in Canada) but still...).
    I think the way you put it dolls are kinda like books sometimes. You feel like you're suppose to read the 'Hunger Games' but you still keep picture books from when you were a kid and read them before bed.
    (Ok, nothing like that other person said.)

  15. I am 54 years old, and I have collected 30+ AG dolls. They make me smile. I purchased a sewing machine to relearn how to sew so I can craft accessories and outfits for them. For the first time in years, I am back in the craft departments, checking out material and ribbons. I am sanding, painting and repurposing doll furniture. I am researching and collecting antique dolls now. What I enjoy most is seeing how other people interpret the same dolls that I have in different ways...how the dolls are an extension of their creativity and personality. I enjoy the cottage industry that has sprung as a result of the 18 inch little girls, and that on any given day there are over 50,000 listings on eBay for American Girl Doll. I love the empowerment message these dolls carry to ALL females of ANY age! I don't imagine I would be any better off collecting stiletto heels or designer dresses, sports cars or Pandora bracelets.

  16. Thank you for this. I stumbled across this after doing a Google search for "is it weird for an adult to collect american girl" because for a long time I've been really hard on myself for wanting to own some AG dolls. I'm 34, pregnant with my first child, and therefore supposed to be grownup and mature and not want dolls anymore. I've come up with lots of reasons why I shouldn't buy the dolls (they cost too much, I don't have anywhere to put them, people will judge me, etc). But the truth is that having dolls makes me happy. I shouldn't be ashamed of liking something that makes me happy. It's so great to see your story and know that there are other adults out there who love dolls and aren't ashamed of it. I don't need to be ashamed of it either. So now instead of making excuses, I'm going to save up and get my Rebecca (and Josefina and Cecile). And I will love them. Thank you again. I'm going to remember this post. :)

  17. This post rocks my socks! I am 47 and just got my first AG doll -- Molly -- yesterday. Bought it for myself when I saw that AG would be retiring her soon. Couldn't stand the thought of missing out on her, as I had secretly longed for her for many years. Felt like Christmas morning, and I had bought her with my own money ... a gift to ME, and that's a thing I rarely do. Or if I buy things I love I end up giving them away, as if I don't deserve them. No way is Molly ever going anywhere. She is home to stay. :-)

  18. Thanks You for the encouragement, I went through a thought time when younger and I lost all my cabbage patch dolls due to a fire in my grandmas apartment. Plus my mom had dolls and did nit hqve space and gave them to me, but then I had to mive and had no space. I loved my cabbage patch dolls so much I used to just look at them sitting neatly, and doing her hair. Again Thank You Sister I really really appreciate this article.

  19. I like dolls too and I am 48. I just started 2 years ago and I have quite a few. I love them all.

    1. Hi Lula, I am 45. :-) I'm enjoying the great crafting movement too. Men are into toys our age as well, my husband is off with his friends to play with model train sets!

  20. I am getting Cecile tonight. Yeah! I am going to the American Girl Doll store in dallas texas

  21. Hi, I just wanted to tell you how much I loved this post. My parents thought something was wrong with me because I still played with my Barbie & Ken when I was 13. I had dressed them in stone age costumes and made them a "cave" in the back yard with rocks and mud, and made all kinds of artifacts for them. They were even domesticating a toy reindeer. I loved making stories with my dolls and since I didn't have any friends anyway, I didn't feel any pressure to give them up just because I had reached a certain age.

    So I was really sad when my little niece confessed to me that one of the kids at school accused her of still playing with dolls, and everyone made fun of her because she was obviously too old for them. And so of course she "had to" deny liking dolls. And she is only 8 years old! I told her that she can play with dolls as long as she likes and told her how long I played with them. She was relieved to hear that she is not the only one who has made stories with her dolls.

    I'm about your mom's age and I have always wanted an American Girl doll. I remember when the dolls first came out. I loved them because they were historical characters with interesting books, and they had such breathtaking accessories. My how that centerfold of Addy takes me back! But they were just too expensive for me to even consider. I lost track of the AG world for many years and did not know until recently that so many of the historical dolls were no longer available. I hope to someday have the courage to spend the money to buy Josefina who I think has a lovely face. (Plus, she's from New Mexico where my own ancestors came from.) I would also like Kaya -- again, I love her face. And maybe Ivy and Addy.

    In the meantime, I've kind of collected some less expensive 18 inch dolls whom I love to sew for: Alejandra (an Our Generation doll), Grace (a used Madame Alexander) whose face reminds me of another niece, a Heidi Ott doll found in a thrift store, a very old thrift store Madame Alexander, and Hannah from Extra Special Dolls who was not cheap, but whose manufacture I was trying to support by pre-ordering.

    Sorry to be nattering on so. But reading your post and the comments made me feel like I had stumbled across some kindred spirits.


  22. Hi,
    Thank you so much for your post. It's really cool to find other people that are into Dolls as well. I got mocked for a really long time about the Dolls that I order, and keep (My bedroom is completely doll oriented), especially because I'm so close to twenty -one. You're awesome . Finding your post really helped with a rough week. :)

  23. I had a good laugh at your posts. Thankyou. I really enjoyed your honesty. Hehe. Thanks, I am following you now. :-)

  24. I never had any decent dolls when I was a kid. I grew up in russia in the 90s when everyone was extremely poor. I had one or two stuffed animals and a cheap chinese Barbie knock off that was ugly compared to the actual real Barbies. At that time I never saw a girl brushing her dolls hair because we just didnt have such dolls back then - with brushable hair. The other girls mostly collected Barbie knock offs or kinder egg toys but my mom was so poor she couldnt afford even that. When I was six I started school and my mom told me that now Im too old for toys. I had to do chores around the house. I had to bring my younger brother back from daycare at 4 AM everyday, feed him, do my homework and entertain the brother untill mom came home. If i ever wanted anything it was usually some icecream or a stick of gum. I dont remember ever asking for toys, going away on holidays or even to go to the movies. none of this was affordable. so basically at six I knew I wasnt getting any new toys and besides I was to busy to play with toys anyway so I basically convinced myself that I didnt need any more toys and was already an adult at six, not a little kid anymore. Now Im 27, married to an american and living between UK and USA. A year ago I discovered through a blog very much like yours that american girl dolls existed. at first I though that a random moms fascination with little kids toys is stupid. toys were smth I had forgotten to love and play with 11 years ago. but the more I found out about the dolls, the more I liked them especially their historical aspect. Two months ago when we were in Chacago I found an Elizabeth doll on sale on craigslist and brought her home. she was beyond beautiful, better than any doll ive ever seen in my life. when my mom first bought me that fake barbie I wasnt even happy. I never even wanted a barbie I just had to get one because everyone else had one and I was afraid to become the outsider. so when my mom finally gave me one on my fourth birthday I sighed with relief. but I didnt like her ugly little face, her easily tangeble hair or her awkward grown up body. I never asked for another one and my mom assumed I am not a doll person and too old for toys anyway - at six!
    but with elizabeth it was a whole different story. the doll looked like a precious little girl, a lot like me as a kid. and she was so huggable with such soft and shiny hair! I realized that I am and probabyl was a doll a person. I just never had the right doll. now I cannot wait until my daughter turns four so that we can play with AG dolls and share those sweet moments together. one thing though. as much as I enjoy brushing my dolls hair and making outfits for her, I do not actually play with her like a role play like when I was a kid. I think that would be a bit weird for my taste. I wait untill my daughter is old enough so that we can finally play together.

  25. huzzah!! I started purchasing at age 50 when i realized Hey i can afford that BJD ! After 7 of those i got some porcelain, and today I look forward to getting Julie ! I dug out my old Chatty Cathy and made her over today.
    Thanks for this post :-)

  26. I love this post! I grew up playing with Barbie and The Sunshine Family, fell in love with AG shortly after they came out, I was already an adult. My husband got me Samantha for Christmas that year--I was 26. I have bought things over the years for her, but this year I really got the bug. Just last week I bought Rebecca as my early 50th birthday present, and I'm trying to get a good deal on Kit on Ebay.

    My mom was a Barbie collector and when she passed away, I ended up with all of them. They just weren't my thing, so I sold them all off on Ebay to make space for my AG and Sunshine Family obsession. I also have her 1/12 scale dollhouse and I've recently decided that I am going to sell it all off too because I'm just not in to it, I'd rather get more AG stuff! I don't know what it is about these dolls, but they are just so addictive. Long story short--I feel bad for young girls who are told that they are too old for dolls, I don't think I've ever outgrown them (or bears or Lego), I just changed which ones I like. Someone asked if I was going through my second childhood and I said "heck, the first one never ended!"

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  28. Hi! I'm eighteen years old and AG dolls don't even exist here where I live: it would cost around 200$ to have them shipped to Italy, which is A LOT! Plus I've now reached that age where people are not supposed to ask for toys anymore, even if they spend every free second they have on the american girl website, imaging how it would feel like if I could have Samantha in my arms. I then found a website where mini AG dolls are sold and then shipped to europe for free and almost flipped out! After reading your beautiful post I'm thinking of getting the old mini Addy, just like the one you have, with the gorgeous cinnamon-pink dress: I find her so special and adorable! I'm so so happy! I hope one day I'll be able to have a "real" one too. I guess I'll just keep dreaming for now. After reading your post I realized I should not be ashamed of myself and just ask for one since I really really love them. Thank you again!

  29. My kids are all grown up and I am 46. This past Christmas I was on a mission to organize a Christmas beyond any kids dream for a very needy family. The little girl in the family is a lover of any kind of dolls. I found a Springfield doll and a local person who makes 18 inch doll clothes. I put together a beautiful decorated box with the doll, Maria and a bunch of outfits and shoes for her. The whole time I was thinking, I want one of these for myself. I bought two Springfield Dolls, Maria and Emma. Then, a Journey Girl Chavonne from Toys R Us, then I saw a review of an FAO Schwartz doll named Avery from Amazon and bought her along with countless outfits from Target, Springfield and Toys R Us. I am so Hooked!!!!!!! For my birthday, my wonderful, understanding Hubby took me to the AG store for the 1st time and let me pick whatever American Girl I wanted. I can't tell you how happy this made me. I chose Caroline Abbot and now just ordered #49. My collection is growing so quick but I just love them so much. I love doing their hair and putting together different outfits. My daughter thinks I am nuts but I say one day when you have a little girl, this will be for her to love too. I don't think anyone is ever too old to enjoy these lovely dolls. I wish they would have been around when I was a girl so now I get to enjoy them. At first, I kept my love for these dolls my "dirty little secret" but now I say loud and proud, I am an adult collector. I am so thankful I found your blog!!

  30. After indulging myself by purchasing the lovely Rebecca Rubin doll I kept noticing myself trying to make sense of my need for a doll at 27. Instead of just patting myself on the back and enjoying it all I was hung up about what it said about me-- well I am so grateful to hear from so many confident adult doll owners. I'm embracing this full throttle. No more second guessing the innocent pleasures that make me smile!

  31. I am so glad to find this blog. I am a 30+ woman, who still loves her ag dolls. I'm glad I am not the only one.

  32. I used to play with my Just Like You American girl doll constantly. Four years ago I got a second, Elizabeth Cole, and she never got taken out of the box. Pressure to stop playing with dolls has kept her in there, and now it's because she's irreplaceable. Even though I remembered that I loved them and played with them and the games online (side note: why did they get rid of the beekeeping game! Ugh!), I had gotten depressed and a death in the family was just a nail in the coffin. Moving far away from friends didn't help, and I ended up socially isolating myself. The dolls got put away in boxes.

    But the move HAD been good for me. Getting a handle on my sexual and gender identities helped enormously, and I'm finally in a decent place. But the dolls were still in boxes, and I got enough of myself together to realize that the kid who had cried when they opened the first American Girl Doll box would *not* have put up with just abandoning them. Bringing them into my room caused the Bitty Baby to be redressed in my favorite outfit of hers (I was, and still am, considering passing her down to a cousin- but she needs to get older I've ultimately decided by watching her play with her own dolls). And then I reread the copy of Josephina's book. And then realizing that all of the 18" doll clothes had been lost, finding them, and changing Christina (the atrocious spelling in her fill-in-the-blank book is not fit to be seen) into clothes and cleaning her up a little. Playing with her reminded me how much fun dolls are, and still! Still I couldn't justify buying another doll. Or even sewing my own doll clothes, because it would be weird. So I tried looking at anything by vinyl dolls- but I already knew a few secrets about porcelain dolls having gotten one young. Usually they can't sleep (my favorite bedtime ritual with dolls is putting them to sleep, and I do it every time I know I won't be touching them for awhile) and more often than not, they aren't huggable. I still unapologetically have a large collection of stuffed animals for different reasons, but dolls aren't as common. Expensive 18" soft body dolls even less so. Looking at hair tutorials on YouTube had mostly young girls, and none of them looked like I did. They played with their dolls very different than I did. They were very unlikely to have read as much feminist discourse as I do. I finally gave in and searched tumblr and found other older collectors who also cared about the same things I cared about which was somewhat comforting, because it's much easier not being the first to think about it.

    To be honest I never expected to see a post like this though, but now it's pretty clear I should have, and it was exactly what I needed to hear. I'm not sure how long I could have put off buying another doll, but I'm betting awhile. Something like that would have been easy to do all the way through college, even well past that. And I would have kept it to myself because I'd still believe something was wrong with it, or with me specifically. So, after this probably longer than necessary life history, I'd like to thank you for this incredibly important post because you've saved me a lot of time. I hope people can find this post when they need the support, too. I'll probably come back to read this again to squash the rest of my doubts when they appear.

  33. My story echos yours in several ways, I first got into American Girl dolls from the catalog when I was a young girl terrified of outgrowing everything I loved. I asked for one every Christmas, but my family didn't have the money. I didn't get my first American girl doll until my 20s from Ebay after doing a lot of research on repairs. I haven't looked back since. I'd rather buy clothes for my dolls than for me. The story of how you finally got your Addy brought tears to my eyes. This is such an important thing for people to tell everyone, especially young girls who are too often told they have to grow up and sometimes their parents force them to get rid of their dolls as my parents did with my barbies when I became a teenager. Teen girls need to hear that they don't have to change for anyone and are allowed to enjoy whatever they like forever.

  34. My mother is 70+ and has dozens of AG dolls. And their collections. I think she has every one ever made, including MyAG/JLM/TrulyMe dolls (except Julie, Marie-Grace, Cecile, Mary Ellen, Z. Yang, and Tenney/Logan) and duplicates and customs, including "boy" dolls, plus wardrobes, accessories, and furniture. She has a whole room that belongs to her dolls and their stuff. My daughter and I have 11 (12 soon, because my mother is buying Nanea for me for my birthday). Most of our collection is from ebay. My mother got us Samantha (Pleasant Company!), Molly, and classic (pre-BeForever)Kit. We love making them clothes (pixiefaire.com is my friend), food, books (thank you JinjiaMixedGoods!), and everything else. One is NEVER "too old" for dolls, especially AG dolls!

  35. I'm 35 and I've always loved dolls, but like a lot of girls and women I was told I was too old to have dolls. I believed them for many years. Only within the last year have I started collecting18 inch dolls again. I'm hoping to purchase my first AG doll in a couple of weeks. Never let anyone tell you, you can't love what you love!!

  36. I recieved Maryellen and some of her clothes for my 18th birthday, and I was ecstatic! I think I almost cried because I was so happy to have such a beautiful, new doll. I still love all three of my dolls very much (Felicity, Maryellen, and Bailey - #23 from 2010), and I'm planning on getting Luciana Vega for my 19th birthday in a few weeks! Now that I have a full time job and have moved out of my parents' house, I feel so much more freedom to love doll collecting than I did in high school.

  37. This post made me extremely happy haha, so well written!

  38. This post made me really happy, too! I was a teenager when American Girl dolls really took off in the 90s and secretly longed for one but felt awkward and too old to get one. But I loved the historical characters and the fact that they had books. Now I’m 42 and just bought my first one—Addy, cause she’s amazing. But I’ve definitely been feeling self-conscious about it. Thank you for making it slightly less weird.


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