The REAL American Girl?

girl with doll

What kind of world do we live in when a 5-year-old knows the difference between a REAL American Girl doll, and a knock off?  Wait, and why does this matter?  Can anyone remind me?

When I was 5 years old, I didn’t know a thing about brands.  In fact, it wasn’t until I was in high school and coveted a pair of Jordache jeans that my parents would not buy me, that I even thought about brand names versus non-brand names. 

A few weeks ago, when my daughter took her Christmas ‘American Doll” (from Target because I refuse to pay over a $100 for a doll for my 5 year old that will end up with Sharpie on her face) to school for share day, one of the kids made fun of her saying, “Your doll is not a real American Girl doll!”

So when I picked her up, she asked me.  “IS this a real American Girl doll?” She was deeply concerned.  Had she been duped by Santa?  I did what any good mom would do, and lied.  “Of course it is!”  She gave a sigh of relief and then went on to tell me the story about ‘Abigail' ousting her in front of the whole class during share time that her doll was in fact, a fake.  I thought about explaining karma, but decided otherwise.

I know kids will be kids.  I also know – having two teenagers – that brand names at some point come into the psychological play of the social hierarchy at school.  I don't agree with it, but I know that it happens.  Few 10th graders would be walking around with a knock off Vera Bradley back pack.  But in kindergarten?  (Scratching my head)

Which brings me to my next question?  Why does a 4th grader need a $80 book bag?  Why would you pay $75 for jeans at Abercrombie when you could get them for $15 at a second hand store, or find just as nice a pair at Target?  (Especially when your child is going to grow out of them in a matter of months?)

And all of this in the wake of a recession?  As a society, we can barely afford our grocery bills, so how are we affording all these upscale amenities for our children?

Obviously, kids get this snobbish attitude from their parents.  They have to.  There is no other reason that a 5 year old would shun another 5 year old for having what she thought was a fake doll.

Here's what I think.  We should feel compelled to provide our children with what we can afford.  Owning a car is better than making payments on a car any day of the week.  Kids actual ‘needs' really are slight.  The fake American Girl doll will play just as well as the real one. 

We should be teaching our children, that price tags and brand names, and the latest fads are not tied to our self image or self worth.  No one person is better than another based on what they have in monetary terms.  And just as important, we should teach our children to be grateful for what they do have, what they have been provided with. 

Considering that RIGHT now, this very minute – there are dozens of parents bidding on EBAY for an empty “REAL” American Girl box that they can pack a knock off in, do you think we are going too far?


What do you think? 

What do you think?

The REAL American Girl?

Stef Daniel is the 40ish year old, experienced (meaning crazy already) mother of count ‘em…4 daughters (yes, she takes prayers) who have taught her nearly E.V.E.R.Y.T.H.I.N.G she needs to know about raising kids and staying sane. She hails from a small town in Georgia where she lives with her family in a red tin roofed house (with just ONE bathroom mind you) on a farm - with tons of animals of course. One day, due to her sheer aversion to shoes and her immense lov ... More

Tell us what you think!


  1. nadellransom says:

    Totally spot on in my life right now! I have a ten year old and seven 1/2 year old who are all obsessed with American Girl dolls. The 7 1/2 year old asked for a specific one from Santa for Christmas and he delivered one that looked like her, but wasn’t the actual brand. Guess who still calls her an American Girl doll and doesn’t seem to care that it cost less than a fifth of what a new AG doll costs? My daughters went through the magazine and wrote out all the things they wanted and it was $1,100. We laughed at them…. and then suggested some sewing practice so they can make their own new outfits and offered to make our own bunkbed (for much less than the amount charged in the magazine). I think they’ll like the clothes even more being able to pick out their own fabrics and do the work themselves (better than some kid their age in a foreign country anyway, right?)

  2. Lisa Orchard says:

    This article is right on! We are doing our best to raise our boys without the brand name stigma. It’s too bad that it’s so prevalent in our schools.

  3. orgnlrubyl says:

    I was raised that clothes were clothes. My mom always found us the most awesome clothes at garage sales, and thrift stores, and I absolutely loved getting hand me downs from my aunt. I never understood when my sister (who is 2 years younger than me) started complaining cause she didn’t have Calvin Kleins and the such. Now that I am watching my MIL with my 15 year old SIL I am still confused as to why a child need clothes only from Aeropostle, American Eagle, and stores such as that! I am hoping that I can raise my son with the idea that clothes are clothes and it doesn’t matter what store they come from.

  4. Kimberly says:

    It is ridiculous when I see kids with Gap and Gucci clothes, it makes me so mad because these are the parents that can’t make their payment on their houses and it’s everyone elses fault and every else has wronged them. I love buying at yard sales and thrift stores because they wear the clothes 2 times and that it all they fit into them. I got everything for our baby second hand or given to us from people who didn’t need the clothes anymore. The only thing we invested in was the crib and changing table that we got on sale with the mattress and bedding included into the price for $200. Stop spending like crazy and take control of your finances instead of keeping up with everyone around you.

  5. Zaiynab says:

    I never cared about brand names growing up, even as a teenager and even now I think it’s a waste of money when you can buy something for a lot less elsewhere. It is true, my parents taught me that buy buying used items and cheaper items themselves. I even got excited about finding $5 clothes on the clearance rack as a high schooler lol, still do! I hope to raise our kids that way too.

  6. Pixie says:

    This world is getting to materialize. As a child I didn’t care about tags or if my toys were the most expensive. As a teen I didn’t care about name brands. I rather have more cute clothes than have name brand clothes and have less of them. I’m so glad my children r not worried about brands well at least not yet.

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