Pop Culture

American Girl Dolls Are Actually Horrifying And Possibly Pornographic

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DOLLSI know little to nothing about American Girl dolls. It’s a craze that I have kept my daughter away from, mainly by not acknowledging their existence and quickly recycling the magazines that get sent to our house. I have nothing against them in theory, I just don’t want to buy a bed for a doll that costs $70. But I am writing about them today because one of my editors mentioned them and I said, “I don’t understand these dolls. Let me dive into their world for a day and see what’s going on.” I was not disappointed.

I went to the American Girls website to learn about the dolls they have available. I clicked on the first doll in the BeForever line, which is named Addy. The first sentence of her story made me spit out my soda. It says,

“I’ve escaped to a new life.”

Woah! Wait, what? So…Addy is a black doll, then? Ok. I know the focus here is on history and all, but I admit I was taken by surprise by seeing a little doll meditating on the price of freedom. Anyway. They call her “courageous” and you can accessorize her with a lunch pail and “a faux cowrie shell necklace brought from Africa by her great-grandmother,” and oh my goodness this is just doll number one.

Next there’s Caroline, who says:

“I’ve outfoxed enemy soldiers, chased thieves on my uncle’s farm, and survived an icy dip in Lake Ontario. While I’ve faced my share of adventures, the bravest thing I can ever do is believe in myself.”

What the hell is going on here?! Is the title of her book, “Caroline Avoids Being Raped By Soldiers Because She Believes In Herself”? This trip to American Girl land is turning out to be a whole lot darker than I imagined.

Next there’s Josefina, whose bio says that she loves animals and is a good listener. They must have left out the part where she holds down screaming baby sheep so her abulea can gut them. I’m not buying this “I always have a moment to listen and a smile to share” crap for a second.

Then we have Julie, who is a goddamn dirty hippie. In her bio she says, “I like school and hanging out with friends, and I play on the basketball team. The boys’ basketball team.” Oh, the boys’ team? Is that because boys’ basketball is tougher than girls’ basketball? Hey Julie, I would like to invite you to get your ass dragged up and down the court by a WNBA team, and then come talk to me about how hard it is playing with the boys.

Kaya is the Native American doll. I do appreciate that they have honored Native Americans by providing Kaya’s optional faux-fur bedroll and teepee for $150 and her horse for $75. Truly, it is what Mother Earth would want.

Kit Kittredge is some precocious little turn of the century doll who wants to be a reporter. The reviews say she’s “great for starters,” and I have no idea what that means but it makes me uncomfortable. Also, people hate her short hair. Hurray, girls!

Then there’s Rebecca, who is some kind of horrible loud-mouthed attention whore. In her bio, she says:

“When I can put my talents to good use, I act. I’m ready for any role that lets me brighten people’s lives—whether gathering around the Sabbath candles with family, helping a neighbor, or giving my all in front of a crowd!”

Ugh. I hate that kid.

Finally, we have Samantha. Her bio says, “I’ve never met a tree I couldn’t climb, a rule I couldn’t ruffle, or a friend I couldn’t help.” The latest book based on her character is called “Manner and Mischief,” which is for sure porn. She also has one called, “The Lilac Tunnel,” which is also clearly porn.

So there is my first exposure to the American Girl line of dolls. I am shocked, mystified, and way too cheap for these ladies. But give me a call when they make “Bra Burner Barbara” and I just might change my tune.

(Photo: WIN-Initiative/Neleman / Getty Images)