Wednesday, April 26, 2006

American Me

This Saturday, Cheryl and I went to 'The Grove' which is the Disneyland uber-rich version of 'the mall'. They have only high-end expensive stores, and about 75% of the attendees were 20-something Beverly Hills 90210 mall rats. With $1000 Dooney and Burke purses. I was extremely underdressed. No thong underwear or purses worth more than my car.

There are pond fountains that dance to music a la The Bellagio in Las Vegas. Does that hint at the non-mallness of this mall?

At said mall, Cheryl and I witnessed the glory that is 'American Girl' store. Where you can purchase a doll made to look like you. It's the cabbage patch on speed. They sell both child-sized and doll-sized clothing so you can dress like your doll. They even had a 'hair salon' where these 'Beauty Shop' Queen Latifah stylists were gabbing as they brushed the crap out of these tiny doll heads, while their little girl owners stood nearby in awe. They had cheerleader outfits and gymnastic outfits. Ironically, the gymnast was also wearing an arm cast, leg cast and ankle guard. Apparently gymnastics is dangerous. There were even wheelchairs, and crutches. Clearly for the gymnasts as well. Cheryl remarked how the wheelchairs and crutches girls were in the section with the brushes and accessories...and that a handicapped child seemed to be an accessory. I think it was actually the wheelchair that was the accessory, but it was scarily questionable nonetheless.

There was a cafe, theater (for stage shows!), birthday party area, grooming area...I'm hyperventilating. The politically correct part of the store was the historical dolls - where you could play with Claire from 1879, or depression-era Holly. She really didn't seem that depressed. It was more Daddy Warbucks depression - which means, not at all. We noted they didn't have a 70's or 80's historical doll, since that would be...well, us.

I think overall it was a disturbing experience, mainly because of the sheer magnitude of this store - just dolls, and it's the size of 5th Avenue Macy's. There was also an eerie theme song that kept playing, but seemed to have no source. Possibly it was the 15 foot live pink flower arrangements.

But I also think we both were a bit jealous that we didn't have dolls. Although we probably would have gone counter-culture and gotten dolls that did NOT look like us. And put casts all over them, not brush their hair, let them be naked, and just made people deal with it. Because that's American Us.


lost goddess said...

I found a catalog from them when I was 7 to 9-ish and loved just looking at it. Even though they had no dolls that looked like me. I am half White and Mexican. I had light brown hair with hazel eyes. All the white, light haired dolls had blue or green eyes (should have been my first clue these dolls where out of my league). Definitely not me, but they had everything I ever wanted. I now look at these dolls and this place as a huge insult to everyone who has any sense to know better, and a wake up call to all those who are not.

Schrodinger's Kitten said...

You'd be surprised, they have every possible ethnicity of doll now...however...they didn't really represent them accurately, or without some 'we're all ethnic barbies' wink. It's a scary, scary place.

Schrodinger's Kitten said...

Just found this:

A few years ago, members of the Barbie Liberation Organization sneaked into toy stores and swapped the voice boxes of 300 GI Joe and Barbie dolls. Boys who later purchased the plastic soldiers were surprised to hear
them make comments like "I like to go shopping with you," while the girls who came into possession of the mutated Barbies heard terse barks like "To the front lines, men!"

Tracy Lynn said...

I saw the write up on that a few days ago. I liked Barbie, but as a blue eyed blonde, wasn't too messed up about it. Of course it helps that I have tits of steel.

Cheryl said...

Lost Goddess: There is plenty to be said about the general fucked-up-ness of a culture that can turn even slavery into a commodity (see doll Addy Walker's caged songbird [!] accessory, $18).

But I am happy--well, maybe that's not exactly the right word--to report that one of the newer "historical" girls is Josefina, a young ranchera in 19th century New Mexico. You can buy her a loom and a baby goat.

Fitèna said...

Sounds like a great place to Unleash the Child in you!!!? You won't get it now, wait till tomorrow, the 28th!