In an industry trend that began with Disney’s sexy re-vamps of their princess characters, American Girl has announced the makeovers of some of their classic dolls. Company spokesperson Melissa Arnold says of the decision, “American Girl tells the stories of female protagonists from the lower and middle classes, not merely those who are or end up being princesses. Our company stands for equal opportunity sexualization of girls and their toys.”
In addition to making some of the classic dolls slightly older-looking, physical changes include new larger eyes, a smoky eye-shadow effect, pouty, bold lips, visible cleavage, and a smaller waist. The much more grown-up Girls are also up to some new tricks now that they’ve shed their childhood virtues of confidence, fierce independence, and hope for a brighter future!
Last we knew, fiery red-head Felicity Merriman of pre-Revolution era Virginia, was bucking gender norms and having adventures with her horse, Penny. Seven years later, a haggard Penny brings Felicity to her job at the local pub where she works as a bar maid and “dancer.” The new doll comes with a pint glass, tear-away bloomers, and a pouch for her “tips.”
Hailing from Sweden, Kirsten Larson and her family were adjusting to American life in the 1850’s while still maintaining strong ties to their heritage. After a falling out with her family, Kirsten is putting her homeland’s traditions to use as Minnesota’s most popular masseuse in a house she shares with many other female friends. Kirsten 2.0 comes with a midriff-exposing dirndl, scented oils, and other bedside sleep and relaxation aids.
Last we knew, Addy Walker was residing with her newly reunited family in late 1860’s Pennsylvania after escaping from slavery in the south. Now, Addy is studying to become a teacher, though she inexplicably continues to dress as though she is still on the run. Her doll comes with binoculars and a dozen decidedly impractical disguises, including seven bustiers, two cat-suits and thigh-high boots.
An orphan living with her grandmother in Victorian-era New York, Samantha Parkington had recently been adopted by her Uncle Gardner, along with her best friend, Nellie, and Nellie’s younger sisters. Now, capitalizing on a striking resemblance she bears to suffragist Alice Paul, Samantha is star of a traveling burlesque show managed by her uncle in which she and her adopted sisters play the “Seductive Suffragists,” catering to the male counter-protestors. She comes wearing nothing but a purple “Votes for Women” banner.
Molly McIntyre, of Illinois, was a pre-teen living in the midst of WWII and dealing with issues of low self-esteem and self-consciousness. Molly is the only American Girl who had already undergone a significant makeover in her original story, taking off her signature glasses and curling her stick-straight hair for a particularly triumphant and patriotic tap-dancing performance. Six years later, Molly is a USO performer with a “Good Girl Gone Bad” image. Her tantalizing tap-dancing act, “Little Lady Does Taps” is popular amongst servicemen in bases around the world. New Molly includes skin-tight ensembles and a suitcase full of hair dye.