The Youth Services Department is now offering American Girl Dolls for patrons to check out! We are welcoming Z Yang, Julie Albright, Josefina Montoya, Melody Ellison, Tenney Grant, Nanea Mitchell, Gabriela McBride and Luciana Vega. Each doll comes with a book about the character, as well as accessories and outfits.
American Girl dolls have secured their spots across every girl’s childhood since 1986. The historically inspired dolls not only arranged their place in my 90’s blue sun and moon bedding, but they also introduced me to feminist ideas . Molly, Samantha, Felicity, Kirsten, Addy and Josefina were the diverse and inclusive dolls that I yearned for as I inspected every single glossy American girl doll catalogue or, as I referred to it, my bible. I was a restless, wild child that thrived with American Girl dolls because I “traveled” with them to different time periods and emotionally invested myself with their families and cultures.
The books caught my attention at first and then I slowly gravitated towards the dolls. Sharing similar plots, the stories that surrounded these characters were revolutionary for introducing important themes such as income inequality, gender roles, the immigrant experience, and slavery. I loved the characters because they were educated, independent, kind, opinionated, curious and brave young women who fought to make the world a better place. They questioned the major issues that were going on in their life and learned important lessons about resilience and activism along the way. These dolls portrayed a much different type of female character from other dolls found on the shelves at this time. Barbie taught me to scrutinize my appearance and to concern myself with a boyfriend. Barbie always seemed to change careers, like throwing on a physician coat or becoming a police officer without portraying the realistic struggles that working women face. Her life with Ken was glamorized and problems were non-existent. American girl dolls were resilient, embraced change, and built community. American Girl dolls offer girls something to aspire to in the here and now.
My American Girl doll always had messy hair and wore a causal and wrinkly outfit, but I proudly kept her on my bed or held her high on my pink shelf, as a feminist shrine. I am excited that the FRVPLD has started contributing these dolls to our community. My hope is that they will allow girls to aspire to something as well as I did when I was younger. They are more than just dolls. They represent hope.