American Girl Dolls are incredibly meaningful to me and that’s why I want to help American Girl live up to their past of inspiring all kinds of girls. My name is Avery Tyson and I’m working with Anya Josephs, a member of the SPARK team, to ask for more diversity from American Girl Dolls. This is important to me because I, and a lot of my friends, really love American Girl and all of their dolls. Not only are the dolls amazing, high quality, cute, and huggable, they also have great stories that represent the strength of girls throughout history. I have seven of the wonderful and diverse dolls—I especially love the stories of Cecile and Kaya. The dolls and their stories have also been a great way to connect with other girls and helped me make one of my best friendships. I've inherited some of my dolls, like Kaya, from my older sisters, enjoyed the community of other American Girl fans, and learned about history from the dolls' stories.
But recently I feel like the dolls have had a lack of diversity. Most of the recently introduced dolls have been white and Christian, and there’s been no representation for girls with disabilities or in different financial situations. I thought I might be the only one with these concerns, until I saw this petition posted by Melissa Shang, a ten-year-old girl who wants the next Doll of the Year (a doll from modern times available for only one year) to represent her and other girls like her by having a physical disability.
<!--[if !supportEmptyParas]--> This has inspired me to also speak up about my concerns. Historically, American Girl has represented girls by having dolls with a variety of backgrounds—coming from different countries, time periods, religions, and cultures. This is really important because the stories of these dolls helped me and other American Girl fans learn about the history of girls in our country as well as finding dolls that represent all girls in a market where most dolls made by other companies represent only one kind of girl—usually white, super-thin, and wealthy. This is a great legacy for American Girl that I feel like they haven’t been living up to lately.
As the original historical dolls are being retired, most of the new ones are wealthy and white, and don’t face the same interesting and inspiring struggles of the older stories. As more dolls are added in the Girl of the Year line, and as new historical dolls are added, representation has been getting worse and worse. When the next doll is retired next year, I’m asking American Girl to live up to their values by choosing a more diverse doll.
I want the next American Girl historical doll to be a girl of color. American Girl has been a wonderful influence in my life, and I want all girls to feel included and represented by their dolls. Diverse American Girl stories can be a platform for girls to learn about history and other cultures, religions, and traditions, and diverse American Girl dolls can be a way for girls to see that girls that look like them are beautiful—and so are the girls that don’t. Please sign my petition to encourage American Girl to choose a more diverse historical doll this time.