American Girl, the popular doll brand founded in 1986 that featured dolls of young girls from American history with accompanying books telling their stories, is being slammed for a new book that trumpets how prepubescent girls can change their gender.
The 96-page book, titled, “A Smart Girl’s Guide: Body Image: How to love yourself, live life to the fullest, and celebrate all kinds of bodies,” is aimed at girls 8-11 years old, in grades four through six.
“The way you show your gender to the world through clothes and behaviors is your gender expression,” the book states. “Your gender expression can be feminine, masculine, or somewhere in between – and it might change! Maybe you’ll experiment with bright dresses and long, feminine hairstyles. Or you might try baggy shorts, plaid shirts, and a buzzed haircut. Your gender expression should make you feel at home in your body.”
“Parts of your body may make you feel uncomfortable and you may want to change the way you look. … ‘That’s totally OK!” the book states, according to the Daily Mail. The book adds, “If you haven’t gone through puberty yet, the doctor might offer medicine to delay your body’s changes, giving you more time to think about your gender identity.”
“You can appreciate your body for everything it allows you to experience and still want to change certain things about it,” the book advises.
The book also advises children to turn to recommended organizations if parents don’t support them, declaring, “If you don’t have an adult you trust, there are organizations across the country that can help you. Turn to the resources on page 95 for more information.”
Among the book’s critics was one mother who declared that American Girl was “stripping away all innocence” with the book’s content, the Daily Mail reported.
The original books, written by schoolteacher Pleasant Rowland, featured 9-year-old girls in American history, but after the company was bought by Mattel in 1998, the focus of the books became modern girls looking for empowerment.
In May 2022, Mattel, the owners of Barbie dolls, created a transgender Barbie doll modeled after activist Laverne Cox as part of its Tribute Collection. In celebration of her birthday, Mattel made a donation in Cox’s name to a nonprofit she favored.
“It’s been a dream for years to work with Barbie to create my own doll,” Cox said. “I can’t wait for fans to find my doll on shelves and have the opportunity to add a Barbie doll modeled after a transgender person to their collection.”