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

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Why I'm an Outsider - Part Four: Halloween is for Jesus, or How Otters Offended a Nation

And then there were four. And the drama really started.
I was enduring the American Girl Fandom in August 2006 a lot better than I had been earlier in the same year. Firstly, AG Playthings was a up-and-coming board to counteract the super repressive fundamentalism of AG Fans. The mods allowed open discussion, and challenges to people's opinions. So I could talk about my sexuality, race, and faith a lot more openly than I ever could at AG Fans. (That is, at all.) And AG Over 18 was the LiveJournal based spot that we jokingly called the space behind the main school where the "bad kids" gathered to snark on bullshit, think critically about American Girl beyond the squeal and the buy, and watched Felicity and Elizabeth make out, and offered the idea that Kit had the possibility of growing up to be a fine young man.

I was starting to feel a lot better about being part of the American Girl Fandom. It didn't have to be all fundamentalism and controlled speech and "what about the children" in every corner any more. And the best part for me was how AG > 18 was just thriving. I had only thought we'd have a few people there, but we were so active and inviting. Quite a few people would join to feel a lot less pressure around them. It was a place where you could breathe deeply and not feel like you were walking on razor-blades to just talk about yourself and your dolls without getting fussed at for having such "unwholesome" things as naked doll ass, race talk, queerness, and hair streaks.1 We were passing around older AG pattern scans, snarking on things, making non-wholesome jokes, talking about things that mattered to us, poking at Emily being the English Friend of Molly, and becoming a community. It was a thriving community I'd help start. That was a very good feeling.

I'd made a lot of friends, especially on AG > 18. PNG (Persona Non Grata) was probably my closest friend of them all.2 We talked for hours. Not just online, but on the phone--to the point I ate up too many minutes on my phone plan and had to scale it back to avoid high fees. Around late July to early August, she said she'd like to send me early birthday and holiday presents. I accepted with glee--people sending me things! Wow! She went on the AG site to send me still-newish #26 in the Ready for Fun Meet set (because I was worried about the new one upcoming not being something I liked; I was right) and found Marsiol for cheap on eBay with her near complete meet set. And that's how Amber "Otters" Flynn and Marisol Luna joined up, doubling my gang in the course of a day. Only a few days later she also located and purchased Elizabeth Cady Stanton, who arrived very soon afterwards--within a week.

She...needed her hair did. So badly.
She wasn't my only friend either. In fact, the day before Otters and Marisol arrived, I'd met Colette and Inky, and we'd hung out in downtown Seattle. Not only was I making friends, they wanted to meet me!

They sat on a statue man's butt. We took pictures.
That September, I got a job--a real one, working for Nintendo Consumer Service. Nothing big, and likely not to last, I'd personally thought. It was basic customer service for the Nintendo DS--connecting it, troubleshooting, setting up repairs, etc. I did my training the first two weeks of October, started working right after my 26th birthday, and accepted that I would have to work over the holiday season--the reason I hadn't gotten the job last year was because I would be out of town over the holidays.3 My fiance was doing good in his college classes, and with me now having a job we were a little less boot at our throat for finances. I was doing well both in life and starting to do well in fandom.

And then Halloween came, and I pushed harder against AG Fans than I ever had before and blew things up.

Prologue: Not Such a Sweet Baby Face
Part One: Finding AG Fans, or How Periods are Bad For Children
Part Two: There's Fundies in My Fandom
Part Three: The Wicked Witch of Customizing and the Birth of AG > 18

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Book Blather Book Reviews: Samantha Learns a Lesson

Samantha Learns a Lesson, and so will you.
With the BeForever revamp, one of the biggest whines among parts of fandom was that the books no longer have illustrations included. You have the cover image, then the text of the Classic Series done as two volumes. No inner pics, and the Looking Back Section is cut down dramatically to only about the era, not about anything specific to the topic of  the book. That part doesn't thrill me, but I can live without illustrations. AG has officially stated on the FaceBook page--I'd look it up but eh--that the lack of illustrations is to help the books appeal to an older audience. Otherwise known as the people the books are written for, the eight to twelve crowd. This means that any other characters (like Vanilla Bean Buttercream) or any past Historicals that come back out who get books won't have illustrations, including our half confirmed 2016 Black BeForever Character who I will now be saving up for. Thank gods the illustrations are dead, though. While a lot of the illustrations are my thing, some are terrible and were clearly phoned in.1 I don't know if I could have handled random art of Grace at every other Parisian tourist place of note wearing specific outfits in her collection. 

Not that I'll even get to Grace's books if I don't pick it up and get to book blathering. Better rate than one book every unexpected month, Neth. I'll still do illustrations on my book reviews all I want as long as they're available. On with the show. 

Like the first bookSamantha Learns a Lesson was written by Susan S. Adler, with the first edition books illustrated by Nancy Niles and the second release by Dan Andreasen. Unlike Ms. Alder, Ms. Niles got to do the whole series before getting replaced in 1998. Part of the deal with Mattel taking up AG was insisting the images in the books be done uniformly; this resulted in all of Samantha's books, and all of Addy's books being re-illustrated. Molly's had already been fixed in 1989. There were a few years where the older white parchment books had the newer illustrations, but they are a little harder to find.2 The book came out originally in 1986 with Samantha.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Historical Clothes Reviews and Historical Accessories: Kit's Classic Meet Outfit and Accessories

Kit, old school in more than a few ways.
Kit, like everyone else in the Historical group except Kaya and Caroline, received a complete outfit revamp and collection refreshing with the launch of BeForever. Her teal color scheme on the side of her books migrated to her clothes. This brand new outfit look--teal and red, the basic Generidress silhouette done well--led to a lot of misinformed, uneducated mewling about how teal was somehow invented after the Great Depression and how her now-Classic meet set was so much better. I have to wonder how many people are blinded by nostalgia. It's not a terrible set, but--well, I'll go into details.

Kit was one of the two Historical characters that came around in that lull I had when I wasn't really focusing much on American Girl in college, the other being Kaya. Her books brought me around to adoring her and adding her to the group.  Kit is not a flouncy fluffy pink girl1 (this is why I didn't get her Easter set, along with the faux chocolate) and both her meet outfits have reflected that well given the confines of the 1930s in girls' wear. My girl's not just into waste-not, want not--she's into recycling, the environment, canning and jelly making, and socialism. And drinking out of Mason jars before hipsters Columbused2 that shit. So I'm really kind of glad that Kit's one of the girls who got a major revamp from BeForever, since she's one of my up-there girls. Since her movie, things have gotten pretty fluffy in her collection--Ruthie, what did you do?--and while there's been a few things I've given major side eye to, I've gotten a lot of it. Including all her original Base Six outfits, which includes the meet set.

Kit's Classic Meet Outfit was released with her back in 2000--a mauve-lavender sweater and cardigan set, floral print skirt, closed toed canvas sandals, and basic white bloomers. Fun fact! Until later in the set's run, this was the only meet outfit that contained no Velcro; when it did, it was solely on the shoes until later versions also velcroed the skirt. My set doesn't have either. Currently it's available for $36 while supplies last. Her classic meet accessories included a woven clutch purse, Buffalo nickle, cloche hat, handkerchief, and compass necklace; these were available for a limited time after the BeForever release but now would have to be purchased on eBay and the costs are high. I've had her meet outfit since she joined up the gang in 2007 and brought her meet accessories with her--but not her underwear, so I had her wear some close-enough pink bloomers until I got her some closer white drawers.

Those are some pink panties, girl.3
Kit, like pretty much all my Historical girls, displays her own outfits here on the blog and doesn't have to share them with anyone else. She's a little more willing to share clothes with those that like her style for casual shots, but for reviews she's here to do the stuff herself and so she gets to do the stuff herself. So all you people bitching that I seem to be "racist against white people" by putting most of the outfits for Historicals I Don't Own on my Dolls of Color can shut the entire hell up. I don't know how you managed to not notice that Felicity only shares her clothes with Dear Elizabeth.4

Unlike Josefina, where the meet changes were mostly in two items, everyone else who was revamped got a lot of major changes. So when I do the BeForever meet sets for everyone else--I own them all--I'm going to do separate posts.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Rambled Opinions and General Snarkiness: 2015, Vanilla Bean Buttercream, WTF Bakeries, and Leopard Asses

Mellie at AG Seattle, going to check out this new stuff.
The fun of having an AG store near me since 2011 is that I now have a chance to go to AG early in the year, see the new stuff, and take pictures of all the new things out.1 Granted this means every Girl of the Year launch I've been to in January has been for a white character, starting with McSeattle of all people. Le sigh. That hashtag at the top of my blog ain't just there for show. We've replaced Bread with Cream, and both are plain.

I met up with a friend Saturday--the same one I have been hanging at AG with for months now *happyface* Highlights of our hanging out include my hair getting caught on a display wreath, squealing over tiny doll passports that aren't even accurate to a passport but who cares they're tiny and cute. And yes I got an apron!2 And no you can't have it. But there is a giveaway for it at Lissie and Lilly. Go enter and see if you can get one! (They got three of em!)

My tiny dolly shit. Not yours.
Also, swinging by Bath and Body Works and discovering stuff was on sale and I'm gonna smell like cookies so hard. I like salted caramel. And also salted olive oil on vanilla ice cream. I should get food in a bit. But first? Jabbering about the new stuff! It's a fun break from getting yelled at by internet strangers and removed from a FB group I wasn't all too chuffed about being part of anyways because of all the public prayer requests and random data about people no one needed. Why was I removed? Because I publicly said someone's child was way too young for their doll after they publicly posted about something happening that made me make the ew wtf face IRL. Even WonderBread doesn't deserve that indignity. My statement stands. Too young, some children are, for AG dolls.

To the stuff. Pictures are half my camera and half my phone, because my camera which I thought was charged was not oh no it was not. Technology! The longer/wider images are from my phone. They still get the job done. *swings on motorcycle, zooms down the freeway* 

Thursday, January 1, 2015

AG Complaint Department: #‎AGDoCGotY‬: Because Representation in AG Lines Matter

If I don't stand up for myself, who will? If not now, when?1
So, here we are in 2015. 2014 was a good year and a bad year, in so many ways. Wonderbread is out, and Grace Thomas--SnarkNamed Vanilla Buttercream--is out, with her Paris Vacation and $500 Bakery that almost no one will be getting for multiple reasons, the least of which is that it's $500. I'm going to blog about her things after Saturday when I go see things myself face to face and can take my own pics, along with the new stuff. December was an up and down month, and I plan to do a lot better at keeping up here. One is to give this blog and all my online places a lot more attention.2 A post a week is my goal again. But I ramble on. I have a point for this post, and it may not be as long as other posts, but I want to get this message out at the start of the year and keep it up all year and beyond.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again. The Limited Edition Doll line is flooded with a lot--a lot--of white Girls of the Year. I can't say it or blog or push back against it enough. Grace makes four in a row since Kanani. And before Kanani, the frontline girls were Nicki, Mia, Chrissa and Lanie--four other white girls. There hasn't been a girl of color at all since Kanani. There's not been a Girl of the Year, frontline, specifically named as not half white, since Marisol. That's ten years--ten years--of little to no representation. And even worse, there's been the last few with friends of color or in high PoC locations--Chipotle Mayo and Wonderbread were in Albuquerque, New Mexico and Washington D.C., respectively. And Grace has continued the pattern of a white main character with a PoC best friend: Gabi to Saige, Sonali to Chrissa (at least she was released), Luisa to Isabelle, Toulane to McKenna, and now Emma (I think that's her name) to Grace.
For Mama's sake, she's RIGHT THERE.
The Best Friends Line is dead, so we can't even get hope that the girls would come out as side characters to the main like Sonali did. We get nothing.

I am so irritated by this. I'm tired of nothing. I'm so damn tired of nothing, or flickers, or dregs.

We can't just be getting Girls of Color every four years, if that, and only with the hints of color when they do. Stories know no race. Yes, AG has pointed out the diversity of the My AG and the Historicals, and even hinted at a new AA girl in 2016. But that's not the line they hype every year. They hype the hell out of the Girl of the Year. They push and push and push--and then they give us nothing but white girls. If AG really means for us to believe that these stories are about contemporary girls in contemporary times, then they need to reflect everyone--not just white girls.

And I am going to hashtag the shit out of getting the word out about AG's need to highlight and give voice to other cultures and people. American Girl, give us a Doll of Color for Girl of the Year.

Good thing I've got social media to back me up. 

This is the tag I'm pushing:


It's short, simple, and gets the point across. If you want to use longer or more clear ones then use #AGGoTYDiversity. Or both. The point is that we want to point out all these options, all these looks, for a Girl of the Year that isn't always white.

More help and details under the cut.