I’m still ensconced in end of semester stuff (only a digital preservation final, a historiography paper, and 40 exams to grade until freedom), but just popping in to share this really interesting/important (importinteresting?) piece from The Atlantic with you: American Girls Aren’t Radical Anymore
I grew up reading those books (to provide a point of reference, I’ll be 24 in 10 days), in fact, I think Felicity Saves the Day is the first book I ever read 100% by myself. By the time I was nine years old I had all six books for all five dolls (Jospehina et al were a bit after my time).
Though I soon graduated to Dear America and the Royal Diaries—and then to Philippa Gregory, Jean Plaidy, Alison Weir, and finally to actual history books*—I’ve always perceived the American Girl books as having played an important role in my childhood, and an important role in my love for history.
That said, I never really considered how they shaped my conception of issues such as class, race, gender, and privilege until now. It’s a damn shame that future generations of young girls won’t grow up reading about Addy’s escape from slavery and Samantha’s anti-capitalist rhetoric (I mean, they can still read them, but I can’t say how much appeal they’ll have without the doll tie-in as that’s a huge part of the marketing).
*And now theory heaven help me