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

Thursday, March 20, 2014

AG Complaint Department: I'm a Mattel, I'm a PC Part 1

Marisol's a "Mattel", Josefina's a "PC". I don't care.
If you're part of the AG Fandom--and honestly, 90% of the people reading this blog are part of the AG fandom, it's a niche topic I'm talking on here--then you've probably had to deal with a lot of Pleasant Company nostalgia on message boards and among collectors. To paraphrase Douglas Adams and make a long story very short, "In 1998 Mattel bought American Girl from Pleasant T. Rowland, Founder of American Girl, for seven hundred million dollars. This has made a lot of people very angry and been widely regarded by nostalgia goggle collectors as a bad move."

Spend any time around some boards and you'll pick up the vibe. Pleasant Company love and Mattel Hate is everywhere. Many collectors will talk wistfully of  the days when Addy's Meet Accessories came with authentic gourds and Felicity's eyes were a soothing green and Samantha's hair was apparently so fresh and curly you could just fluff it all day. Many people will pay more to have a PC doll or accessory set rather than get a Mattel one. There are multiple posts around the internet telling you how to tell a PC doll from a Mattel in the same way people try to tell authentic coins, stamps, or vintage items. Some people say that PC stuff is automatically worth more than anything Mattel made. In fact, many people call dolls and items made before Mattel purchased the company PM--or "Pre-Mattel", as if the ownership by Mattel has tainted our precious 18 inch semi-historical dolls.

If a person prefers PC stuff, that's one thing. I'm not going to bitch too hard about that. But many of them shit all over Mattel's releases and turn their nose up towards anything not PC, and in the process come off wholly, willfully ignorant. I recently came across a post on a blog (I won't link) that stated the following without a hint of irony:
Let's face it, anything Pleasant Company is better quality. Those of us who collect PC can see the difference. Kit's candy making set would have had a metal not a plastic double boiler with plastic candy molds. And Kit would not wear a PINK dress, still they insisted on giving her a pink polyester chiffon dress. 
I find this hilariously stupid for the big glaring reason that Kit, released in 2000, was released wholly by Mattel. Yes, random blogger, I'm sure that the Historical Character that was never released by PC would have totes released her stuff the way you're saying.

Not everything PC has released has been better. I don't deny that Mattel has done a lot of weird, unusual, badly planned, and altogether shitty things since they got the company. But so did Pleasant Company and Pleasant Rowland in the twelve years before Mattel stepped in, and I'm not about to let the early years of the company off the hook for their actions.

This is going to be a side series--basically, I'll just go into four to five things about Pleasant Company I don't like with each post, because there's no way I can get this in one post.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Why I'm an Outsider - Part One: Finding AG Fans, or How Periods are Bad for Children

Oh, Addy, if we'd only known what was comin'.
So, I've been thinking long and hard about how to write up my story about my entrance into, time in, and hard booting out from the majority of the American Girl Fandom. It's been a touch over eight years since my first foray into the American Girl Fandom in January 2006, so I have to go back in time mentally and really think about it. Hell, back then we didn't even have smartphones, flat-screen monitors or TVs (at respectable costs), or tablets. We still had Windows XP and the Gamecube. We'd just gotten the Nintendo DS. I'd just gotten my own Nintendo DS.

It's not so much uncomfortable as it is frustrating to look back on and see the shit I went through for AG. So far it's coming out to a ten-parter that covers the two and some years. That's right, I somehow managed to make myself blacklisted on two boards in less time than it takes for a child to go from fresh-squeezed Moro-reflex making1 fleshlump to general walky-and-talky sprog. The hard thing about talking is that it honestly wasn't one or two major incidents that started the spiral down from me wanting to be part of the American Girl Fandom to throwing my hands in the air and going it alone (until recently). There's at least two big hard hits and one striking slap, but there were little things and trips that tipped me off from the start that I was dealing with no small degree of bigotry.

Now, I generally won't be using names unless I can recall them, and all names will be the e-name I have. So you know, if your bitch ass used your real name as your screen name, sucks to be you bitch, maybe next time you won't use your powers as weapons.There will be one major case where I don't use a name, but it's less out of politeness and more out of persona non grata, damnatio memoriae.

I'm sure there's a person or two that thinks that this airing out of AG Fandom's dirty laundry is cruel or unneeded. Some people believe in forgive and forget. Some people forgive but never forget. I am neither of these people. If the cut is deep enough, I neither forgive nor forget, because fuck that, that's why. The idea that I am obligated to forgive the cruelties inflicted on me because of reasons such as enough time has passed (but it's been years!) and being the "bigger person" is a load of bull shit. Redemption is a rare thing and not easily given to those who fall from my grace hard enough to leave imprints on the soil.

About the pictures: a lot of my pictures to break up the text blocks are pics that will be semi-relevant to the times covered in the post, but not exactly on topic. I don't have much in the way of screen shots from the boards at the time--partially because I no longer have access to the boards in one way or another. The internet archival of message boards that lock themselves down lest people see the shit spewed is sporadic.2 But I do have older pictures of my gang, and pictures help break up reading online. Plus you get to see how I started on my photographing of AG. I'll also be linking to new posts as they go up and editing older posts to add in links. That way, when this series is said and done, a person can start at the prologue and straight-shot through the whole thing, like a novel with a bittersweet ending.

Prologue: Not Such a Sweet Baby Face 

Monday, March 3, 2014

Clothes Reviews: McKenna's Warm-Up Outfit (2012)

Warming it up--with Mellie, not McKenna. Cause I'm cool like that.
So, back on the review train. I stated that I'd stop the holiday reviews and hold those til the next holiday season, true. But I will still be doing mad reviews, cause that's one of the major drives that led to me starting my blog in the first place.1 Honestly, most people's reviews of AG stuff falls under of "this is cute, do like" or "A+++ WOULD THROW MONEY AT AG AGAIN" without very much breakdown of the components of the outfit or good close-ups, and we need less of that. Learn how to review.

As anyone who's spent more than five seconds on this blog knows,  I really, really can't stand Isabelle, AKA WonderBread the Ballerina. But she's not the only Girl of the Year that I have had an active, twisting "fuck you" feel towards. Lemme take you back just two years to 2012, when we had, after the magnificence of Kanani, the mediocrity of McKenna Brooks, GotY for 2012. As soon as I saw her, I hated her. I hated her name because I hate names beginning with Mc. I hated her focus because I was (and still am) 100% convinced that it was to capitalize on the gymnast that was favored to win the all around at London, and then the girl didn't even make it into the competition. I hated that she was whining that she didn't care about school cause she was going to be a super famous gymnast, when you burn out on that by age 20 most of the time thanks to the compression of the sport. I hated that she was set in Seattle, because I now live in the Seattle area and I didn't want this doll associated with my region. I hated her parents. I hated her bed because it came with a tiny copy of Charlotte's Web and I wanted that book alone.2 And I snarked all over her movie, because I could. She got slapped with the nickname McSeattle--only the first in a line of Refreshing Haterade names for GotY--and I have not regretted it.

But I at least liked a good portion of her clothes, which is more than I can say for Wonderbread. Over the course of the year I got my hands on McSeattle's pajamas, school set, and umbrella and rain boots--which I proceeded to give all of them to the mods, especially Mellie. The only other outfit I liked enough was her Warm-up Outfit: a jacket, windbreaker pants, sneakers, ponytail holders, and the new hotness in McKenna's clothes sets: a card on how to do her hairstyles her sets showed, this one being #1: Fishtail Braids.  There was just one problem with trying to get my hands on it easily, and that that was that it only came with her starter collection as a bonus. And I was not about to pay $185 for a doll I hated, her starter accessories, the two books I had already, and her practice uniform just to get a single outfit.3 Instead, I patiently waited for the eBay Fates to put one up for a decent not -stupid price--and I hit it in 2013 with a cost of $34.99 plus low shipping. eBay costs have jumped, however, into the $50+ range. This is straight up bullshit, don't do it.

Naturally, since Mellie Croom has made it her life goal to look twice as good in McKenna's clothes than she ever could, she's modeling this set. Mellie is about the closest I'll ever get to a AG me, in that she has my face shape, my semi-curls, and wears glasses. I actually took these pics before Mellie changed into holiday wear. I'm skilled like that.