Famous doll-maker American Girl was blasted for its controversial guidebook, “A Smart Girl’s Guide” for allegedly encouraging children aged 3-12 who may be struggling with body image issues to get ‘puberty blockers”. The suggestions offered in the book have angered parents as they took to social media and left negative reviews on American Girl’s website.
What’s In The Guidebook?
American Girl, whose parent company is Mattel, released a 96-page guidebook “A Smart Girl’s Guide: Body Image on Nov. 1. The book, which retails for $12.99 is marketed as full of activities, tips, crafts, and “real-girl” stories. The company called it a “feel-good reminder that all bodies are worthy of love and respect.
Since its release, this guidebook has caused massive outrage among parents as it is aimed at advising young children about transitioning and information about puberty drug blockers. The book has a section featuring a transgender rights flag and an image of a youngster apparently talking to a doctor about gender issues.
The text in book uses pronouns such as “they” to describe oneself and declares that “Studies show that transgender and nonbinary kids who get help from doctors have much better mental health than those who don’t.” Well, this may agitate a lot of conservatives out there, but isn’t it true?
The book targets girls aged between 8 to 11, and states, “The way you show your gender to the world through clothes and behaviours is your gender expression.” It further 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,” it suggests. The book also adds that “parts of your body may make you feel uncomfortable and you may want to change the way you look. … ‘That’s totally OK!”
At one point, the book suggests that “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.
What Are People Saying?
Incredibly disappointed in your book "Body Image"
Let these little girls be little girls. Stop the disgusting push to introduce topics too mature. It is NOT your place.
— Melissa Panko (@MelissaPanko) December 7, 2022
The guidebook has caused a massive uproar among parents, some of whom have decided to boycott the company. Some parents are asking American Girl to let their girls be girls. One angered mother wrote on Twitter: “Incredibly disappointed in your book ‘Body Image’ Let these little girls be little girls. Stop the disgusting push to introduce topics too mature.”
“How sad that a book tells a child there are medicines to take to stop puberty or if parents won’t listen seek organizations that will, this is all gender-related,” one displeased customer said. “How sad this world is becoming that American Doll takes on the role of thinking they should give gender assignment advice in a book. Shame on you.”
Conservative commentators too couldn’t keep their hands off. Podcaster Allie Beth Stuckey wrote on Twitter: “Gone are the days when American Girl taught girls about history & femininity. 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.”
While most parents are raging against this guidebook, some parents praised the company for its forward-thinking. In one Amazon review, a parent noted that they wished they had something like this when they were “still young and impressionable.”
“The information presented in this book is easy to read, easy to understand, and presented in a way that will hold interest. Even if certain topics won’t apply to your daughter, they might apply to someone she knows, and could help her build better empathy for what someone else might be going through, which is great.” Some called it a must-buy. What do you think?