Happy Valentine’s Day, Dollings!
It’s that time of year to celebrate those you love and I want to let you all know how much I cherish the doll community especially YOU.
Unfortunately, this year, there’s something I needed to do to be whole for Valentine’s Day. That’s right, it was time to break up with an unhealthy relationship that left me angered, confused and quite bluntly, feeling betrayed. You know who I mean. Some of you are right here with me.
I am breaking up with Mattel’s American Girl dolls.
Our relationship had become very rocky since Mattel took over American Girl brand. Several things in the past week have made me realize just how unhealthy our relationship had become.
I tried to work it out. I let Mattel know that I wasn’t happy but the response I received felt like an automated customer service machine. I need to feel validated, not dismissed, when I have something to say in order to feel my relationship is healthy. That’s not unreasonable.
Several folks have posted about the new levels of low quality (check out: https://themouselair.com/2017/02/13/the-great-permapanty-debate/). I haven’t seen the flat out denials from Mattel that this isn’t their product but I have heard they’ve said that. I’ve been upset since the limbs changed to lower quality fasteners which will require more dolly hospital trips (Who remembers the Lindsey legs??? Have we learned nothing?). And then I heard that the doll hospital isn’t even addressing things well.
SO many rumors about my beloved!
Yes, I join others in not liking the permanent panty design. (see Flo’s post here: https://sayhellotomylittlefriends.wordpress.com/2017/02/10/the-protest/)
This isn’t just about panties to me though. AG brand quality has been going downhill since Mattel took over.
My worst fears that the rational behind all the changes is Mattel’s profit margin has been confirmed. This is their response to a Jezebel article on the panty uprising (original article here: http://jezebel.com/everyones-really-upset-that-they-cant-take-the-panties-1792137653)
I’m not a media genius but I have no reason to doubt this publication as genuine (aka not fake news as this would be way too much of a liability to publish). I have to question why, if the cost of doll making has gone up so exponentially, that we haven’t seen all doll brands spike in price since they aren’t reducing their quality. Maybe they didn’t include profit margin in their costs? Also, who did Mattel watch play? I’ve never seen a girl not strip a doll and brush her hair like crazy.
What does this mean, Mattel? I tried talking to you. I tried your changes. I wanted to adapt but I miss my American Girl brand. So, it’s over Mattel. I can’t do this anymore. I am letting you go.
When this came today (that’s right, I was a GOLD MEMBER of AG rewards), I clicked unsubscribe.
And I followed through with it. My next step, Facebook.
I’ve unliked you, AG. The new header was a nice touch but I won’t be visiting your website either. For the record, I told you before that I had concerns about the BeForever color selections and you stated the color choices were historically accurate. I’m just going to note that you may be right but just because something was available, doesn’t mean a child had access to it let alone an average child.
That brings me to another issue, one I secretly avoid discussing because it’s so much of a trigger.
You’re an elitist, American Girl. What I believe was once intended to be a toy of hope has become a symbol of greed and privilege. As a consumer, I accept responsibility for my part this revelation. I think it’s important that I put it out there that I believe Pleasant Roland, AG’s founder, didn’t intend to make an elite toy. I think, like many dollmakers, she set out to make a great doll and I believe she did. I do not have any criticism that her toys were intended to be exclusionary and I believe her record speaks for itself. However, I have sharp criticism of the way things have been handled since Mattel took over.
How many times do I have to say it but why does the depression era Kit have more outfits than any other doll? Profitability, plain and simple. These are not my values. The whole perma-panties escalation genuinely makes me feel like Mattel is body shaming my dollies and children everywhere. I am not ok with that.
AG, I don’t want to be bitter. I want to remember the good times we had. Thank you for Saige, my first GOTY of my own (not my kids). Thank you for the Kirsten that became Thomas when my son wanted to play with his sisters and the memories of the hairdresser who had to answer questions all day while he sat and waited for me to pick him up without the kids seeing so he could be a Christmas surprise. Thank you for Nellie’s sisters who literally fell off a truck and were delivered by a stranger who saw the box fall off the truck, retrieved it, saw the label and HAND DELIVERED it because it was from American Girl and he knew how much it was going to mean to the child awaiting the Christmas package (they were my daughters last two dolls). Thank you for the doll my daughter named after me.
I am going to cherish what we’ve had American Girl. You have meant a great deal to me and my family.
Here’s my checklist for breaking up with Mattel’s American Girl if you feel you need to be in a healthier relationship too.
- Unfinished business: Use any AG giftcards you have (no point in throwing away money). Do not use coupons or enticements unless you have already spent money (use it with a giftcard-paid purchase).
- Communicate: Let AG know that you’re done and why in whatever format works for you (social media, email, snail mail).
- Disconnect: Unsubscribe, unlike, unfollow…however, you’re connected to the company, let go.
- Savor: Be proud of who you are and what made you that way including your dolls and your dreams. It’s still ok to enjoy AG. If you still want to shop, there are many secondary markets available now for older items. New releases will eventually trickle down to the secondary market as well (check your sellers out first always!).
- Heal: Acknowledge your priorities, accept limitations, believe in your convictions and values. Don’t chastise yourself for staying informed if you want to keep up. Don’t feel like you’re obligated to do anything you aren’t comfortable with. Utilize your friends in the doll community for support and support them as well.
- Move on: Catalog your own collection yourself or on Dollation. Learn more about other products. Make more. Play more!