The iconic American Girl dolls that inspired a generation of women by bravely facing slavery and the Depression have been shelved in favor of characters who are into baking and organic gardening.
The Atlantic reports that the company's three original girls - World War II patriot Molly, Scandinavian farmer Kirsten and Victorian aristocrat Samantha - have been archived, and dolls like Lanie the amateur gardener and McKenna the gymnast have been shifted into center stage.
When American Dolls was founded in 1986 by former schoolteacher Pleasant T. Rowland, the historical dolls were the core of the brand.
Historical figures: Addy (left) was the doll who escaped from slavery on the eve of the Civil War to find her father and brother, while Molly (right) was a World War II patriot
Each was released with a set of six books that introduced readers to a specific time period through the eyes of a young girl. But since being acquired by Mattel in 1998, American Girl has been slowly changing focus. In 2008 some original characters were 'archived', and now Samantha, Kirsten and the colonial character Felicity are no longer sold by American Girl.
Modern themes: American Girl's Girl of the Year doll in 2012 was McKenna the gymnast (left) while 2010 featured Lanie the gardener (right)
Journalist Amy Schiller argues that the company has shifted to more neutral present-day dolls with watered-down back stories.
She points out that the original dolls were involved in the critical societal movements of their day. Samantha challenged the brutal working conditions of children in factories. Kirsten faced the brutal reality of manifest destiny when her Native American friend Singing Bird had to move away.
Growing pains: Since 1986 American Doll has created iconic characters that inspired girls, but the company has now archived some of its most famous historical characters
And Addy bravely escaped from slavery on the eve of the Civil War to find her father and brother.
New challenges: Current 'Girl of the Year' Saige loves art and horses
Schiller points out that current Girl of the Year Saige, who 'loves art and horses' is white and upper-middle-class - just like McKenna the gymnast, and Lanie the amateur gardener and butterfly enthusiast.
The newer crop of dolls also face 'challenges' though they mostly seem to be the type that would trend on Twitter with the hashtag #firstworldproblems.
One has a bake sale to help save the arts program in a local school, while another scores a victory for the organic food movement when she persuades a neighbor to stop using pesticides. American Girl spokeswoman Stephanie Spanos tells Schiller that this is simply an inventory decision in order to make room for new product lines, and American Girl 'still considers the historical characters to be the heart of the brand.'
But Schiller believes that the company's marketing tells a different story. 'Perhaps the time has come for a doll who takes her fourth-grade class on a field trip to Occupy Wall Street', she writes.
- 2013/04/27(土) 10:00:02|