Thursday, January 9, 2014

My thoughts on the new Girl of the Year, Isabelle.

New year, new American Girl of the Year.

This is Isabelle. She's a dancer and also enjoys sewing costumes and clothes. When she's accepted into a prestigious dance school, she struggles with comparing herself to the other, better dancers. She must focus on her individual talents and gifts.
As far as American Girl's recent stories... this pretty much fits in right with their core message "follow your inner star." I like how the focus is on individual gifts, and not comparing yourself to others. I think that that's something that lots of girls struggle with. I know I've struggled with it in the past.
The doll herself has layered, caramel-colored hair and hazel eyes. She also comes with a pink hairpiece that you can clip underneath her hair to give her highlights. From what I've read/heard from reviewers of the doll, the hairpiece doesn't work that well and it's really hard to put in, and once it's in you can't see it that well.

On to Isabelle's clothing!
Isabelle's got lots of outfits... and the ridiculous thing is, nearly every individual piece of clothing is sold separately! Every piece costs $8-14.

You can mix and match the clothing up at the top for many unique looks... But $8-$14 for one of the above pieces of clothing? That's a lot of money... Especially for stuff that could you could easily make yourself. That plain pink shirt right in the middle, for example. $14! For a plain shirt!
She does have a few other outfits...

I don't understand this one... It looks like the dress is falling off (thank goodness for the shirt-thing underneath!). The belt, however, is very cute.

Then there's this outfit, which I think is adorable. I love the ballet-type shoes.

Finally there are Isabelle's pajamas. The pants look comfy, but who sleeps in sequins? I would imagine that would be very uncomfortable.

Now the furniture and accessories:

Isabelle's accessories come with a very cute jean jacket, a gold sequiny purse, some wrist warmers, a hairpiece, an ID, and a Metro pass. I these are pretty cute accessories (except for the purse. It looks like something from Build-A-Bear).

This is Isabelle's cat Tutu, who's pretty cute, though not handsome enough to tempt me.

This is a little case full of hair accessories and, it looks like, slippers in the pocket. This set costs a whopping $44! I can't believe it! Most of these things I have already... like the hairbands and bobby pins. I can't imagine paying $44 for a case of stuff that you could buy at the drug store.

This is Isabelle's dance barre. I don't even want to know how much it costs... but it's a pretty cool set.  2012's Girl of the Year, McKenna, had a balancing beam, which didn't seem very doll-appropriate, because all you can really do is stand the doll on the beam and hope she doesn't fall off (though for littler girls, they could twirl the doll around and pretend she's doing gymnastics).
This set seems a lot more doll-friendly. I saw a picture in the catalog of Isabelle standing with one foot on the barre, like ballet dancers do, and it looked pretty real! Plus, the accessories that come with the barre are pretty cool too. Though it's kind of weird that you have to buy the set just to get the ballet shoes... A money-making scheme, I deem. (You see, I am a poet, and you did not know it, what!)

Last but not least, you have Isabelle's sewing studio, which costs $275. It has a nice cabinet, which closes and has mirrors and a barre on the outside. It also has the mannequin, and a sewing machine and a poof (aka a tuffet... or a chair, depending on who you're talking to). It looks like there's nice storage and some nice accessories that come with set. I think it's super cool to have a doll that's into sewing, because today, it seems like girls are doing all they can do be less feminine.

So that's Isabelle's collection! Overall, it's an okay collection... I really like the basis for her stories, and the sewing theme. As for originality in the actual pieces of the collection... well, I don't think American Girl did a very good job.
Isabelle, for example, looks like a mix between 2010's Girl of the Year, Lanie (for face mold and eyes), and the Just Like You/My American Girl doll #39 (for face mold and hair).

(Sorry for the blurriness. The three pictures were all different sizes. Also... another thing to note... On American Girl's website, it looks almost like Isabelle has Felicity's bright green eyes. She doesn't. They are hazel.)

I also had this problem with McKenna... who had the exact same face mold and eye color as Chrissa, Girl of the Year 2009, and Saige, last year's Girl of the Year, who had nearly the same face as Nikki (who, I believe, was from 2007?). Also, the newest historical character Caroline, has very similar features as Lanie and several of the Just Like You/My American Girls.
What's up American Girl? There are plenty of different face pigmentations and eye colors and hair shades to chose from. Why keep choosing ones that look like other dolls? There's only ever been one dark-skinned Girl of the Year - Kanani from Hawaii. Why can't we have an African-American Girl of the Year? I think an African-American dancer named Isabelle who likes to sew would be an adorable addition to the world of American Girl.

Another problem I have with Isabelle's collection is all the pink and purple! You look at all of American Girl's outfits and accessories and nearly all of them have something pink or purple in them, and often both colors. Just take a look at Isabelle's pajamas. They're all a nice shade of purple... and then there's a random pink bow thrown in. Her black and gold tutu set looks very professional and smart... and then there's the pink flower. Her sewing room is all pink and purple. I'm getting very tired of the same colors in every single outfit.
American Girl's motto is "follow your inner star" and "be yourself."
What I really think they're trying to say is "be yourself by being like everyone else."

American Girl says to be yourself and follow your inner star... but underneath all of that... all of their dolls and outfits are starting to look exactly the same. Even their stories are all starting to sound alike. I recently read the Marie-Grace and Cecile books and was saddened to find out that they were mostly about character development, and not as much about the rich culture of New Orleans. Sure, the author told us about New Orleans, but it wasn't much more than that.
Marie-Grace went into the market and passed fruit stands with colored women in bright turbans selling their wares.
That was about as descriptive as it got. I wanted more history! More description! I wanted to feel like I was there with Marie-Grace!

Anyway, I should stop my ranting about American Girl. Every time I talk about them, I get just a bit upset and very sad. They were such an amazing company when their focus was on the historical characters, and making everything unique. Now, the focus is on the modern girls, and everything is pink, purple, and plastic. American Girl Dolls are turning into giant Barbies.

xD I'm kidding. Sort of...

So what do you think of American Girl's newest doll Isabelle? What about their change from historical and unique to Giant Barbie?

Live long and prosper!

1 comment:

  1. I hadn't seen Isabelle yet, but I love her sewing studio! I'd like one of those in my size :)
    I get what you mean about everything starting to look and sound the same, I've noticed that with the dolls too.