American Girl dolls and books are peak female millennial nostalgia.
As a little girl, I remember pining for my own Kirsten doll, complete with her signature looped Swedish braids, but at $80 a pop, I had to settle for playing with a friend’s. At the time, the dolls were outside my parent’s budget, and now, at more than $100 a piece, they are outside my budget as a mom. But such was the hold these dolls had upon me and my friends that it was no surprise to me when the American Girl company re-released the since-discontinued dolls a few years ago and that millennial women (moms or not) flocked to buy them. I watched with amusement and a bit of desire to buy my daughters the same dolls I wanted as a little girl.
But that was then, and this is now. The beloved brand from my youth is no longer the feminine-affirming, wholesome company I once held in my nostalgic millennial heart. With the company’s latest book release, “A Smart Girl’s Guide: Body Image,” American Girl has proven it is no longer dedicated to celebrating the innocence and beauty of girlhood but is yet another force in our culture hell-bent on destroying it.
How It Started: Lively Depictions of Girlhood
Even if the American Girl dolls were out of reach for me as a little girl, the books were not. Like many other girls my age, I devoured those staples of book fairs and elementary school libraries of the ’90s and early aughts. From Kirsten to Addy, to Felicity, Samantha, and Molly, I relished the stories of these girls — all of whom came from different time periods and cultural backgrounds, but each of whom was undeniably, emphatically two wonderful things: American and a girl.
As I grew older, American Girl grew with me. When I outgrew the historical stories and moved on to middle school, their popular guide to puberty, “The Care and Keeping of You,” became another staple on my and my friends’ bookshelves. It was a wholesome, age-appropriate account of the ways my body would change as it blossomed into womanhood and hygienic tips for how to care for it.
My sister likewise remembers it affirming how wonderfully made we are. Like the other American Girl products of that era, it affirmed the goodness of being a girl, while honestly portraying its unique challenges. It would have been anathema to the brand at the time to suggest that being a girl was anything but a natural, beautiful thing to be celebrated, and it was because of this well-deserved reputation that the company was beloved by girls and their parents alike (and why so many were willing to shell out a pretty penny for those dang dolls).
Now: Maybe Being a Girl Isn’t Good Enough
Today’s American Girl series of “Smart Girl Guides,” which includes guides on “Race & Inclusion” (complete with discussions on white privilege and systemic racism) and “Crushes” (complete with nods to same-sex attraction and relationships), are evidence the company has gone all-in on an agenda of woke indoctrination. The most disturbing facet of this is the newly released “Body Image” edition, which foists anti-science gender ideology on girls as young as 10 years old (the recommended age for the book is 10-plus).
According to the Daily Mail, the “Body Image” guide tells girls: “Parts of your body may make you feel uncomfortable and you may want to change the way you look.” The Mail also reports that the book even provides a list of resources for organizations girls can turn to “if you don’t have an adult you trust.”
Furthermore, the “Guide” lets girls know: “If you haven’t gone through puberty yet, the doctor might offer medicine to delay your body’s changes, giving you more time to think about your gender identity.” In three pages, this book, contrary to promoting healthy body images, mangles and distorts them completely, undoubtedly sowing seeds of confusion in young, impressionable minds.
Trans Lobby Exploits Normal Adolescent Awkwardness
Here is where the utter ridiculousness of the trans movement’s animating lie is laid bare: I dare you to find a single pre-teen or teenage girl who feels 100 percent “comfortable” with all the parts of her body and who doesn’t, on some level, want to change the way she looks. I won’t hold my breath.
The experience of puberty for a girl is, quite profoundly, one of a loss of control. You find out you’re going to bleed for a week every month for the next 30 years, and there’s little you can do about it (and if it’s painful, and the only option you’re given is to go on birth control to deal with it, you may find yourself resenting your fertility altogether).
The boys around you who, up until now, may have been shorter than you and slower and less coordinated on the field, on the court, or in the pool are growing more powerful every day: stronger, taller, more assertive, and with newly deepened voices. You, on the other hand, seem to be getting slower in comparison, noticeably softer and fuller in certain places, and less coordinated as you deal with the new reality of a life lived with curves and the unwelcome attention those curves may draw.
A girl experiencing pubertal changes without the context that such changes are oriented toward carrying and bringing forth new life into the world — the most awesome of human powers — is bound to be seduced by our culture’s idea of masculine power as the only kind of power that matters. The LGBT movement headed by adults with an agenda to take advantage of that reality — to sow the pernicious seeds of an idea that maybe that feeling means you’re in the wrong body — is evil.
American Girl, a company once dedicated to celebrating girlhood, deserves to be called out for its complicity in corrupting childhood innocence. Worse, the woke gamble seems to be all at the expense of saving their bottom line. Their latest book is not just another step in American Girl’s decline that began when they decided that simply being a girl was no longer good enough, but a desperate attempt to save a struggling company that’s made headlines in the past few years for its plummeting sales.
Better Resources for Empowering Girls
Fortunately, American Girl is not the only place to which parents can turn for teaching their daughters about their bodies and how to feel about them. There are many other programs and organizations that are dedicated to teaching girls and women the truth that their bodies are whole and good — a message that is needed now more than ever.
From Natural Womanhood, to Couple to Couple League and their Mother/Daughter Program, Pearl & Thistle, Cloak Confident Girl, and many others, resources abound for giving both parents and girls the age-appropriate information they need and crave about their feminine bodies. Resources like American Girl are sowing mistrust and secrecy. Instead, choose sources that offer honest advice and practical guides for girls on communicating with parents about their bodies, their menstrual cycles, and their fertility.
When even American Girl has bought into this evil notion that to be comfortable in one’s skin requires the mutilation of our bodies, it is not sensational to say that they are, in fact, coming for our children — and yours could be next. Above all, foster a strong connection with your children that has them coming to you when they have questions about sex and puberty, instead of the organizations or “trusted adults” for whom American Girl pimps.