Thoughts On The Underwear Controversy

So I first heard about the “permanently attached” doll underwear last Friday I believe. I spent the weekend as well as Monday and today reading comments left on American Girl’s Facebook page and on Instagram. I think I have seen it from just about every angle imaginable. I even had a long in-depth conversation about it with my best friend. But one question wasn’t really answered. Why? Why make this change? Why do the dolls now need permanently attached underwear after thirty plus years of not needing them?

American Girl claims that they made the adjustment because of complaints. But in all of my reading that I have done, I believe I saw exactly FIVE that were for the change. There were a couple dozen who didn’t seem to care one way or another. But there were literally thousands that were against this change. Now I know that all of those comments do not represent all of American Girl’s clientele but it should be a decent size sample to get an idea of what a larger group of people are really thinking. Also they have no plans on “permanently attaching” Bitty Baby’s diapers and they have a much younger and irresponsible target age range. Why not? If their reasoning is actually true, why are Bitty Baby’s diapers not going to be “permanently attached”? So American Girl’s reasoning doesn’t ring true to me.

On one of the Facebook posts a comment was left saying “…If you need to make that change for your ‘expanded markets,’ then you need to change it only for that market. …” (There was more and if you want to know the entire quote you can go look it up) but American Girl responded with “…just a note that this design change isn’t due to our plans to expand into international markets.” But they have made comments in the past, only to completely contradict themselves a week later. So can we really trust this.

Some claim it is American Girl trying to cheapen their product again. I am not sure I agree with this theory. Unless they are referring to future outfits will not need to come with underwear (although I don’t personally know of any outfits that come with underwear other than the meet outfits that come on the doll when purchased) and the underwear and tank top sets that American Girl has stated they will continue to make and sell. They might be lying. They might NOT be lying. Who knows? They claim another way that they have cheapened the product is the packaging. I don’t know. It doesn’t really bother me for the dolls or for the accessories. But for the outfits it could be a problem. It looks very much like Our Generation packaging now. I don’t have a problem with Our Generation. I buy Our Generation. However, when I buy an Our Generation outfit, I know the quality is way inferior to American Girl’s so when there are tiny holes it isn’t such a big deal. When I spend twice or three times as much to buy an American Girl outfit, I know the quality is higher and I absolutely would not want tiny holes in those clothes so I do see the frustration in the clothing packaging. The packaging to the dolls and the accessories though I really wasn’t all that upset about because I am not one to keep all of my boxes. I figure I only have room for so much and I’d rather it not be taken up with boxes.

I have seen a picture of what the new underwear will look like and in all honesty they do not look bad at all. They actually look very much like what the older underwear look like. But I still don’t like the idea. I know. It’s a doll. I shouldn’t get so worked up. But to me it is still a problem. How are the dolls to use the bathroom, shower, bathe, or change their underwear? Who wears underwear under their bathing suit? Again I know it is just a doll but to children, they are their friends. And children like to make-believe that their dolls do all of those things. Some children don’t but so many do. Many parents use the dolls to teach about hygiene and other topics as well. So why is American Girl taking that away from them? I don’t like that some children have already said they will try to remove the permanent underwear even though American Girl claims they “cannot be removed with a seam ripper”. Will American Girl cover the cost of fixing or replacing those dolls when those things inevitably do happen? Probably not. If an adult collector figures out a way to remove them, will they be allowed to be admitted to the Doll Hospital? Customs are not allowed, so I doubt it. If we send in older and even Pleasant Company dolls to the Doll Hospital because something very unfortunate happened and they need a new body, will they be given one with “permanently attached” underwear? There are so many unanswered questions.

Will this keep me from buying a new doll? I don’t know. Right now I really want to get Logan when he is released and I have plans to drive three hours to do so the day of his release. But I am still unsure if I will actually get him or not. American Girl was asked if Logan and Tenney would have the new “permanently attached” underwear and they responded that they would indeed have the new design. However, on Instagram someone was able to purchase him already and has stated and shown with pictures that his underwear are removable. My guess is that the first batch to be shipped out and sold were made with the old underwear design and any that are made now will have the new design. That is my hope any way and I hope I get a Logan from the batch with the unattached boxer briefs.

Whatever I do decide to get, you can be sure I will review it on here! So stay tuned!

Well thanks for letting me ramble on with my thoughts. I thought I might rant when I first started typing this, but I don’t feel that I did that. What are your thoughts on this controversy? Are you for it? Against it? Or don’t really care? Let me know in the comments please! I love to hear from you!

SIDE NOTE: Grace Thomas who according to her books was from St. Louis, was purchased by me in Nashville. Logan and Tenney are from Nashville, and I will be going to St. Louis to get Logan.

*UPDATE* February 9, 2017 – I found on Jezebel.com that American Girl responded about the “underwear outrage”.

‘The decision to make this change was made for several reasons, including our ability to continue producing a quality product without the price of our dolls going up. And because we learned from our consumer research that the new underwear design will make play easier for some children and will ensure the underwear cannot be lost, we hoped it was an overall benefit for most. Having observed for decades how girls play with our dolls, outfits, and accessories, we believe the change will not limit how a young girl imagines or interacts with her doll.’

I don’t know. I’m still not convinced this actually saves them money. I think all this will do is drive up the cost of old bodies on eBay, for all of us collectors that so not want the permanently attached underwear.

-erin

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