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

Monday, February 24, 2014

Magazine Monthly: September/October 1993

Finally we get to the next issue, in February.
I missed November, December, and January Magazine Monthlies. (Well, November was out of my hands.) I'm going to do my best not to miss any more. Back on track and all.

Cover Model, Veronica Pepe.
This month's cover model, Veronica Pepe (age nine) is now in fourth grade and will be getting to learn Spanish! (Hopefully from someone more skilled than Peggy Hill.) Her study tip is that you can get more done in a quiet room when studying. Well, that might work for some people but I can't think without music on. Also, when I was younger I was confused by people being nine in the fourth grade because I was ten for most of the year. Fall babies, what you gonna do.

Ah, but one of the best parts of this magazine is right on the Table of Contents: Addy, the then-new American Girl! It only took seven years, AG, for you to add some color to history.

So that's how they covers.
This month's letters to the editor include the girl who forgot about her dead hamsters until she read the story from the other month, another girl who lives without TV, and a girl who doesn't think that baby sitting is a good topic for AG Magazine because most readers are 8-12 and still need baby sitters, including her at eleven. Are you implying that Mallory Pike, Age Eleven, was not old enough to baby-sit? She was so mature. 

And the hundred dollar question: just how do they get the cover models? (Answer: Professional models.)

Expressing Girls.
Girls Express starts with our word of the month, discombobulate, which is a lot of syllables to say "futzed up." Then we have an article about Missoula's Children's Theatre, which bounces around the country running plays and fast acting camps for children. Sarah, age eleven, got to star in a country-Western version of Beauty and the Beast. And they still do this, which is kind of cool beans.

Black girls in music.
We also have a short article about a group of black girls who called themselves Express Yourself Club and put on a fashion show and talent show at a local nursing home. The show got them prize money they donated to help families get day care.

Other topics:
  • Girl Power! Ways of changing the word such as by recycling and donating to Somalia
  • POGs, which were the new fucking hotness in the 90s. 
  • AG wanting you to design a sweatshirt for a contest
  • Reading books and forming a book club 
This also includes answers from May/June's poll about cheerleading. With 262 answers, 45% say it's a big deal at their school, 55% said nope. I never bothered with cheerleading in any of the schools I went to.

Shopping with Mom.
Talk It Out: School Clothes. Ah, the days when most schools didn't stick you in uniforms out of some misguided idea that it would make you learn any better. A lot of complains are mom that pick out stuff their daughters don't want to wear, or want them to still be their little girl. Dear moms: At about age 8-12, many girls don't want to be cute and adorable, they want to be fashionable. Let us have and figure our own styles within reason. Your daughters are not mini-you. We will find ways to not wear shit. (Granted, I wasn't much of a rebel in the fashion department. Jeans and t-shirts were good for me for the most part, except for the time I discovered I liked mid drift tops and bell bottom pants in the late 90s.)

Hannah, an excerpt.
The non-AG story in this book is an excerpt from Hannah, a children's book set in the late 1880s around Hannah, a young blind girl and the teacher that comes to stay at their house and gives her a chance to go to school instead of being neglected. I plan to get the actual book.

Working Girls - Then and "Now." Now is for the fun...
Ah, the good historical articles. This month's is about girls who have jobs nowadays more for the fun of helping, contrasted with jobs of the past that were for labor and need. The modern jobs are a girl who helps her minister father, a girl who helps at her family flower shop, a girl who (and I like this) helps her dad on archeological digs, and two girls who help out at a furniture shop.

Then we delve into the past.

Then was for the funds.
The past includes an Italian girl in 1911 who made lace at home (back when Italians were not considered "white"); a black sharecropper in the early 1900s, a cotton spinner in 1909--if you read Samantha Learns a Lesson you've gotten a taste of what happened there--and an oyster shucker from 1911. The pictures taken helped work for labor laws that set a minimal age for work and even minimal wage rights.

I included the image of the young girl working as a sharecropper, because my grandmother on my mom's side and grandfather both spent the years of their childhood as sharecroppers, which was only a half step away from slavery. Sharecropping went on for decades, and still goes on in a form in many places. Cheap fruits and veggies have a price.

Get your school on.
Since this is a school issue, there's an article on getting new, creative school supplies. This covers not only interesting supplies for different student styles, but A to Z tips for school learning. I especially love the Knuckle Calendar, to remember long months verses short ones. This also has the mnemonic "My Very Educated Mother Just Served Us Nine Pizzas." to remember the planets in order. Back when, you know, Pluto was classified as a planet. Now it's a dwarf something. Still counts in astrology.

Halloween parties rock.
 When in doubt, have parties! This includes ideas for bat invitations, lollipop ghosts, and ice cream jack o' lanterns. (It specifies Tootsie Pops in the ghosts, but I can't do that. Or the spider cookies.)

Paper dolls of you.
Want to make a paper doll of yourself? Here's some tips. First. get a camera and take a picture of yourself in a leotard, which is a lot easier nowadays. Then stick it on some foam board, cut out, and start designing some clothes! I love paper dolls.

After this is the six winners of the American Girl Poetry contest. I think they still do contests annually. After that is some Giggle Gang stuff, blah blah blah  puzzles and jokes--


Since Addy had just debuted as the newest American Girl, we get an excerpt of her first book, Meet Addy. It's basically Chapter 3 of Meet Addy, so I won't go into too much detail because I plan to when I start doing Book Blathers in details. This is the chapter right after Addy and Momma start to run to freedom. It even has the good, strong illustration of Addy and her mother in the river by Melodye Rosales.

Sojourner Truth.
Looking Back, we go into details about Sojourner Truth's life. She not only ran from enslavement in New York State, she got all her children out of slavery and spent the rest of her life not only speaking to end slavery, but for black women's rights too. The magazine gets this wrong, saying that the "Ain't I A Woman?" speech was to a man who said women were too weak to vote. But the most famous version was directed towards women's rights activists who tried to act as if black women weren't worthy of the same rights as white women, and that latching to black people would drag the movement down.

Help!'s questions discuss dealing with asthma, fighting with your mom, why it's a dick move to leave disabled girls out of friendships, and how it's also a dick move to not be nice to other girls because they don't have name-brand clothing.

The painting at the back in the Imagine Spot is The Country School by Winslow Homer, focusing one the one room school house and how girls sat in one spot and boys on the other.

Paper Doll #6: Chrissy
This month's paper doll, #6, Chrissy Lanning, can trace her family back to her three-great grandmother in 1849 Italy. Chrissy, nine, is in the fourth grade in Dallas and wants to grow up to work for Disney. I don't have a punched out set of Chrissy, so there will be no dressing up.

Chrissy gets a blue leotard that matches the color she's assigned; another trait that will carry forward for the rest of the series.

1849 Marianna
Marianna, Chrissy's great-three grandma, grew up in Italy. Her outfit is a long pleasant blouse and long cotton skirt. She's also got a ribbon sash and is holding grapes.

1884 Francesca.
Francesca, Chrissy's double great grandmother, has a Holy Communion dress that was passed down from mother to daughter, and while she didn't get to keep the dress she got to keep the lace she placed on it. There's also a veil included as well. I actually like First Communion dresses, even though there is nothing Catholic about me.

1912 Matilda.
Matilda, Chrissy's Great grandmother, also lives in the same village that Marianna lived in. I like the simplicity of this dress; short on ruffles and frills, and very conservative for the era. Not every early century era outfit was ruffles and lace.

1935 Mary.
Chrissy's grandmother likely was the daughter of immigrants, what with living in Wisconsin. Her outfit is based on a style popularized by Shirley Temple, the high dress  with no waist definition. This one happens to be based on "Baby Take a Bow" Too girly for Kit.

1993 Chrissy.
As for Chrissy--I adore her outfit. Mostly because it's a Catholic school jumper.  When I was younger I went through a stage where I loved wearing plaid jumpers with white or yellow blouses, even though I went to public school. The bows on the shoes are about the only dated part of the outfit.

Next time: Giftmas comes back!
Next time on Magazine Monthly: Nutcrackers, allowances, present ideas, and fabulous doll houses. And Samantha jacks some pearls.



  1. I love these magazine reviews that you're doing - it's so interesting to see the kind of content that they had (and to revisit all those early 90s fashions)!

    I chuckled at the "the days when most schools didn't stick you in uniforms", because where I grew up, we *always* had uniforms. I can't even imagine having to worry about fashion for school clothes (The peer pressure! The extra expense! Having to decide what to wear every day!) - At least aside from shoes and jewellery.

  2. I received AG magazine from 2008-2013, but this older version blew mine out of the water. In 2008, I was 8 years old and just getting interested in dolls. I read every single AG book there was before I bought my doll. Adoring the books, I though the magazine would be similar. Boy was I wrong. It was full of crafts and advice and all that good stuff, but no interesting historical stories like this one. What happened?! I wish AG would return to their roots.

    1. I know you posted a while ago, but in case you (or anyone else) happen(s) upon this page again, the answer is that the original Pleasant Company was purchased by Mattel in the late nineties. Diversity went up slightly (it's 2015 and the only Asian historical doll they've had was a "friend" of one of the main (blond-haired, blue-eyed white dolls) at that point, but the overall quality of the products--including the magazine--dropped significantly. It's unfortunate. As a kid, I thought my kids would be playing with the same toys I did, but I wouldn't want my child interested in most of the brand's newer offerings. I'll pass along the Samantha doll and the (limited) selection of items I had from her collection, but I wouldn't buy the stuff myself.

    2. These are things I know, that my readers know because I say them all the time, and I have no problem with. Diversity is still lacking--especially in modern lines--and the quality is not so horrible that it should be disparaged. PC is no better than Mattel and no worse. You don't need to inform my readers of PC Supremacy because most of us don't care.


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