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

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Rambled Opinions and General Snarkiness Part 1: Blast Off With Luciana Vega (and More From That One White Kid)

Space. The Final Dolly Frontier. These are the voyages of Luciana Vega.
Man, did I get in under the wire with all them reviews last month. I was able to, somehow, cover every release including Nanea. But I didn't do any personal reviews, and very few extras. I don't like that. I like doll blogging. I want to get back into the groove and get my blog on. Let's leave the sporatic posting and bullshit back in 2017. I started my year off right with Beyoncé1 and I'm gonna do my best to carry that energy through 2018. This year, AG is going all ass to the wall with the release of Luciana Vega for the Girl of the Year 2018.

Woot! Another DoC! Luciana keeps up the trajectory, but I plan to keep up the #AGDoCGotY talk. That's two for two, AG. Well, actually one and a half. Let's be real. Gabby got shanked, and it's clear that Tenney-Sue was supposed to be the GotY but some word got out that folk were watching, and AG swerved at the last minute. Was it the CBS interview, just before Melody came out, when the interviewer straight up asked why there'd only been three named black characters in the line and the person she was interviewing blinked and stumbled over herself? I'm inclined to think it was a factor, because that was semi-national. Gabby is my love but she was done wrong. Tenney coming out not even six weeks later. No large items--yes, a bed, but that wasn't super unique like a damn stage or a hut or a bakery. No movie, no major tie ins, no nuffin. AG didn't even let her have her own earrings. Those were clearly for Tenney--they have birds on them. Gabby's symbol is hearts. Everything was clearly set up for Tenney to be the girl of the year, and then AG got called out, and Gabby got pulled in at the last minute.

I see you AG. You best give me another black girl, and one not done at the last minute. I am not appeased. (And don't gimme no shit about never being happy. I can be happy for Gabby's existence and annoyed that she was clearly slopped together compared to those before her and after her. It's called nuance and critique, people should have more of it.) More DoC. All the DoC. Won't stop til every culture in the US has been covered--and I don't mean five shades of white--and there's just as many DoC as there have been white girls. But I will update my image around IG to include her in the spread of continuing to ask for Dolls of Color. Gabby will stay around for a few months, if you got her for Giftmas and want chunks of her collection for yourself. I dunno when she'll go away, but she will eventually, so love her while the lovin's good.

Before I get into the stuff, a quick talk about why AGC's forums are all gone from sight if you don't have an account. You can read about it here. The TL;DR is that, since we discovered some carbon blobs with no home training acting out on the tubes towards the forums, the mods got together and talked about what to do to protect the teens on our board and other sensitive people. We decided that we were going to lock down the main part of our boards for the time being. So no drive by reading for now. Some people are just ugly all over, got MegaBlox and RoseArt in their stockings, and they were never taught how to be a disappointment to the world silently. If you can contact any of the mods and show sincere desire to be part of our weird and socially conscious doll board, then we'll look at your application and figure out letting you in. And talking in my comments is not a contact.

I don't think I missed taking a picture of anything, but it was harder than normal so the pics might be strange. There were lots of people around, and they kept putting their hands in my shots. It did help, though, that when I went just before year's end, all the new moddie stuff was out and I got shots of it then, so I didn't have to fight everyone everywhere to look at everything. 

World stop.
Carry on.

You Will Go To Space Today2 with Luciana Vega

My dog doesn't poop on the floor like your dog.
 Luciana Vega, Girl of the Year 2018: It helps that AG is starting their own year off right by not immediately reacting as they did with Kanorbles and Jess and following their first black Girl of the Year with a super string of whiteness so as not to disturb all the boo-hooing adults who go on the Facebook page and cry that they can't see why all this race has to be in dolls. Shut up. Windows and mirrors. We have STEM--she's into space and wants to be the first person to go to Mars. We have DoC--she's Chilean, which is almost never seen in the US because people assume anyone speaking Spanish has to be "Mezzican". She has a bright purple streak in her hair. We even have a pet chameleon on the Truly Me side, if you're into that.3 Basically, she's the perfect GotY in so many ways. With the release of Luciana Vega, AG has done two DoC back to back.4 She is also the first Latina girl since Marisol who came out in 2005 and, if Marisol was a real person, she would be twenty-three today. So what I'm saying is it's been a while.

...help I like her a lot. See, I grew up in Texas, and at the time I was about Luciana's age, long ago in the early 90s? The Houston Museum of Natural Science had--and still has--a Space Expedition Center. My gifted class took a field trip there, and we got to pretend to go on a space mission. I loved it, even though I ultimately decided that I was going to do a life of art and writing instead of science and technology.5 I went on a space mission twice, and the first time I got stuck on a dumb team--it was like, communications or something, and the kids I got paired with were a bunch of brats. The second time, I got to actually be part of the active mission, and we got to finish the whole thing instead of a sudden "solar flare" kicking us out of our space station. It was still cool to go on a mission to interact with Haley's Comet and think about being an astronaut.

I am sincerely looking at this month's spoiler money to decide. I just got a push from the fates to make me go get her. Budgeting must happen. But no special earrings for Luciana. I guess I'll just have to craft my own.

Are you happy now, box whiners?
She also comes in boxes with face windows instead of full view like Gabby did, because people cried like little bitches over how boxes opened for storage just go buy storage bins and drawers. Her items also come in the old style boxes with new style printing. Whatever. I trash 90% of my boxes anyways. Now I have to dig through boxes to find one I like head to toe. Thanks, fandom. Making my life harder.

Luciana's Meet Outfit: Aw crap, we're doing the single basic dress thing again. Oh well. It's a galaxy print dress, silver choker, belt with a side bag, necklace, and super shiny silver holo boots that are hella kickass. Also? Generic pink panties. No exciting underpants today. Maybe I'll make her some when she comes home Neth what are you doing you have so many dolls.

Backpacks, Star Charts, and Space Cream.
Luciana's Accessories:6 Along with a backpack to match her shoes like a classy space girl, we've got a star chart to look at stars, a smart watch because that's good, a log book for logging, a certificate of some merit, and space ice cream. Damn. It's Neapolitan. Can't be trusted.

For kids who like shiny space things.
Children may also wear the dresses and carry the backpack. They'll have to get their own space ice cream, though.

Luciana and Luciana Braving the DeepI could probably tell you more about the book if they hadn't been out of stock of the first book. Suffering. They had the second, but I can't walk around reading book two before book one. What kinda reader am I? Hopefully by the time I go back in a few weeks, the first books will be in stock. This is what I get going at 11 instead of at 9 a.m. But look, I like sleep.

Everyone needs to make things. Including non-STEM things.
Luciana's Stellar Outfit: Oooo, that's a shiny jacket. And neat shorts. And dem shoes. The shirt is sleeveless, but it's put together well, so no major complains. My buddy got me the outfit as a super belated birthday gift, and I will review it later. And maybe add some socks.  

Luciana's Robotic Dog: It's a robopuppy! It has a wrench for a bone! It's not that expensive for a robopuppy! I like it. I wonder if it barks. I will have to see later.

Luciana's Maker Station: Build some shit today at your table! Look at a plant! Have a sticker! Use a robo-arm! Wear a smock! Look at Solar System models! And build with the off brand Lego. They're MegaBloks--sorry, MegaConstrux--because guess what Mattel owns? Yeah. Suffer.  I like it, and we're getting a maker space in a local library, but it's hard on the maybe.

Also? I have a rant on maker spaces and the artificial division between Maker and Crafter that no one asked for but you're getting today in the middle of my Luciana talks. Scroll if you don't care but I do.

As one AGC member said? "Talk to me about 'makerspace' when those spaces include industrial grade sewing machines, sergers, and embroidery machines next to the 3d printers and raspberry pis and arduinos, because as far as I see it, makerspace is still coded male because when women make stuff it's 'crafting' not 'maker.'" I know getting women in STEM is a great thing--and Luciana being STEM-focused a is good thing--but making things and making space for making "engineering" things shouldn't be at the expense of the other side of making--textile work. Back in November, when we were getting hype for Lucci, I saw something on Twitter and I am so feeling the truth of the whole threaded discussion:
Read a comment this morning stating that Maker culture is 80% male and had to laugh. Only if you discount the millions of women sewing, knitting, weaving, and more. But oh right, they're just "crafters." That artificial distinction enrages me. :rage:
I am a maker. No, I can't use wires and chips to make a computer, and then use that computer to make a code, and then use that code and make a robot dance. I'm pretty shit at connecting sticks into boats that float, or typing lines of things that say how things will run in a program. I haven't done KiSS (KiSEKae) dolls in a while--those have kinda stopped being a thing anyways--and I don't do much raw HTML anymore though I keep up with some aspects. I was always a fan of the WYSIWYG editors instead of being the cool kid who could just code my whole website in Notepad. Calculus fucks me up; anything higher than basic algebra and some geometry is pushing it, even if my Daddy taught me all kinds of math.

But I make things. I make my things of cloth and needle and thread, of wool and sticks, of spin and twist, with paintbrushes and inks. I can turn raw sheep hair into viable yarn and can precisely tangle that into a sweater of any size, given the dimensions of the wearer and some basic math, and if I get any further back on the "making cloth" diagram I'm gonna be living on a lesbian farm full of sheep and alpaca. I know what colors to mix together and what concentration of acid and the time frames to make the chemical reaction that makes dye color stick to wool or cotton or other things and stay there without running out. Then I can take my newly made colored string--or other colored string of the same general thickness--and make socks or hats or sweaters or anything, and then write down how I turned it into a pair of socks or hat or whatever. If I use the right codes for how I made my thing, someone can follow my code, and make the same thing I made. I know color theory and balance, so that things look good together.

I got bored while thinking of the next part of my book, popped the cape off my stuffed Pikachu, figured out how to put it back on, and put it back on--all in an hour, the same way someone would take apart a vacuum and put it back together. I used to gut my stuffies and disassemble clothes to fix broken seams the same ways children are encouraged to know the inner workings of a small motor or find the error in lines of code that make a bug.

I can look at an outfit, and my brain figures out how to take it apart into pattern parts and I can make those pattern pieces and then make them go together and then write to another person how to put the pieces together and they can get the same thing I made! I can take something from 3D to 2D and then back to 3D again--or an illustration to a 3D representation, for those many of us that turn AG's old illustrations to outfits--and I can do it well, for all that bullshit about women not knowing how to think in 3D proper because I personally can't think about what a box might look like flat or the other side of a shape figure. I am starting to study puppet making and want to, when it's viable, make a decent working puppet and self perform with it, even if it's just for fun..

My makerspace has rulers, fluff, stacks of patterns and books, three sewing machines (even if only one ever likes to behave), fistfuls of knitting needles and crochet hooks, four drop spindles (just got a turkish, that bitch spins like a dream) tons of art supplies, and a spinning wheel. Someday, I'll have a dressmaker dummy and a proper home embroidery machine. I made a whole quilt, bigger than a king sized bed.

But according to STEM, I'm not a "maker", I'm a "crafter", because the shit I do is heavily feminine coded. And the fuck outta here with that shit. I am disgusted at how how "maker" culture is considered making "proper" techy things using 3-D printers and electronics and wires and LEGO and spark components with oil and dirt and wires and engines, and not that "silly girly" shit of using cloth and string, or string and one or two sticks, and making a shirt. I will die on the fucking hill of "don't you dare tell me my makework of putting together a dress from cloth and paper diagrams is less cool than making a blueprint for a 3D printer to form a figurine." Plus when the power goes out I can still put a dress together, so hah.

Making is to crafting as action figure is to doll. If you're going to devalue my makercraft because it's not coded masculine enough, then I expect you in the apocalypse not to ask folk to make you anything to wear. Go turn your computer into a suit.7

Rant over. Back to the dolly shit.

Stuff from Space!
Luciana's Visitor Center Accessories: Did you have fun at the Johnson Space Center or any of the space places you went? Want to take some space home with you? Here you go, a bag of space stuffs. The shirt! The book! The tiny astronaut doll figure! I can't. I got this set, on the strength of the shirt alone. This is the kinda stuff I would have brought home in a heartbeat from Space Center Houston.

Look at Space today!
Luciana's PJs: Relaxing in a top, leggings, and sparkly slippers. No weird onesies for you like TropiKenna did! It's what I wear to bed nowadays, except I do t-shirts. Also, it's in kids sizes and I want the slippers. 

Luciana's Telescope Projector Set: It doesn't look through, it more projects the looks, I think. But it comes with a sitting mat and a cellphone, and if I get it maybe then one of my gang members can have a smartphone finally.

Space suit? Space suit.
Luciana's Space Suit: This is the second shiniest thing in her whole collection. It's a realist looking dolly space suit. And until August, you have to have an AG rewards account to get the space suit. It's free to sign up, and they'll let you sign up to get the suit right there, no time limits or nothing. Then you'll start off with 75 points already! That's almost halfway to a discount coupon. Do it. Go to space today. That is a fine space suit, lemme tell you internets. I am reminded of my Astronaut Barbie I had as a kid, who explored space in the puffiest of 80s sleeves and the highest of heels. So I have to get it. Lucci has to go to spa--temptations~

You know how many people kept touching this? It took me an hour just to get a good shot!
Luciana's Flight Suit: Jumpsuits for space! She looks just like a space kid from space in this. Also simple black sneakers, which are great. This fits like a glove, though. Lucci's gonna be free falling in it.

Luciana's Mars Habitat: Man is this damn thing an example of how Gabby got screwed. I'm imagining a fine dance studio for Gabby and all we got was a reversible backdrop. Le sigh. I'll just have to cuss later. This, however? This is kickass. It has a computer, little weights, space carrots, creamed spinach and potatoes in a bag, it closes up to airlock, there's space rocks--it's so loverly! I have no where to put this but I want it, and that is possibly the summary of my entire life right now. I have a year to save the funds for it. Well, I'll say I have til September. I will make all the efforts. Everyone kept touching and playing with this the whole time I was there, and it got most of the attention from everyone. It has high playability and high use. I like sets like that.

...damn it, Luciana, why are you so great. Okay. Moving on. I have other stuff to yammer about.

That One White Kid: Oh, You're Still Here

Are you still getting stuff, then?
Tenney-Sue keeps on growing her things with a mix and match set of her own, like WonderBread before her:
The shorts and shoes are about the only parts I like. The dress is more like a top, I don't care for fringed shirts, and that bird on the shirt just confirms that Gabby's earrings were supposed to be for Tenney and AG cut her short. The jacket's okay, too. But it would all go to Tina around here. And there's other stuff I'd like first.

Like Luciana.


This post got long because I had to rant about maker stuff. So the Moddies and the Wellies are going into Part 2, which I'll start after dinner and some other stuff, because I have to do a lot of coding to remove red links in the post. Practically none of the moddie stuff has Wiki pages up, and if I don't want the links to look dumb, then I need to take my time.

Why do I fight what my heart wants?
Fuck me running.  Expect to see Luciana by month's end. I have no willpower. The heart wants what it wants.


1 As stated by twitter user : "If you play “Feeling Myself” by Nicki Minaj and Beyoncé at exactly 11:58:50 pm on New Year’s Eve, Beyoncé will say “World Stop” in 2017 and “Carry On” in 2018! what a great way to start your year!!!!" And that, plus a kiss from my husband, some mead, and a delicious Lindt white peppermint candy, was a great way to start my year.
2 Up Goer Five. And I do own the Thing Explainer book. Fun fact? Nine is not one of the top ten hundred words.
3 There was a running thing on AGC that we wanted a STEM DoC with a pet lizard, which would be the opposite of all these white girls with dogs and/or horses. And, well....
4 Three in a row if you count Lea. I don't count Lea by canon, because she's as Brazilian as I am white practically. But if you have her as PoC, then it counts.
5 When I was a kid we didn't call it STEM. That started being a widespread term after I got out of college or so. But I love the shiny parts of STEM. Just not all the parts that make my brain hurt, like calculus.
6...I don't know that I ever got a good shot of Gabby's accessories at the store. I'll just have to take a shot of my own.
7 Also? The first 'computers' were actually automated looms for weaving jacquard/brocade. You changed the patterns produced by the looms with various cards, like the first punch card computers. These were from the 1740s. There's still methods to turn code into neat patterns. Women carried code in knitting needles during WWII. So don't let anyone tell you that fabric/textiles aren't technical.


  1. *standing ovation* *sceamin and shoutin* *clappin my hands and stompin my feet*

    Love the the rant! Love the pictures and review on Luciana and all her goodies!

    Goddamnit AG, we see you!

  2. I also loved your rant. And I love Luciana's collection!

  3. Thirding all of the above, especially AG's mistreatment of Gabby which is extra bad because she has one of the best storylines ever. But, I love your review of Luciana and her collection and I love that you're back.

  4. I am a STEM focused person (I'm an astronomy professor) and textile arts and crafts are totally making things, as much as working in wood or metal or electricity. Not to mention requires different skills given how many times I sewed the lining to the wrong side or messed up sleeves. And a colleague noted that knitting/crochet still is akin to coding or reading code. (Or, heck, the way our body builds proteins.)

    Also a Chilean-American doll is extra cool given how important Chile is for astronomy -- because they own some of the best real estate for telescopes, they have several universities that offer astronomy programs, and I had a few classmates in grad school from Chile. (One even posted a picture of Luciana to her Facebook, as well as some local-to-Chile STEM-focused dolls.)

  5. I have a recurring dream where I get everything from american girl. Best dream ever, and I'm sure you're fueling it.!

  6. Looking forward to dolly STEM book coming out next month (I get all the craft books.) And, can I join you on the fiber-making sheep and alpaca farm?

  7. Luci's meet dress has a TON of mix and match potential! I was able to tuck it into shorts, put leggings underneath, etc. So don't write it off as just a basic meet dress. It is so much more.

    I have not bought from AG in over a year because their offerings were meh at best. Now I must buy Luci and all the things! Thogh where I am going to put the Mars set I have no idea. Who needs a dining room table, right?

  8. You mirror my feelings about Gabriella's collection. As a still new collector I was and am still disappointed and feel wronged. As an African-American Woman this really bothered me. I've wanted to reach out to you and other long time AA collectors and ask how do you still like AG after that "slap in the face". I even question myself for still shopping with them. - Queenies_dolls

    1. In my case this hurts, but not enough for me to walk 100% away. Instead I make sure to support everything DoC as much as possible, and make it voiced loudly that this is unfair and should be corrected. That I expect better in the future and this is a thing that needs to be fixed. I think AG is finally listening some, but I want to keep talking.

      I can understand new AA/Black collectors who feel majorly slighted and don't want to stay, but I don't want to walk off.

    2. I've had American Girl send me emails saying, "Asian Americans haven't contributed enough to history for there to be a space for them in the American girls' collection". Mind you, this was during Pleasant Rowland American Girl. I still feel slighted that black American characters get shoved with stereotypical backgrounds and interests. However, progress won't happen if we stop buying dolls of color because that's what these people are out to prove: that dolls of color don't sell, and that's why it has taken them this long to make one. I buy the dolls of color because I want them to see that we want them, but we want them better than what they've been.

  9. Thanks for sharing your thoughts! �� -Queenies_dolls

  10. i will honestly bet they named her vega so they could reference the one star. i love it.

    i dont even like ag but im still probably gonna get like 90% of her stuff for my own dolls because i am Gay For Space

  11. There are makerspaces set-up specifically for ceramics and fiber artists. See the following link:

    1. Lovely! I hope the one in our library isn't just STEM/Tech. But I fear it might be.

  12. I want DoCs, obviously, but I just realized something about AG's white GotYs. There's all general Anglo-Saxon American white, aren't they? It would be really cool if they released a white GotY who was an immigrant or whose parents were immigrants. And not immigrants from Canada/the UK/another very culturally similar country. Like Polish immigrants or something. They could also do something similar for a DoC, too. They should really have both.

    1. The first GotY was Jewish (Lindsey Bergman). I would have liked to see a Jewish GotY with a deeper and more serious and respectful, I.e. less comical, exploration of her culture.

  13. I can't help but to hate on Lucian a little because it would have been cool if Gabriella had her back story. It would have been a not so subtle tie in with the Hidden Figures movie. AG would have gotten ALL that coin from residual black pride!

  14. Can I say how much I love Luciana? PS--If you want dolly smartphones, look into those prepackaged craft books. (Doll Travel, Doll Fashion Studio, etc.) I collect those because I want my dolls to have All The Things and then I can make them myself instead of shelling out coin. Some of the craft books have cardstock smartphones. Glue cardstock smartphone to craft foam, trim edges to fit, and glue on a sequin where the lens would go. Instant dolly phone! (You can also print a smartphone off the Internet and get the same result. You can't change the screens, but it does the trick.)

  15. I love your insights about crafters being makers... of course they are! Reminded me of a good “stuff you missed in history class” podcast episode about the women of the Bauhaus being told they can’t think in 3D so they could only work in textiles (as if clothes and other textiles aren’t 3D??) so the ladies did awesome things with textiles! https://www.missedinhistory.com/podcasts/the-women-of-bauhaus.htm

  16. About two years ago I emailed AG customer service complaining on behalf of Caroline, Julie and Lindsey that I couldn’t find a cell phone or PC or tablet among their accessories, so how did they expect girls to learn about STEM and become interested in STEM careers.

    They ripped me a new one in their reply email. My historicals wouldnt have had these items, and besides, they didn’t accept product ideas from outside the company.

    It still stings.

    But I was thrilled to see a STEM oriented GOTY.


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