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American Girl Dolls

Molly, American Girl Doll

As a child, I loved playing with my American Girl Dolls. I loved dressing them for different occasions, making up stories about them, taking them everywhere I went, etc… When I was little there were only about 8 staple American Girl Dolls: Felicity, Addy, Molly, Kit, Josephina, Kaya, Samantha, and Kirsten. Each girl represented a certain time period or historical event. For example, Molly was my first American Girl Doll, and her story was set in America during World War II. The Dolls were each about $125, which included the doll, her book, and her accessories. The American Girl Corporation is still producing new dolls today, and they have now started making dolls that you can personalize to look exactly like you.

When we discussed the articles from the 1920s in class, the article my group read was about how American toys were seen as more practical, while the European toys were meant to be whimsical. I believe this still to be true when addressing the American Girl Dolls. These dolls were not only fun for girls to carry around and play with their friends, but they were educational as well. Each doll also comes with a book that tells her full story in their specific time period. My friends and I collected the dolls and shared the books so we could read about the other dolls we didn’t have. The books taught us about the different time periods and historical events that each doll was supposed to have lived in. They ranged from Molly’s World War II story to Addy’s Civil War slave story to Kaya’s Native American history.

These dolls also play a role in developing gender roles for girls. Clearly, these dolls were marketed towards young girls and not boys. It could be argued that these dolls taught the young girls how to care for others. The dolls also came with clothes for different occasions you could change them in to, such as gym clothes, sleeping clothes, and various party clothes. These dolls teach girls to take care of and protect others, instilling mothering instincts into the girls’ soon-to-be adult responsibilities.

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