April 1, 2005

Baby doll

It's a commonplace observation that kids these days grow up so fast. In the sense that 'kids' hit puberty about 3-4 years earlier than they did a century ago they do grow up fast! It's not just the misperceptions of memory and anxieties of parenthood colliding.

On the train to Chicago I noticed several girls who must have been at least 10, probably older, carrying dolls. They weren't all related either. Four different families, it seemed. Four makes it a trend worth commenting on! A social fact, no less.

Perhaps Amtrak really is that scary, that 11 year old girls need the dolls of their earlier years to comfort them on the journey. When I was that age I don't think girls would have been caught in public carrying a doll. But this wasn't the first time I'd seen older girls carrying dolls around -- I've seen it elsewhere recently. And not just on scary public transport. Don't get me wrong, it's not like every 11 year old girl I've seen recently has been clasping her American Girl, but it seems more common than I would have thought.

Have things changed? Is it now socially acceptable amongst the pre-early pubescent set for girls to carry dolls in public?

Posted by robe0419 at April 1, 2005 3:26 PM

Maybe they were doing it for some sort of high school health/parenting class. When I was in HS, students in that class had to carry an egg around for a couple weeks without breaking it.

Posted by: Jim at April 1, 2005 5:17 PM

Yeah, I've heard of high school kids being assigned to carry a doll around for an extended time, in an attempt to help them understand the 24/7 nature of parenting.

But I also think you may be on to something--the American Girl people would certainly love to extend the "acceptable age" for caring about --and carrying about--dolls. Their "newest doll" is being marketed to ages "8 and up."

Posted by: Tim G. at April 4, 2005 10:35 AM

There were more on the return journey. Possibly new purchases from the American Girl store ... I tend to think that perhaps the age for public doll carrying is going up.

Or maybe it always was thus ...

Posted by: Evan at April 4, 2005 10:42 AM