The wildly popular and outrageously pricey American Girl Store recently released a new doll. Her name is Gwen Thompson and she is
homeless. According to her back story, her dad took off on the family,
mom fell on hard times and now she sleeps in her car.
(not including any accessories), you can purchase her for your daughter
(who is no doubt not homeless otherwise you wouldn't be able to spend
nearly $100 on a doll).
Doesn't this seem like a sick joke? How can a place that openly celebrates excess and waste (like paying $25 to learn the secrets of doll hair stylists) seriously claim to be bringing attention to the plight of homeless children in our country?
Rather than devote our resources to making sure that children
don't have to sleep in cars, we instead create a $95 doll in order to
explain the homeless epidemic to our kids? This is just plain offensive.
American Girl has never been my favorite place. Several years ago,
I went in to buy a baby doll for my daughter's first birthday and I
have never been back. I guess I can stomach Kit Kittredge and her downright cute resourcefulness in the face of the Depression. I can also see the value in offering dolls that represent different cultures and backgrounds.
But I can't think of how Gwen Thompson could possibly to do anything
to either help actual homeless children or teach kids about this
According to an ABC News Report, the company said that the doll was
intended to help children tolerate differences and stand up to bullying. What? I totally don't get that.
I am waiting now to hear the public response from Mattel, the owner
of American Girl. I hope that they announce that 100 percent of the
proceeds from this ill-conceived doll are going to be donated to
organizations that can actually do something to help homeless children
rather than exploit them for commercial purposes.