Not even the iconic doll brand American Girl seems entirely clear on what a girl is.
The company was hit with a backlash over its guidebook “Body Image,” part of the “Smart Girl’s Guide” series, that advises girls to consider using puberty blockers as they ponder their gender identity, and to consult adults other than their parents.
“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,” says the book, which is marketed on the website for girls ages 10 and older, in its “Gender Joy” section.
The 96-page guide also explains that doctors “assign” a baby’s sex at birth, but that for some, “that assigned sex doesn’t match who they know they are inside.”
“A kid who was assigned as a male might know herself to be a girl inside, for example,” the book says. “Someone whose gender is different than the sex they were assigned at birth is transgender. Some people don’t feel like a girl or a boy inside — which is totally OK! People in this group are usually called nonbinary and might use a pronoun like they instead of he or she.”
In addition, the book tells girls that “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.”
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Critics on the right accused American Girl of pushing a woke social agenda on young girls.
“American Girl used to celebrate American womanhood. Now, it’s teaching little girls how to prevent womanhood,” tweeted Angela Morabito, visiting fellow at the Independent Women’s Forum and a former Education Department press secretary.
Mollie Hemingway, editor-in-chief of the Federalist, warned: “Parents should know that American Girl guide books — which used to be pretty good — now promote dangerous gender ideology to little girls as young as 3. If you love your daughters, protect your daughters by avoiding this company.”
Conservative podcaster Allie Beth Stuckey blasted the shift in focus at American Girl, which is based in Middleton, Wisconsin.
“Gone are the days when @American_Girl taught girls about history & femininity,” she tweeted. “Now they’re encouraging our daughters to hate their bodies, halt their puberty, & cut off their breasts in the name of ‘self-love.’ Return your AG Christmas gifts asap.”
A book for girls about body image that tells them they should make permanent and catastrophic change their to bodies if they’re unhappy with them. Healthy message. https://t.co/vbes4ce5KZ
— Bethany S. Mandel (@bethanyshondark) December 7, 2022
Anne Young, the mother of girls ages 8 and 10, said the book “mixes truth about embracing natural beauty with lies about denigrating the body. This is a toxic mixture that will only confuse them.”
She called on American Girl to “stop publishing books that teach girls to destroy their bodies by changing their sex.”
“I have loved this brand since my daughters were babies and we want to continue enjoying their products,” she said in a Tuesday op-ed in the Christian Post. “But we can no longer do so unless they choose to change course. I emailed the executives and I encourage everyone to do likewise.”
Others pointed out that American Girl is owned by Mattel, which introduced in May its first transgender Barbie, modeled after “Orange is the New Black” star Laverne Cox.
The book, written by Mel Hammond and published in February, also discusses “body positivity,” eating disorders, disabilities and beauty standards.
“Every girl needs to learn to live comfortably in her own skin, and this book will show the way!” says the American Girl promotion.
“Body Image” scored 4 out of 5 stars out of 34 reviews on Amazon.com, although several reviewers expressed concern about the mature themes.
“Bottom line — this book can be great if your child is ready for the more mature aspects and if you agree with all of AG’s views on gender identity and the importance of choosing your gender – but for us, it’s not a book I’m choosing to go through with my daughter right now,” one reviewer stated.