Wednesday, September 30, 2009

She Is An American Girl

Today I want to shed a little "lyte" on marketing. There is a line of dolls known as "American Girl". The company is based in Wisconsin and is now owed by Mattel. They make dolls that reflect certain historical time periods. Each doll comes with its own book and a boatload of accessories.

If you don't have daughters, you probably have never heard of American Girls. But just about any girl between the ages of 4 and 10 has. Now, I know we are living in a historically significant time, but I think having a homeless American Girl is just too much.

Her name is Gwen Thompson and her dad abandoned her family and her mom lost her job. They live in their car and Gwen keeps her homelessness a secret. I am not kidding. This doll exists and can be yours for a mere $95.00. I'd like to say that part of the purchase is donated to combat homelessness, but it's not.

It seems a wee bit cynical to market tragedy. Plus, what kind of accessories will they offer for Gwen? My daughters loved their American Girls and I was amazed at the plethora of stuff you can buy for them. Some of it is period specific, like a radio for Molly, or goat for Josephina. Others are more generic like a salon for their hair, or a "bubble" bath. What kind of cool stuff does a homeless girl have? Are they going to sell the car that her family lives in?

Look, I am all for educating and expanding young peoples' horizons through toys. But this horizon is a little too bleak for me.

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