I am so close to upholding my goal of featuring every doll in my collection on this blog. I am so close-the only dolls I haven't done reviews on yet are Maryellen, Julie, Marie-Grace, and Kit (I do not have Ruthie yet). Today I'm going to talk about Kit.
Kit is kind of an interesting doll to me in terms of her release. As a child, I was very much a fan of the American Girl line. I never owned any of the dolls when I was a kid, but I loved the books and wanted a Josefina doll more than anything. Back then, that line consisted of Samantha, Kirsten, Molly, Felicity, Addy, and Josefina. Kaya and Kit came out just as I was aging out of the books.
When my interest in American Girl returned (once I had my own money), it was interesting to go back through the books and get to know these characters again (and meet some new ones-Rebecca quickly became one of my favorite new characters). I remembered Kit's stories, but just barely.
I will say this though-Kit is probably the character with the strongest personality. I say this because she has real flaws that don't prevent her from being a likable character. With the other girls, they tend to lean to either direction. I can't think of Josefina having any major character flaws except being a little timid and shy. Molly had flaws-and they made me really annoyed throughout her series. Kit, on the other hand, is a very irritable and prideful character who still comes across as strong and smart. She's not as sweet as pie as the other girls. Even though Kit is not my favorite doll (I have nostalgia glasses for Josefina and Kirsten and the Great Depression isn't really my favorite time period to read about), I will say that I believe her series and character to be among the best written of the entire line because she always feels like a real person to me.
Anyways, moving on. Today I'm going to review her second reporter outfit (gasp-I actually like this one better than the original! What blasphemy!) along with her reporter accessories. For my "history" section, I'm going to talk about journalism in the 1930s.
Journalism in the Great Depression:
Like all other aspects of American life, journalism was changed by the Great Depression. I truly believe that this economic crisis (and possibly the recession of 2008, though perhaps it is too soon to tell) had a long lasting impact on the American psyche as a whole. American attitudes toward money and the size of government changed significantly. Whether you think it's good or bad, many Americans began to desire a larger role for government. Gone were the days when the government was only for enforcing laws and enacting defense. Now people wanted the government to have a hand in assisting the economy when things went badly.
But that is not the only impact the Great Depression made on America (and on the world-if Germany hadn't been so economically devastated, perhaps WWII and the Holocaust would not have happened). Even things as seemingly innocuous as journalism and fashion were affected. There are very few things I can think of that weren't changed forever by the Depression. Today we're focusing on journalism.
Many newspapers went under during the Depression because of the lack of advertising revenue. Those that didn't often fired reporters, forcing the remaining staff to work harder for lower wages. Reporters had resisted unionization in the years previous to the crisis and now that came back to haunt them. Reporters would work for 6 days a week for 10-12 hours a day-it was grueling work, and one of the lowest paid white collar professions. However, as time went on, unions were founded.
The news that was covered changed too. Now newspapers focused on what the president was doing. They also tried to explain it so that the average American could understand the often complicated political process-previously, newspapers had simply presented the facts, leaving the reader to interpret the information without help.
This increased need for interpretation led to the rise of syndicated columnists who freely expressed their (often conservative) political views. These views would be read all over the nation as multiple newspapers published these articles. They weren't all conservative opponents of New Deal relief programs however-Dorothy Thompson (yes, there were female reporters, so Kit did have role models to look up to), an international news reporter, wrote a column where she attacked FDR for not going far enough with his programs (she still supported him for president, however, mostly because she believed FDR was the man who could help the nation through WWII).
These conservative writers were often criticized for downplaying what was happening. Originally this was part of an effort to prevent panic (a noble goal because panic during an economic crisis makes the problem worse because people stop spending money therefore leading to people losing their jobs as money stops flowing therefore leading to people without money to spend and so on until it spirals out of control). Eventually however the press was completely out of touch with public sentiment-FDR kept winning elections despite the fact that the great majority of the press was against him. This led to a growing mistrust of the news media that I would argue is still prevalent today.
I like to imagine that Kit became a very successful journalist. Thankfully by the time she was an adult, the working conditions would have improved somewhat. She would have covered breaking stories and wrote about women's issues and sports. She might have gone on to write books-remember that she did write that fiction story for Ruthie. But I guess I should save that for my "where would they be?" post.
Kit's Reporter Outfit:
The first component of the outfit is a red and white dress.
As you can see, the dress features a white "blouse" with an off center collar, puffed short sleeves, and a knee length red and white polka dot skirt.
On the collar, you can see red and teal embroidery. On the side, the collar features a teal bow as trim. The embroidery gives it a colorful touch without taking the outfit into girly territory.
Here are those short puff sleeves.
The skirt is a very vibrant red which I think is a good color on Kit. The skirt features pleats below the waist and includes a teal belt "buckle" at her waist. The fit is close and sharp.
The dress velcros up the back like most American Girl outfits. Did you know that zippers became very popular in the Great Depression because they were cheaper than buttons? Just a piece of trivia about real world clothing closures.
I love this dress. I think it looks cute even without the vest.
However, the vest is really cute too! It's made out of the same polka dot red fabric. I go back and forth about whether the vest was needed. Sometimes I think it makes the outfit a little too "much" and other times I think it's a nice accessory.
She just wears white flats for her outfit. This is the one part of the outfit that I'm not a huge fan of. The shoes look and feel very much like plastic. In addition they are very plain-I think tiny teal bows would have looked nice. The one good thing I will say is that these shoes are very versatile.
So funny story about this. I thought that the clip that went with this was the three flower clip that actually goes with another outfit of hers. If you look in the pictures above, you'll see that that's what she's wearing. Then I was looking on the wiki page and her hair clip caught my eye. Eh. It happens.
Actually she wears this:
I hurriedly threw it in her hair for the picture. It is a dark green version of the clip that came with her original meet outfit. I like it, but I also think the three flower clip was cute with this.
But this is a smart outfit. It is stylish and something I could imagine Kit wearing. It is also my favorite of her new BeForever outfits.
Kit's Reporter Accessories:
Camera and Camera Bag:
The camera comes in a black leather looking bag. The bag's strap is really stiff, which means that it holds odd shapes right out of the bag. I'm not a fan of the bag for that reason.
Once you remove the camera from the bag, this is what you see. You open it up by lifting that little silver latch. I bite my nails (as you can see) but, for someone who doesn't, it should be fairly easy to open. It has a handle on the side so it can be carried without that horrid bag.
The camera opened! Squee! It's so cute and little and just perfect!
Film and Pictures:
No camera is complete without some film. This is honestly just an empty hollow box but I thought it was a nice touch. Kodak was actually founded in 1888.
Above you can see some of the pictures that Kit took with her camera. There's a picture of Grace. After that you see some of the pictures of the Depression. I believe that includes a homeless man who probably lived in a hobo camp with a young child on his lap. You can see a child doing the ironing, two boys in ragged clothing, and a black woman holding a child (we often forget that the Depression hit African Americans even harder than white people). Kit tried to capture the human faces of the suffering that was all to real during that economic crisis.
I haven't taken these off the backing sheets because I'm not quite sure where I would stick them. The images are haunting, though tiny. Do an image search for the photos taken during the Depression-the faces stick with you.
Notebook, Notebook Bag, and Pen:
Every reporter sometimes needs to jot down information-you can't remember it all! To this end, Kit carries a black notepad and a red pen. I like these parts of the set. However, the paper moves around way too much in my set at least-it doesn't feel secure. Shoddy construction. The pen cap can be removed but I didn't get a shot of it. Oops.
Here you can see the blue, yellow, and blue bag that Kit stores her notebook in hanging off her desk chair. I don't really like the color scheme but it's a handy bag.
The last component is the set of newspapers. The papers are issues of the Cincinnati Register-on the front you can see the article Kit wrote that they published about a kid's view of the Depression. Other articles in the stack include a piece about FDR speaking to women via the radio, the radio program, and the increased budget for the government in response to financial crises. It's actually very interesting to flip through and look at the various article titles. The papers are tied together with twine, which I didn't want to remove.
I think this set is cute and it goes very well with Kit's entire story line. Kit badly wants to be a reporter and this set shows that (especially with her article on the front page of the newspaper).
There she is wearing her reporter outfit with some of the accessories from it on her desk. Soon I'll do a review of the desk as well but I felt like that would be wayyy too much for one blog post.
Yes I have seen the pictures of Melody-she is beautiful and is definitely coming home to join my girls. I cannot wait!