Sunday, February 1, 2015

If the Girl of the Year was a Doll of Color...

Disclaimer: I don't actively collect GotY dolls since my main focus is on historical dolls. However, I do not feel this excludes me from having an opinion on the line.

The Girl of the Year Line has risen to become American Girl's most lucrative, heavily promoted line of dolls. Each year, a new doll is pushed as a "representative" of the modern American girl, as a character she can learn from, relate to, and be inspired by.

But currently, I feel there is a glaring problem with this premise, because the dolls thus far released as Girls of the Year do not fairly reflect the demographics of girls in America, and therefor cannot be a representative for many of them.

To date, of the 13 Girl of the Year dolls that have been created, only 1 doll (Marisol from 2005, who is Latina) is not white, or half white. Jess from 2006 is half Japanese (mother), half white (father). Kanani from 2011 is half Japanese & Hawai'ian (father), and half white (mother).

We need another full Latina girl!
We need a full Asian girl!
We need a girl with Middle Eastern heritage!
We need a Native American girl!
WE NEED A BLACK GIRL!!!

There is variety and options in the My American Girl line and the historical BeForever line, but it is unfair and wrong to neglect these populations in the most heavily promoted line, Girl of the Year. It's necessary to show those girls that they too are important, and can be figureheads to be looked up to. That they are worth the love and adoration same as their white counterparts. These sentiments have been well expressed and echoed by other AG fans who are pushing for a doll of color. Perhaps if enough of the consumer base makes a demand, we can convince American Girl that minority dolls can have stories and adventures that are just as wonderful, beautiful, and inspiring.

Since I do not own any Girl of the Year clothes, I have used my rather amateur, shabby photoshop skills to create some images of Addy & MyAG #58 in outfits from some of the GotY collections. My goal is not to ask for a doll specifically like Addy or #58 as the next GotY, but to show American Girl and their market that dolls of color (specifically black dolls using dark colored vinyl) look equally beautiful in the outfits. Many of the stories can easily be written with a black girl as the main character (stop making minority characters sidekicks!!!) without affecting the plot in the foggiest. With AG's creative department's talent, I'm sure they can creative a lovable, inspiring doll of color. Please do your part in promoting social equality and giving all girls a chance to see they matter and can inspire.

*Note: I picked Addy & MyAG #58 to model outfits from the collections of Grace, Isabelle, Saige, McKenna, and Mia purely because I have very poor, very limited photoshop skills, and those two dolls were the easiest to edit for my skill level. I'm sure more professional editors can show us what Cecile, and other MyAG dolls of color look like in various outfits. The outfits were picked for the same reasons, ease of editing.*

Grace Thomas - 2015 GotY:
MyAG #58

Addy

Isabelle Palmer - 2014 GotY:
MyAG #58

Addy

Saige Copeland - 2013 GotY:
MyAG #58

Addy

McKenna Brooks - 2012 GotY:
MyAG #58

Addy

Mia St. Clair - 2008 GotY:
MyAG #58

Addy


If you would like to help create more images of other current black AG dolls in GotY outfits, please let me know! ^_^ I'd be happy to add them here and credit you for the hard work.

You are welcome to share and repost these images because the more people that see them, the better. Please don't take credit for them though. :) I would be grateful if you could link back and credit this post.

41 comments:

  1. This is fantastic! I love the idea of some of Mia's collection for a black GOTY. Seriously, a black GOTY that plays hockey? That would be so cool. :) Great post. -CherBear

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    1. Thank you! My secret (not really) wish would be a black GotY who does science! Or engineering, like robotics! :D

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    2. A black GOTY who does science would be AMAZING!

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    3. Yes! :D Girls doing science is fantastic in itself, and a black girl in a historically white male dominated field would be really exciting!

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  2. I'm white and I would totally buy a doll like this!! I do intend to buy addy but goty would be awesome on so many levels especially as I like my dolls pretty modern

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    1. Addy is beautiful, classic, and timeless in every way, and looks wonderful in modern cloths so I can't blame you for having her on your want list, but I agree that having a black GotY would be a wonderful thing for many little girls to see. ^_^

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  3. I love these! Wonderful job with the photoshops. Addy is especially stunning!

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    1. Thank you! Addy looks so wonderful in everything. :)

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  4. Addy and #58 both look beautiful. My #58 wears Isabelle's clothes a lot, and she looks great in them. Maybe I should dress Addy modern more often, I'd forgotten what a cute modern girl she is! :)

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    1. Hahaha it's hard for me to envision Addy as modern because her stories were so moving for me, but she looks wonderful as a modern girl whenever I see photos of her. ^_^

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  5. Your photoshop skills are great! Also, #58 looks ADORABLE.

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  6. Love this. Thank you. My 4 year old African American Daughter walked into a American Girl Doll Store 2 years ago this month at our Houston American Gir Store and now has 33 American Girl Dolls after sharing and passing on 5. So she has own 38 in 2 years. She is also a Ballerina for 3 years and receives a Trophy for 3 years at 1 school for continuing at the school with 1 teacher. American Girl we have proven Our commitment to You. Honor us back by doing a Black Doll of the Year,a Asian Doll of The Year and Hispanic Doll of the Year. All of our purchases are on file. We were honored by Our Store's Manger to have my Daughter featured on TV in the American Girl Doll Store with Friends my Daughter invited only, so we feel love from Our Houston Store. The best award is to honor Black Americans and other Minority contributions to American Greatness and Retail Sales. We are reading Girl of The year Graces second book now and it certainly could have been written for any race. The Family is not rich and they do what most aspire to do. Have a loving Family, and travel, and work hard doing something they are passionate about. Collecting American Girl Dolls is a Hobby we love. We play with all of our Dolls. We have inspired many to purchase the Dolls that otherwise may have never entered the store or made a purchase.

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    1. Thank you for sharing your thoughts Maxine! I hope that when your daughter is old enough to read the GotY books on her own, there will be a Black GotY doll for her to relate to, as well as other minority dolls to teach her about those cultures. :) A well informed, culturally sensitive child is better for our society as a whole and should be something everyone strives for.

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    2. How do we send you emails of some of Our Dolls of Color in Grace's outfits? I am hoping you can post all of the ones you have on Your blog on Pinterest. I love Your presence on their!!!!

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    3. I would be happy and honored to post any photos you would like to send me of your Dolls of Color in Grace's outfits Maxine! Thank you for being so kind and sharing them. You can email them to me at: lilliemaiden@gmail.com

      I don't have a Pinterest but I can share them here as well as on my Facebook page here: http://www.facebook.com/lissieandlilly

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  7. What a great idea to create these 'shops! They really highlight how adorable a black girl of the year would be. In particular, Addy in McKenna's outfits puts me in mind of Gabby Douglas, the American Olympic gymnast. How awesome would it have been if AG had modeled that character after her, when she's been such a great role model for American girls?

    I'll enthusiastically second your wish for a wide range of diversity in the GotY line. I badly want to see AG reintroduce a fully Asian doll, now that both #4 and Ivy are gone. And if they released a doll of Middle Eastern descent, I would buy her so fast I'd probably set the computer on fire in the process of the purchase.

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    1. Hahaha yes! I agree! I would love love love to see an Asian historical in her own right, not as a side character like Ivy was! And I'll be right there with you if they release a Middle Eastern doll. :)

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  8. I finally like McKenna's collection! I hated it on McKenna but it looks fantastic on #58.

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    1. I feel that way about Mia's collection. :) I didn't think it suited her very well but I love how it looks on Addy and 58.

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  9. What about minorities like Filipinos? Or Middle Eastern descent? I shed tears on you AG.

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    1. There are many groups with unique cultural backgrounds AG can draw from as a GotY. I hope they do so!

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  10. Oh my word, I totally agree with you! What's with AG?

    -Morgan

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  11. And Addy and 58 look cute in those clothes.

    -Morgan

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    1. Thank you! Hopefully more people will see it and pressure AG to make a beautiful black Girl of the Year. :)

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  12. Thank you for this post! My daughter is only 17 months old but I was so excited to get Addy for her this past Christmas because Addy is actually of Nigerian descent just like my little girl. (They're both Yoruba, to be exact.) I love that Addy can be a positive reflection of her heritage. My husband and I do plan to get her every GotY starting with the year she was born so she can have a collection. But it would be amazing to see a modern story for a GotY of color. The executives at AG have the numbers for how well Addy and the other dark skinned dolls sold at Christmastime. Addy was backordered until the middle of January! American Girl has an excellent platform for celebrating little girls and it would be great if they worked to celebrate the beauty in ALL little girls in the GotY line.

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    1. That's such a wonderful idea of you and your husband to collect the GotY for her! I'm sure she'll love the collection when she's ready for it. ^_^ Hopefully they will come out with some beautiful dolls of color for her to love and learn from in the next few years so she can see how beautiful people of all skin colors and backgrounds can be.

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    2. She is too young for AG.

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  13. What an incredible post! That would be amazing to see a dark skinned GOTY! I agree the dark skinned dolls look so good in the outfits :D
    -Lydia

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    1. Thank you so much for taking the time to stop by and leave a comment! ^_^ I really hope more people will pressure AG to make a doll with fully dark vinyl because she would definitely be stunning and rock the AG outfits. :)

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  14. Things I want to see:
    -A Native GOTY (Maybe one who is just now discovering her Native roots. I have a friend who just found out she's 1/4 Cree and she's learning so much about her culture, so that would be interesting. But anything, really. This is really important, because I think a lot of people think the Native Americans are all in the past. Uh, no.)
    -A BLACK GIRL. Maybe mixed, maybe not. Maybe one of each, because... you know... you can make more than one.
    -Maybe one who's half black and half Asian.
    -An Afro-Latina girl. With super curly hair.
    -Maybe a darker-skinned Asian girl, like a Filipina girl. And/or maybe an Asian adoptee. I don't think the GOTYs have touched on adoption yet.
    -A Middle Eastern girl who's the daughter of immigrants. A bit like Rebecca's story, but modern.

    Also, some athletes, some scientists. (I'm in Big Brothers Big Sisters, and my nine-year-old Little is a half-Mexican girl who loves science, so more Latina girls and science girls FTW.) Especially if she's super girly and loves science. But I'd also like to see a tomboy. And maybe one who wants to be a writer, since I want to be a writer.

    You can tell I'm a writer based on how many ideas I have, can't you?

    I feel weird saying this as a white girl, but I feel like they've exhausted every hair-eye combination of white girl there is. Also, I haven't read many of the stories, but they sound like they're getting more and more cliched, so maybe they need to revamp too.

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    1. Those are some really great ideas! Any one of them would make a great GotY character. I can't really comment on the GotY stories either because I've never managed to read through one of the books all the way. XD

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  15. Honestly, I would not have known that you photoshopped these pictures. They are amazing!

    I fully agree that AG should have some more variety out there. But we can be thankful that there's going to be an African-American Historical doll coming out in 2016! (At least, that's what I've heard... apparently it was confirmed by AG.)

    ~Lizzy

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    1. Thank you! I am really glad there will be a black BeForever character next year, because I love the historical line and any release for them gets me excited. :) However, I don't want AG to think that relieves them from the pressure of needing a black Girl of the Year character. It's the most heavily promoted line and it's painfully obvious there hasn't been a single black face in the line up so far.

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  16. I hear the GOTY 2016 is half black

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    1. She has mixed culture according to the casting call, and the most likely is mixed Latina and white, though anything is possible until AG confirms it.

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    1. Since Sonali is only a best friend character without her own collection and year of focus, she is not a Girl of the Year character of color, though she would have made a beautiful one. :/

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    2. I wish Sonali had been the Girl of the Year and Chrissa the best friend. Chrissa was cute, but Sonali was the-sun-is-shining-and-the-angels-are-singing cute. And I haven't read Chrissa's stories but I don't get the sense that either's role would be affected too much if the main girl were half Indian and the mean-girl-turned-best-friend were white.

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