Sunday, February 26, 2017

All The New News: A Little Late Part Two

I promise that the title isn't just leading you on this time! I'm going to get the rest of American Girl's exciting Valentine's Day news into this post, but I suggest you make yourself comfortable, because this might be a long one. 

I meant to sit down and write these Valentine's night, however I ended up getting sick. As a result, all of this "new" news is now almost two weeks old, and you are probably aware of most of it. On the off chance that you aren't though, I still wanted to take the time to share it here. (Don't forget to check out my first "new" news post from yesterday, because it covers all things Nanea Mitchell, and I can already tell that she's going to be awesome!) 

American Girl has a very busy year ahead as they revealed on February 14th with the announcement that there will be six named characters releasing this year! 

Some, like Gabriela, Tenney, and Logan we already knew about, but AG decided to throw Z, Nanea, and a new face mold in there for good measure just to keep us on our toes. (And I am sure they were hoping the V-Day announcement would throw just a little attention off the Pantygate 2017 scandal. Ha!) 

We have to start with Gabby (who I have yet to decide if she prefers to spell it G-a-b-b-y or G-a-b-b-i, but I fell like she hasn't really decided yet either), because, despite what American Girl and much of the fandom seems to believe, she is the Girl of The Year, and should be celebrated and honored as such! 

While the fact that AG finally decided to release a Doll of Color as the GOTY is amazing and cause for celebration, it's no secret that she was not their main focus of 2017. They released this amazing doll, with a better story than the GOTY line has seen in several years, and seemingly gave her collection no more thought than what they could piece together from other GOTY leftovers. Still, the fact that AG was focused on other things in no way takes away from the awesomeness that is Gabriela McBride, and the announcements on V-Day included some new goodies for Gabriela too!

It looks like our favorite girl will be getting a new chair, ottoman, and a brightly colored loft bed for Maya to curl up on while Gabriela writes her poetry. That's also a new dress she's sporting in this screenshot from AG's live video, and you can see her second book which is scheduled to release on April 25th. There is no date yet for her loft bed and other accessories, though it is safe to say that they will be coming to the Dahl House whenever they are released.

The synopsis for Gabriela's third book is also available on Amazon now, and it looks like we can expect for it to hit the shelves sometime late September. 

While my children have a few modern dolls, Gabriela is my first non historical, and I am absolutely smitten with her! I'd heard rumors that she'd be getting a "big" piece, but it was nice to finally get to see it even if we're not sure when it will be released. Since Gabbi is going to be available past 2017 I wouldn't put it past AG to release her loft bed later in the year to hopefully hype up holiday sales. You never can tell with AG though, and it could very likely be included in their summer release. 

We've known about Tenney Grant, American Girl's first Contemporary Character, for awhile now, but she's officially arrived to very mixed reviews.

It's very hard for me to look at her and see anything other than an American Girl version of young Taylor Swift, and while I have no real issue with Taylor Swift, I am pretty bitter about the fact that Tenney (and Logan) were obviously American Girl's real focus in 2017. In fact, many believe that she was planned to be the original GOTY, and AG threw Gabriela together last minute in response to the overwhelming demand for an African-American GOTY. (A theory supported by the size and quantity of her collection and the fact that she is even sharing Gabriela's "exclusive" earrings.)

Tenney is slightly older than other characters released by American Girl, and attempt to keep the AG audience interested in dolls and their stories a little bit longer perhaps, and has dreams of making it big in country music. I have no issue admitting that some of her collection is cute, but all of our love is going to Gabriela this year (vote with your dollars), so Tenney's cuter clothing pieces will have to wait. 

I do really like her hat, (In fact, this entire outfit is my favorite of hers by far!) and can just imagine how well Gabby would rock that particular piece, but it will have to wait for a bit considering AG seems to think it's worth $18, and I disagree.

In addition to being "older", Tenney's hands are also made from a new mold in order to make it easier for her to hold her pick, guitar, and banjo. 

While Tenney's most expensive accessory is her double sided stage & dressing room, it could be argued that her biggest accessory is American Girl's second Contemporary Character, and first boy doll, Logan. 

Logan Everett, drummer, accessory, and a complete shame. I have already gone on record as having no issue with American Girl deciding to release a boy doll. There is clearly a market for it, and American Girl is a business above all else. It makes sense that they would see the market out there for custom boys and decide to jump on it themselves. 

When the rumors for Logan started leaking there were mothers on the Internet absolutely "horrified" that American Girl would ever think of releasing a boy in their ranks, though the speed at which Logan went on back order suggests that at least some of those women were completely full of it when they declared that they would "never ever give them one more cent of my hard earned money if they do this!" Now, don't get me wrong, these women are very separate from those with well articulated and thought out concerns about what including a boy means for this brand that has always been about empowering girls. I understand their issues with the thought of a boy American Girl even though I don't personally have an issue with AG choosing to release a boy doll. The "devastated" women I am complaining about are the ones who questioned the moral decision to add a boy because it might a) Encourage boys to play with dolls, and we can't have that now or b) Might cause little girls to think they should have a boyfriend and lead to "unsavory behavior in the eyes of Jesus". (And, yes, I read comments about both of those concerns, including the parts in quotes.)    

As the auntie to three little girls who have lost a brother I know that they love both their dolls and the chance to give their dolls and toys a brother figure while they play. Their mothers do not have the funds for OOAK customized boy dolls, and Auntie hasn't done much any customizing yet, so the thought of a boy AG doll was welcomed by our family. 

Then they released his pictures. Welcome turned to anger, and Auntie has been watching a lot more YouTube about customization while shopping Craigslist and eBay for inexpensive TLC dolls. 

When Kaya was created as American Girl's first Native American doll there was an entire research group put together so as to create the most authentic, historically accurate doll that they could for the Nimi'ipuu tribe...Including creating her very own, closed mouthed face mold, because showing teeth was a sign of aggression for Kaya's people. It is a beautiful face mold, and Kaya is a beautiful girl. The fact that her face mold was specifically made for a Native American girl of color makes it an even more disgusting move on AG's part that the first time they use it again is for a white boy with absolutely no Native American background. (Though I am sure he claims some kind of Cherokee ancestry. It seems the kind of thing Logan would do.) 

For a company that is clearly trying to combat the racist image they have earned over the years this could not have been a worse move on their part. It dishonors everything Kaya is, as the only American Girl representing Native culture, with all of the research and care that was taken with her and her collection, to take her face and slap it so casually on a basic white boy who is nothing more than an accessory to Tenney. Native women are not masculine, AG, and Kaya's face should never have been used for Logan. Not ever. It's a disgrace that even my 7 year old was able to comprehend, so I can't imagine that it escaped the multitude of adults that this decision had to go through before it was made...Which leads me to believe that you simply don't care.

Logan's popularity can't be denied, but we won't be getting him. My girls will just have to get their own special boy dolls at some point in the future. 

Oh, and as the wife and mother of a drummer, this is not a drum set in any stretch of the imagination. If you're going to release a drum set you should maybe do a little research as to what they consist of before you slap a price tag on this incomplete piece of plastic. Just saying.

And now onto happier things...

AG has made it clear that the BeForever line is open to pulling girls out of the archives before, and they are doing it again with this BeRelease of the beautiful Felicity Merriman! As a long time Felicity groupie I was thrilled when rumors of Felicity's return started leaking. I'm most likely not in the market for a new doll, though my oldest is campaigning hard for a BeFelicity, but the thought of being able to add to my Felicity's collection is appealing. Unfortunately, for now at least, her collection is pretty light.

That's all, folks. I am hoping that they will release more later on, and also that she will become available in more than just the three flagship stores at a later date. (Perhaps after Samantha's rumored retirement happens.) If you already have a Felicity but want this third version of her meet dress it is available to purchase on its own. While I really like the embroidery detail I am just not drawn to this dress for my Felicity. She might eventually get it, but it will be much further down the road. The books are headed our way though, as part of an important 8th birthday we have coming up next month, so I'll be sure to read and review. 

Which brings us to Z Yang of the Z Crew! Before AG's V-Day live video I'd only heard of the Z Crew through AG's trademarks and a few people who'd mentioned the name Z on the boards. I don't create stop motion animation, though it is huge in many of the American Girl circles online. Once again, AG proved that they are watching their community and latching onto what is popular, because they made their own character, a girl named Suzie "Z" Yang, who does her very own stop motion videos online. Z started out as a character on AG's online play site, but on Valentine's Day they revealed that you are now going to have the chance to get their very own Z Yang to take home with you complete with her own books!

Like I said, I had really no idea about her before Valentine's Day, but you have to admit that she's pretty cute. I certainly like her better than Tenney, and I love that there seems to be more diversity in the first two months of 2017 than there has been in the last 20+ years from American Girl. I don't know if they are listening because they care or because their profit margin is down and they'll try anything at this point, but it's a step in the right direction either way. 

Z is rumored to be releasing on April 27th. I'm not sure if she'll be coming home with us at some point, though I am positive that it won't be this year, (Because, Nanea! Have you heard about Nanea?!) but we'll still head over to her release to see what she's about. (And if any of her collection needs to come home for Gabriela to use.) She also has an Amazon original movie releasing this summer that we're all pretty excited to see. 

All in all, regardless of my feelings about certain characters being released this year, It was still a huge news day for American Girl! I look forward to seeing what else that have in store for these characters and their collections this year. Now all that is left is for you to choose you character. Who is coming home with you in 2017? Who can you live without?

I must have Z's (I am assuming) camera! It must be mine! It's too cute not to be!

~Mrs. D

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