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AMERICAN GIRL Does Damage Control—But They’ll be Back
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Earlier: AMERICAN GIRL Vs. Un-AMERICAN GIRL: A Taylor Swift Clone Or A Diversity Hire Doll?

Every few years, there seems to be a new outrage involving American Girl, the doll-and-book franchise. Having begun in 1986 with three marvelously designed storybooks and matching 18″ dolls (I was an early fan), the Wisconsin-based company was acquired in 1998 by Mattel, Inc. And after that the trouble began.

In 2005 American Girl was threatened with a boycott for contributing to a pro-abortion, pro-lesbian nonprofit organization called Girls Inc [Tweet them] [Conservative Groups Threaten to Boycott a Hit Doll’s Maker, AP, October 16, 2005]. In 2016 American Girl introduced an African-American doll with Caucasian features, and was criticized for “not accurately representing the African American culture and true African American experiences” [Why The New American Girl Doll Is Controversial, by Gabrielle Marie Simpson, Odyssey, March 1, 2016 ] And all along the company has been attacked for adding random black, Mexican, Chinese and Red Indian dolls for the sake of “diversity”—for example, by me in 2017—thereby straying from American Girl’s original mission. You could call it a Great Replacement.

Initially, American Girls represented an approximate cross-section of Heritage Americans. We had Molly McIntire who wears plaid and lives in Illinois in 1944; Samantha Parkington, in the Hudson Valley, 1904; and Kirsten Larson, representing our immigrant Nordic community in 1850s Minnesota. Later a 1770s girl in Williamsburg, Virginia was added, Felicity Merriman, right. These dolls and books were eventually retired, five to ten years ago, sometimes replaced by 6-1/2″ mini-dolls and ugly new editions of the original books. (Some people made a fuss over Felicity because her family owned slaves. And they all seemed much too privileged.)

All the diversity you need!

American Girl has gotten used to protests and boycott threats. It usually responds by backpedaling, getting back to its roots—for a while. That year, as though to make up for all the new black and mestizo cast members, they added a wholesome-looking Country & Western doll vaguely based on the young Taylor Swift. As Taylor was noted for her ever-changing boyfriends, her avatar, “Tenney Grant,” got a boyfriend too, American Girl’s first-ever boy doll. (There are several now.)

But now we come to the biggest, latest, weirdest controversy. It’s all about a strange little 96-page cartoon book called A Smart Girl’s Guide: Body Image. It sells for $12.99 online. I gather it’s now thought too incendiary to be displayed in the American Girl stores.

The Body Image book features drawings of grotesque and blue-haired youngsters with body-image problems. We get obese Girls of Color, wheelchair-bound Disabled Girls of Color, people of uncertain race and sex…and finally, what really triggered the tabloid press and “conservative” media…young People of Color who want a sex change.

“If you haven’t gone through puberty yet, the doctor might offer medicine to delay your body’s changes, giving you more time to think about your gender identity,” a page of the text explains alongside an illustration of a Pre-teen of Color consulting with a Bengali physician. The reader is then advised that he/she can start on puberty blockers without her/his parents finding out.

It appears the American Girl people have their books packaged by a third party, and don’t actually read them. Because when the outrage started, the AG front office acted completely bewildered:

Julie Parks, a spokesperson for the company, told USA Today that no other American Girl book has ever received similar criticism. She said “Body Image” is the first American Girl book to address gender identity and expression.

American Girl stands behind ‘Body Image’ book after backlash from critics over gender identity content, by Jared Gans, The Hill, December 9, 2022

I should expect it is! And of course it drew a lot of flak. “Gender identity and expression” is a safe and permissible target in Conservatism Inc. media these days. It’s bizarre and lurid and most people never meet up with it—but it’s a great attention-grabber. Tucker Carlson does about two segments a week on it.

Meantime, substantive matters of “Race, Diversity and Inclusion,” which affect society at large, are verboten, almost entirely off the table.

The outrage over the Body Image book is mainly a distraction, a proxy for the bigger things that can’t be said.

But Newsmax host Rob Finnerty gave the real game away on December 12 when he reported that he went into the flagship American Girl store in Rockefeller Center and couldn’t find a cute little white doll that looked like his 6-year-old daughter. Predictably the whole Leftist borg on Twitter, led by Media Matters for America, came down on him, called him a liar:

Not only a liar, but evidently racist as well, since Finnerty was bothered by the presence (the predominance?) of nonwhite dolls when he visited the American Girl store.

The rebuttals, on MSNBC and elsewhere, all had the same talking points. First they’d show us an unrepresentative page of the American Girl online catalogue, where most of the dolls were lily-white.

Then they’d display a promotional photograph from the company, indicating the wide diversity of the American Girl range. Which rather contradicts their first point:

There appears to be even a Karine Jean-Pierre doll in there. Anyway, our tweeter, or media-host-of-color—in the case NYU law professor Melissa Murray [Tweet her] will tell us, over and over, that when she was growing up, there were no dolls that looked like her; no Dolls of Color whatsoever! [The GOP’s Newest Culture War Target: American Girl Dolls,, MSNBC, December 21, 2022]Demonstrably untrue—dolls of color have been a thing since the 1960s—but let it go.

Newsmax’s Rob Finnerty may have been guilty of slight hyperbole, suggesting there were no cute little white dolls in the shop when he strolled in there last month or last summer. But it’s an understandable impression, one I’ve often had when going by the American Girl store in Manhattan. (I live nearby and have to walk past it all the time.)

Brown dolls, Oriental dolls, black dolls with prosthetic limbs, chemo-bald dolls, East Indian diabetes-kit dolls…they do seem to crowd out the normal, American ones.

However I’m happy to say that after all this recent media ruckus, the American Girl store in Rockefeller Center has cleaned up its act. I spent some time there just before Christmas and couldn’t find a single Body Image or Race & Inclusion book.

In fact there were almost no books at all. They used to have a book section, but now it’s gone. Too many complaints, too many protests?

And all-American girl dolls predominated once again at the American Girl store. Though maybe that’s just for the Christmas season, and they’ll soon be back to their old tricks.

Below: a Volkswagen called SFGIRL, property of 1970s historical character Julie Albright from the days when the phrase “California Girl” actually meant something.

Jane Weir (Email her) is an American Girl living in an American town in the 21st century.

(Republished from VDare by permission of author or representative)
 
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  1. xyzxy says:

    Body image? Americans are ugly. But it’s worse than that. Americans are fat and ugly. Go to any store and look at the models. Not that long ago models were attractive. Possibly on the ‘too thin’ side, some argued, but attractive.

    However at some point weirdness set in–body piercings and goblin makeup. Tats. And funny looking faces. Not everyone is handsome or cute. We understand that. Yet now it’s almost as if models are genetic misfits.

    Walking past the lingerie section, men quick glanced the models. A natural reaction. Anymore it’s look straight ahead. Let’s be honest. Fat women in skimpy underwear are not sexy.

    American women are mostly pigs. And proud of it. I guess fat and out of shape American men don’t care.

  2. Legba says:

    There is an ‘Our Gang’ where Buckwheat’s baby sister gets her doll stolen and the gang has to get her a new black doll

  3. It is simply amazing how the culture vultures have sunk their claws into every possible facet of American society. So now it’s even dolls for little girls?? My younger daughter used to love American Girl. This country is very ill. And I’m not feeling too good myself.

    • Agree: AKINDLE
    • Replies: @Bel Darrow
  4. NotaLib says:
    @xyzxy

    So is your mommy

    • Replies: @schnelladine
  5. @NotaLib

    I don’t think his mommy had any kids that lived.

    • Agree: NotaLib
  6. What doesn’t work in reality is made to work in fantasy with illustrated characters.

    Yeah, it’s like animals aren’t friends in nature but they can be in a Disney movie.

    • Replies: @Old Prude
  7. Old Prude says:
    @xyzxy

    The Prudes were supposed to go to Cabelas to shop for binoculars, but somehow ended up at Kohls shopping for lady’s blouses. Mrs Prude is a tiny whisp of a thing. In the Lady’s section I lost sight of her behind the racks of blouses. She drifted over to the Petite section and I could see her clearly above the racks. Hey. That’s nice; They lower the racks for the smaller women.

    We walked past the Plus Sized, or Full Bodied or whatever they call fat women, and the racks were spaced farther apart. Now, that’s catering to the customer.

    • Replies: @Supply and Demand
  8. Old Prude says:
    @Priss Factor

    Nicely said. [out of Agrees]. The entire Woke DIE movement is a fantasy. Or rather a bad dream that is all too real. Now I’m confused.

  9. @Old Prude

    Why do older whites write like this? It’s barely literate at best. I’ve never encountered a zoomer whose syntax is this poor, frankly — even the Hispanics.

    • Thanks: Old Prude
    • Replies: @Old Prude
  10. @xyzxy

    When I lived in China, men would sometimes ask me if I liked fat women. When I said no, they would ask me why American women are so fat.

    I can only imagine what they think now that women are even fatter, the models are often fat and men are portrayed as women.

    At that time the Chinese government banned obese foreigners from adopting Chinese children

    • Replies: @cool daddy jimbo
  11. @My Comment

    At that time the Chinese government banned obese foreigners from adopting Chinese children

    Probably afraid they were gonna eat ’em.

  12. @schnelladine

    Culture vulture… I like that! Besides these culture vultures hijacking toys and changing our ideas of things such as body image, imparting wokeness, transgenderism, etc. etc., they have caused even more damage to the psyche of kids.

    What I mean by that is once we start celebrating things like obesity, gender dysphoria, minor-attracted people, (and the horrid list goes on), now we have poisoned these kids’ and young adults’ minds. They look to these mentally ill people as their heroes, and if not heroes, they will still idolize them and think this type of behavior/lifestyle is OK. It is so far away from the norm, often criminal, and always dangerous.

    Normal things to idolize would be a healthy lifestyle, a loving relationship, enjoyment of activities, and appreciating the beauty of things and people one encounters. Not this wickedness and certainly not celebrating deviance.

    • Agree: Old Prude
  13. Old Prude says:
    @Supply and Demand

    Boomers have internal lives. Zoomers and hispanics? Mmmm.

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