Beauty is said to be in the eye of the beholder, but when you’re a girl growing up, it’s hard to spot dolls that are created with your image specifically in mind. No, scratch that – it’s next to impossible. This has been one of the reasons why I’ve always treasured the American Girl dolls. From historical to modern day, they’ve always looked like ordinary girls. They didn’t come with huge pouty lips or makeup on their eyelids or with a C-cup bra size. American Girl dolls had glasses. Some had freckles. Their skin tone, eyes and faces were all shaped differently from one another. They came with rich personalities and were girls who really cared about making a difference, whether it was in their families or communities or the world. To me they were always beautiful just the way that they were and now American Girl is about to make the boldest, most inspiring move of all: they’ve developed a doll without hair.
Yes, yes, YES! A million times yes!
Reading the description of the newest member of the My American Girl line on Facebook this morning filled my heart up with so much joy that it felt almost impossible to contain within just my heart alone, “For more than a year, American Girl has been hard at work developing a doll without hair option for girls affected by cancer, alopecia, or any medical condition causing hair loss. Debuting today as part of the My American Girl line, the new dolls provide even more possibilities for a girl to create a friend that’s as unique as she is.”
For more than a year, American Girl has been quietly working behind the scenes to make this moment happen. It’s a moment that has been so long overdue that it sickens me. At the same time, I can’t be too upset because there is a company that recognized a doll needed to be made for these girls and went into action working to create one. That same company created dolls without hair for every skin tone and eye color and even went a step deeper to announce that if you already owned a My American Girl doll, they would be willing to take her into the doll hospital and through careful expertise, replace her head to create a doll without hair.
I have an intern who is a remarkably vibrant young woman and had cancer when she was younger, losing all of her hair in the recovery process. When I was in high school, I myself had a brief cancer scare too: discovering a lump on myself that had it not have been removed when it was would have led to me being diagnosed with carcinoma. We’ve both often discussed how wonderful and absolutely necessary it would be to have a doll created that showed girls that bald is beautiful, damnit, and that nobody should ever say or think anything less. And American Girl took up that call to action and made it happen.
I believe that American Girl and their dolls are saving the world, at least a small portion of it. They understand girls inside and out – our dreams, our goals and aspirations, thoughts and feelings and how we want the world to change and are willing to fight for that change. But they also know that girls want to feel beautiful just as they are and are fighting the good fight to leave no girl behind, no matter what.
Keep it up, AG – I and many, many girls have got your back. We’re not letting go either.