Saturday, June 30, 2012

Beauty comes in all shapes and sizes...

Looking back at the attachments I formed to particular toys throughout my childhood, nothing stands out more than my American Girl doll.

Samantha Parkington was smart, willful, and brave.  I loved my Samantha doll.  She went on many family vacations, trips to the grocery store, and once she even stowed away in my Lisa Frank backpack when I was in the third grade.  Part of the reason why I decided on Samantha over the other dolls was her awesome wardrobe and cool bedroom set, but I also had a great appreciation for her Aunt Cornelia, a suffragette during the early 20th century. 

Did anybody else have an American Girl doll growing up?  I also had Molly, but she always played second fiddle to Samantha in the Phillips household. 

See those braids?  Once you take them out, there's NO.  GOING.  BACK.
As an adult, I now have a new appreciation for American Girl dolls...they don't pressure little girls into becoming something they aren't.  They encourage all of the traits that we as human beings appreciate in others like patience, bravery, courage, and tenacity.  They are shaped like normal little girls with nary a training bra or fishnet stocking in sight. 

Today, American Girl took it to the next level by introducing something wildly innovative and new:
Yes, my friends, that is a bald American Girl doll, and she is absolutely beautiful.  It's no secret that Josh and I believe that different is beautiful.  Through our work with children and teenagers with special needs, we've had the privilege of meeting many, many wonderful people who prove that the American idea of beauty is a joke.  

I am willing to bet money on the fact that you'll never see a Barbie or Bratz doll with a bald head, but the simple fact of the matter is that little girls, all little girls, whether they be bald, deaf, blonde, brunette, nearsighted, farsighted, or paralyzed, require words and actions of validation when it comes to beauty.  American Girl is now providing that validation to a set of little girls who were formerly unreachable. 

Upon reading about this wonderful update to a classic favorite, I became even more excited that American Girl dolls can also sport hearing aids.  How amazing is that?  Yet another example of how American Girl is reaching out to maintain the idea that different is beautiful.  The more I explored the American Girl website, the more excited I became...

What if we as consumers demanded that other companies deliver like American Girl has?  What if we banished the buxom Barbie doll sporting an impossibly tiny waist?  What if we let companies know that Bratz dolls are, in all honesty, really skanky and inappropriate for adolescent children?  And what if young boys noticed young girls playing with real dolls and not shiny, plasticized versions of Stepford Wives? 

I'm not an expert, but I truly believe that the shockingly high number of young girls struggling with eating disorders would drop.  I also believe that young boys who eventually become young men would have a far greater appreciation for a girl with a good heart and those wonderfully admirable characteristics {bravery, tenacity, and courage} than a girl who has body issues and insecurities because of a doll

We aren't parents yet, but we have very specific ideas about how we're going to raise our children one day.  After one quick trip down the doll aisle at Wal-Mart, Josh and I were in agreement that a pricier American Girl doll was well worth a healthy body image and fundamental foundation of positive character traits. 

So what about you?  Do you think American Girl dolls are worth the price?  Are you impressed by the ongoing initiative to validate the ideal that different is beautiful?  Or do you think Barbie dolls and Bratz or okay?  I'm interested to see what people think about this topic.  Sound off below!


    Moxie has a few bald dolls available at toys r us. And Barbie has a bald doll but they are only giving them away to cancer patients at the moment. The link above is the facebook site that raised awareness to get the dolls made. They are still hoping that Mattel will make a bald barbie available for the public so that kids (and adults) with other diseases that cause baldness could also get a doll. As well as family and friends or anyone who wants their children to know that different is not bad. Check Out the site if you are interested in learning more.

  2. Courtney, I really enjoyed this post, and I agree with you whole-heartedly that we need to change the image of beauty received by young girls. Sex appeal should not even be a thought when creating a little girl's toy. Bratz dolls, and the like, reinforce the notion that a women's self-worth is defined by her appearance. These dolls perpetuate the gender stereotypes that our ancestors began fighting years ago. I'm truly moved by American Girl's initiative to promote beauty in realistic forms. Girls everywhere should know that different is beautiful and that strong character, passion, and being to true to oneself is what really counts! I can guarantee you that if I ever have a daughter, there is no way I would buy her a Bratz or Barbie doll. Thanks for the post!

  3. Bratz and Moxie dolly came out with a bald line called True Hope well before this. Kudos to them all. I hope Mattel will decide to sell the bald friend of Barbie next. She is in the works but they don't plan to sell her to the general public.

  4. Well stated & I am so glad to hear that many companies are trying to do the same:) wish they would advertise these dolls on television so more people would know about them. Might be a good piece for Fox news to talk about...

  5. You have done it to your daddy again.


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