- Category: Volume 88 (Fall 2016 - Spring 2017)
- Published: 08 March 2017
- Written by JANAYA LEWINSKI | STAFF WRITER
Since 1986, the American Girl brand has been producing dolls that represent diverse backgrounds and populations. These figures have stories, sometimes books, and movies to demonstrate the historical period in which they reside. These dolls have been a staple in the discourse of American adolescent girls since they made their debut in the mid to late 1980’s.
Some of the popular dolls include Samantha a turn of the 20th century darling, Kit Kittredge charming a depression era dreamer, and Addy a sweet Civil War era girl. All of these girls have something in common: their keen sense of adventure. The brand gives off the perception of diversity, but is not immune to criticism from parents who ask for something more. Parents are seeking dolls with more and more relatable experiences. They want their children to be able to see themselves within their toys. This request is reasonable.
Although these girls come from all over, they seem to be marketed at cis-gendered, adolescent girls; this has not changed since the doll’s inception. No matter the child, dolls should be marketed to everyone. Toys shouldn’t be gendered or aimed at a certain group and I think the American Girl Company understands that since they are opening up to that request with a new addition.
Soon, the American Girls will be joined by a boy named Logan. Adding a boy has been a request of parents for quite a long time, according to a representative from the company. So Logan, the new American Boy, is the company’s first 18 inch male doll. He comes equipped with a winning personality, and the company says that 2017 is the perfect time for his debut.
According to the American Girl website, Logan is Tenny’s (an American Girl who plays multiple instruments and has a band of her own) bandmate and drummer. He has unique hand positioning that helps him hold instruments. He has gray eyes, which open and close, and short brown hair.
I agree that this is the perfect time to start equipping children with diversity in all facets, especially in gender and race. This step is all well and good, but could we possibly introduce black boys too? Logan is the first step. I think that with all the discourse surrounding black men in America, portraying them in non- threatening understanding stories that are approachable for kids would be beneficial.
On the topic of gender, I am sure that 1,212 percent would love to see a doll that is not cis-gendered. Kids are now identifying as transgendered are becoming younger and younger. I think it is about time that we acknowledged that in the toys that children are socialized with. The earlier that a child is exposed to diverse ideas the better it is for their development.
The Logan doll is hopefully just the beginning for the American Girl company. I hope this means more diverse stories and backgrounds for the American Boys and Girls. Without a single hesitation, I say the boy is a big step, but I believe that this company could make an even larger one in the near future.