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American Girls Gone Wild

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If you've been to the Grove lately, you know about the American Girl Doll phenomenon: 7 year old girls dragging around $86 dolls with matching clothing that sells for about $80 per outfit for the girl (and $25 per outfit for the doll). Every westside 2nd grader must have a doll, and leaving the Grove without $300 worth of American Girl Place Merchandise is a cause for shame.

Despite the fact that dolls were traditionally for "kids," it seems Mattel's effort here is actually having the opposite effect. Our little American girls are worried about class, brand name, and commercialism. The priorities have shifted, and now they're turning into annoying mini-versions of their middle-class brand-whore parents who learn early that elitism is a virtue.

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Now that American Girl Dolls have taken over the Westside, my guess is that every girl in 3rd grade who does not have a birthday party at American Girl Place will be ostracized by her classmates. Parents, do your girl a favor and give her the party! It's only $60 per kid to have a 90 minute birthday party, $60 x her 8 closest friends is under $500. (Or you could spend the entire day at Disneyland for the same price. You know, whatever your precious little princess needs.)

*note that to have a "hair salon spectacular" at your 90 minute party there is an additional fee, so don't forget to budget that in, thanks

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The irony in all of this is that they have an American Girl class on how to make money. It only costs $24 per person, which I suppose means that anyone idiotic enough to pay for the class really does need it. Talk about a selection bias.

American Girl also has their own cafe, where you and your doll can enjoy a meal together amongst other American Girl Single Mothers. Shit, you know, when I was a kid I was happy with a burger and fries. A McDonald's Happy Meal was a once-a-month treat, and if we were extra good we could get a hot fudge sundae with nuts on top though I usually had to share that with my sister. Since the American Dream is to make sure our children have more than we had at their age, check this out: The dolls get salad nicoise. Can the kid even SAY "nicoise"? And tell me, what 8 year old kid likes portabello salad and artichoke dip?

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Okay, okay, I know. I'm a rude bitch. This because when I was 8 years old, I didn't have theAmerican Girl manners class. I'm hoping for $90 a person they will teach me that it's rude for an American Girl to want to have a career or be independent, and that proper manners include not thinking for oneself, falling victim to out of control marketing schemes, and pressuring others to spend money so that you can have anything you like. I also hope they eliminate that pesky imagination that kids have, and hopefully naturalize them into the submissive position of proper womanhood.

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While it may be "fun" to watch your $86 doll be pampered in a doll sized chair with a doll sized comb and a doll sized water bottle (a facial can be added on for only $5!), I'm feeling rather certain that the 8 year olds who are indulging in this luxury do not have this much disposable income. Which leads me to believe that there are parents (and not just a few) who are out there spoiling their little girls by teaching them it is okay to spend $15 to have someone else put a ribbon in your pretty princess's hair, which translates to: It is more special to have other people do things that you could otherwise do for yourself and that's okay because money actually does grow on trees and is harvested into Mommy's purse and that's why consumerism brings happiness.

These are the prices for the American Girl hair salon at American Girl Place.

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For the girl who wants to do it on her own (God forbid girls do anything on their own these days!), she can pay $27 (per person) to learn from an American Doll Stylist how to put your doll's hair in a ponytail. Please note that it is a 4 part class, and $27 for EACH PART. Various parts include "5 minute hairdos" for when your doll is really in a rush to get to the mall and just doesn't have time for the braids, and "fancy up-dos" for when your doll is invited to a formal event or wedding (which won't happen, since there are no male dolls for them to marry).

And I wondered where MTV found all of those people to be on "My Super Sweet Sixteen." Silly me.

photos by me, Malingering