'Historical' 90s American Girl Dolls Make Millennial Parents Feel Ancient

The newest American Girl dolls are twins from 1999, which makes them historical, according to your kids. Yeah, we're that old.

American Girl Dolls Isabel and Nicki

American Girl

Raise your hand, if like me, you feel personally victimized by American Girl's latest "historical" dolls—Isabel and Nicki Hoffman—twin sisters from the ye old days of 1999.

I'm 45. In 1999, I graduated college, moved to New York City, and started my career. By the way? I'm not retired. In fact, I'm just getting started and feel that in my ways, I'm still making history. Deeming dolls from 1999—a mere 24 years ago—as "historical" is a punch right to my baby doll dress wearing gut.

My 8-year-old daughter has the American Girl doll Josefina Montoya. Her story takes place in Santa Fe, New Mexico, growing up on a rancho in 1824. 1824! Yes, almost 200 years ago qualifies as a historical time. But 24 years? Nope. I refuse to accept it. In 1999, I was obsessed with MTV's TRL, and I couldn't get "I Want It That Way" by the Backstreet Boys out of my head. I cried happy tears when Gwyneth Paltrow won the Oscar for Shakespeare in Love. I modeled my style—chokers, thick headbands, dark lipstick, oh my!—after Kelly Taylor and Donna Martin. And the Pizza Hut BOOK IT! program set that you can get for Isabel and Nicki? Back in the day (this program did start in the '80s), I earned more personal pan pizzas than I could ever eat for all the Judy Blume and Sweet Valley High books I couldn't stop reading. Yes, 1999 fills me with nostalgia. But historical?

For the record, I wasn't this outraged three years ago when American Girl introduced Courtney Moore from 1986. I celebrated it. Full disclosure: My husband bought me, not our 8-year-old daughter, Courtney's boom box as a birthday gift. Courtney hit different, because I was 8-years-old in 1986 and the 80s feels like a time capsule filled with neon, spandex, and crimping irons. 80s movies feel forever stuck in a time of the Brat Pack and nerds getting revenge. And 80s slang is totally tubular and rad. I loved stacking my jelly bracelets, cuffing my Z Cavariccis, and rocking Members Only jackets. I wouldn't be caught dead in any of those fashion statements today. My daughter loved finding out that I had the same Care Bears lunchbox and sleeping bag as Courtney. My daughter thought Courtney's see through neon "old fashioned" phone was so cool, because that's what The Babysitters Club uses (in both the books we're reading and the Netflix show we watching together).

But back to the 1990s. . . they're still having a moment. My daughter loves the Spice Girls (Baby Spice is her favorite, of course) and nothing makes her laugh harder than Monica with a turkey on her head or Ross screaming "PIVOT!" during our Friends binges. She even recently picked out a sunflower patterned dress with a white t-shirt underneath!

I've been trying to wrap my head around why I feel so insulted and best I can come up with is that when I was in the 8th grade, I interviewed my dad about coming of age in the late '60s and '70s. We talked for hours about everything from protesting Vietnam, living the hippy life, hitchhiking, making love not war to Jimi Hendrix and the Beatles breaking up. This was for a school assignment. And yes, you guessed it­—the assignment was to interview someone in your life about a "historical" era they lived through. I'm sure my dad felt like I'm feeling now. My dad was even around my age! But I can't help but feel that was different. I mean, things like Watergate and Apollo 13 took place in the '60s/'70s. I was reading about it in my history textbooks at school! I highly doubt that history books today have been updated to talk about the origins of the Britney vs Xtina feud and the rules of Fight Club.

In my mind, I'm still that 21-year-old girl living my best life in 1999—graduating from college, moving to New York City and starting my first job at the teen magazine CosmoGIRL! I'm just a married, maternal, more mature version of that girl. Maybe I'd feel better if the word "historical" could be slightly tweaked . . . perhaps Nicki and Isabel, the "nostalgical" dolls from 1999 instead?

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