An American Girl

11 years ago
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Even though I was way too old when American Girl dolls first arrived on the scene, I secretly coveted one. I love the idea of a doll with a back story, that actually taught you something about history as you played with her.

But there's one problem with the American Girl dolls...it's chiefly white girl history. There's one doll who was an African-American emancipated slave, one Mexican girl from the 19th century, and one 18th century Native American doll. And the rest of the main dolls are white, which means that if I want a doll that represents my daughter's Asian heritage, my choices were:

1. Buy a modern Asian-American Girl doll, buy the historic clothes and make up my own books about the Asian experience in the U.S.

2. Snatch up the smaller-sized, one-book "Girls of the World" doll about a Chinese girl before the dolls were discontinued. (Fortunately, I knew about this and picked it up on clearance before our daughter even came home.)

Any day now, though, they'll be announcing their latest historical pals, who are living in San Francisco. While I'm psyched that one of the two is Chinese, I have a few issues with the dolls.

1. The Chinese doll is the "best friend" of the main character. For once, it'd be nice to have the person of color as the star, and the white girl as the supporting character.

2. The historical year in which it's set: 1974. Since this is a year that I've actually lived through and experienced myself (albeit as a wee one), it feels more like yesterday than yesteryear. So I guess we'll get bell bottoms instead of cheongsams?

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