It seems like everyone has an opinion about toys. Barbie teaches all the wrong lessons, play kitchens for girls are too sexist, and doll strollers should be gender neutral. Let's not even talk about toy guns. It's true that some children's toys could use improving, but the one that really rankles me is the hatred people have for American Girl dolls.
It's all about the cost with these dolls and it's true. Each doll costs around $100, but the accessories can push her well into the $500-1,000 range. It's expensive, to be sure, but the dolls are heirlooms and they teach girls something good. Each doll comes with her own story and her own set of books and accessories that match the historical period from which she came.
The dolls are high quality dolls, and if my daughter is into American Girl with their beautiful accessories and quality clothing, then I feel better than if she were into the more risque dolls.
I loved Barbie as a kid, but until I was 7 (when American Girl came out), there was very little else for me to enjoy. American Girl dolls had books that went with them, and as a child who loved to read, I loved all the books and all the little pieces that went with each doll.
They were girls like me and they modeled intelligence, spunk, ingenuity, and creativity. Many of the girls I knew who were into American Girl have grown up to be successful and creative women, and most of us had to earn our dolls. My sister had to learn to sleep in her own bed when she was 9 in order to get her Samantha doll (which she has since given to my daughter, 16 years later). Other women tell stories of lemonade stands and other money-making ventures used to earn half the doll.
In my own house, my daughter currently has four dolls, three of which were gifts and one of which was a hand-me-down. But there is one she wants right now and she will only get it once she kicks her thumb-sucking habit.
Among things that kids could be into, American Girl dolls are pretty low on my list of worries. Yes, they are expensive, but $100 is a small price to pay for a little history lesson, a chance to "earn" something herself, and a hobby far less destructive than watching Hannah Montana (see, there goes my judgement on girls' toys!).
The fact is, "overpriced" is relative, and for a doll that can last 16 years, stay in decent condition, and a bring a lifetime of memories, I feel like the splurge is well worth it.
Are you into American Girl dolls?