Dear Pleasant Company,
Thank you so much for finally creating an Asian-American “American Girl” doll, even if she is one of the sidekicks rather than a main character. I have been waiting since my childhood in the 1980s for you to do this. It’s about time.
You saw fit to introduce the Native American Girl, the Latina Girl, the Black Girl, and many, many iterations of the White Girl–blonde, brunette, redheaded, bespectacled–before introducing a single Asian American doll that little Asian American girls could relate to. Yes, we’re only 3.6% of the population, but many of us are model minorities and have a lot of disposable income to spend. Don’t you want to tap into the market of rich, guilty Asian-American engineer/programmer/doctor parents? Also, American Indians only comprise 0.9% of the population and they got a doll first. I’m sure the exotic Asian-American would sell just as many dolls to non-Asians as the exotic American Indian would to non-Indians.
The Girls of Many Lands girl doesn’t count. That’s a cop-out. She may reflect Chinese heritage, but she isn’t American. The hapa doll and “Just Like You” dolls are pretty awesome, but they don’t allow Asian-American girls to feel like part of the American historical context in the same way as the core collection of historical dolls.
I understand there might have been some difficulties in finding an appropriate historical setting, what with the exclusion acts, internment camps, and all those lovely things threading through the history of Asians in America.
But Asian-American girls could really use a doll that makes them feel American. Finally, they have one. I haven’t read the stories yet, and it’s possible Ivy speaks a lot of Chinglish and is terribly submissive and docile and looks up to her pretty white friend with the long blonde hair, but at least she exists now. Thank you!
How about a South Asian doll next? You’ve still got a lot of different heritages to cover. (Or here’s an idea: how about the dolls not costing 87 freakin’ dollars apiece. How incredibly ironic are Addy, Kit, and Molly when you think about that? I especially like Kit’s Great Depression Hobo Camp Supplies. $24, currently sold out.)