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

Friday, November 28, 2014

Historical Clothes Reviews and Historical Accessories: Josefina's Meet Outfit (Classic and BeForever) and Meet Accessories

Hola, amigos y amigas, from Josefina.
November has been one of those draining months. Between Nano work (went slow but passed the goal, so ten years of victory, though), disabilities, clutter both good and bad, and current events, Nethie has been half curled in a ball trying to shut out the world. Shit happens, and sometimes the answer to handling shit is to not look and take time to just not. And there has been a lot of just not being able to. But I would be even more upset with myself if I went a whole month without a blog post here. Even if it's been almost a month since my last one. You still love me. As of right now we only have whispers and rumors of next year's Girl of the Year, though we know so far that she's a baker and has to go do some stuff in Paris. And that she's probably white, because people of color, whatever, they need to be mixed to fit our aesthetic, let's have four years of white girls. Le Sigh.

BeForever has been, in my opinion, one of the best things that could happen to the Historical section of American Girl. Before the launch, the line was getting muted out by both Girls of the Year and the modern line, who unlike the Historicals weren't stuck in a narrative of still being tied to the old days of  Pleasant Company for a huge part. While new things came out here and there, they had their meet outfits the same since the initial release--and as I said in an older post,1 AG could only bleed us so long on old things. I'm a reliable Addy buyer, but before BeForever launched I could count the number of outfits of hers I didn't have on one hand. I have her whole collection, and I'm not the only one. American Girl can't really make money off of collections that people have already, especially not in an era where people can buy secondhand a lot easier than before (eBay yoooo). BeForever has given the Historicals a huge breath of fresh air that several characters had been lacking, and there is little in the line I don't adore and don't want to get my hands on for the girls I collect for.2 The three biggest Historicals to get makeovers were Samantha (back from the past), Julie, and probably Kit; however, there are those that got very little focus. The biggest example is Josefina Montoya, who didn't get anything but a new BeForever Meet outfit. She hasn't even gotten a "Choose Your Own Adventure" book yet. This has led to whispers of her being retired or downplayed by AG, mixed with the rumors that she was set aside and she'll get her full new things come spring. We'll see.

Josefina was the last Historical Character released before the Official Purchase from Mattel, coming out late 1997. She and her stories represents the New Mexico area in the 1820s, when it was not yet part of the US and still part of Mexico, a still new country that had very recently separated from Spain. As in, Josefina would have been considered Spanish when she was born, since she was born seven or so years before the Mexican Revolution.3 Josefina is from a fairly well-to-do family; they have their own ranch which wasn't cheap, and her grandfather traveled as a trader. When Josefina was released--with a brand new face mold--she joined Addy as the only other character of color outside of the American Girls of Today and the only expressly Latina character.4 It wouldn't be until Marisol Luna in 2005 that another Latina character would be released and not until 2006 that the face mold would be used for a moddie. Her face mold, however, has been used for four other Historical Characters, another moddie, and two Girls of the Year, all who have been white. I find this slightly annoying, personally. Can we get some Josefina Face Mold darker than unflavored oatmeal, please. Ahem. Originally at release, Josefina also had her books translated into an older style of Spanish, something not done anymore and only done with her. Somewhere in my house is Josefina's birthday book in Spanish. Unique, but it didn't last long.

Josefina was one of the characters I fell for in the AG line, having grown up in Texas and having lots of exposure to Chicano culture as a child, and so I definitely wanted her to be part of my collection at some point. I was fortunate in 2006 to, with a tax refund check, be able to get Josefina with what's now called her Classic meet set in a private purchase that included some of her outfits, Kaya, and some of Kaya's stuff at a discount. Her meet outfit is intended to reflect the loose comfortable wear of women and girls in Mexico during the era; it consists of a camisa (blouse), print skirt, sash belt, drawers, hair ribbon, flower hair decoration, and moccasins and came on her. I'm not about to work out the math of how much that cost me but it wasn't full cost; currently the Classic Meet is available from AG direct for $36. Her accessories were purchased soon after I got her for what was then $20 and consist of a jola coin, handkerchief, waist pouch, garnet necklace, and rebozo; the cost is now $24 as with any other set of accessories. At the launch of BeForever, I got her updated Meet outfit for $36 day of release; it has all the same parts, but with some notable changes. It's quite possible that she'll be losing the coin and handkerchief come any BeForever revamps, so if you want those jump on it soon. Since little changed in her meet outfit, I'll be comparing things as I go for the most part. It doesn't make sense to write two separate paragraphs on parts of the outfit that are near exactly the same in design.

Earrings: Now for Josefina.
Before I dive in: like Addy, Josefina was given non-removable gold loop earrings. A lot of Hispanic and Latina culture has ear piercing done very soon after birth, and this was true in the past. Josefina likely would have had the ice needle and potato soon after she was born, and worn earrings her whole life. I love that she has this little bit of clear culture in her design.