Tuesday, June 13, 2006

The Incomplete American Girl Doll Issue

Over at Ethnically Incorrect, Sumeia has a post about how the American Girl Place company (which is owned by Mattel) has failed to include an Asian-American doll in their historic doll line. She won't be

I have a slightly different view about this issue. I do think that they should have AT LEAST one historic AsAm doll. The collection definitely isn't complete without one. Then again, it won't be complete without an Arab-American doll or a Bolivian-American doll or an Argentinian-American doll. Do you see what I'm saying? There can never be a complete collection of American Girl dolls unless you include almost a doll from every country on this planet. So, I think it's pretty pointless to expect this company to try and create a "complete set" in their historic collection.Kaya (the Nez Perce doll) isn't Blackfoot or Crow like me but I was really happy to see her on the shelves because it's downright hard to find Native American dolls for my daughter. Although any Asian American doll wouldn't be enough because Asians aren't just one group, I imagine that it might be better than none in the eyes of those moms who are desperate to find something at least close to what they're looking for.
Having become fully immersed in the AGP line, I can tell you that MANY non-African-American girls buy Addy. She's really popular. That said, I've never bought any of the historic line of dolls because I wanted my daughter to have one that looked like her and since my child is of mixed heritage, none of the historic dolls look like her. Many of the African-American moms in my circle who have bought AGP dolls for their daughters chose Addy. It's hard to find a dark-skinned doll that is supposed to be Af-Am. That story behind Addy explains why slavery was wrong and why breaking the law can be justifiable if one has been denied freedom. The truth is, the class of girls whose parents buy these dolls are unlikely to get that message at their private schools and social events.

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