Thursday, Oct. 01, 2009

Homeless American Girl

Mattel's highly sought-after American Girl dolls "celebrate girls and all that they can be," according to the company's website, and each comes complete with a personal story line. There's Julie Albright, a "fun-loving girl from San Francisco" who has to deal with moving away from her best friend, and Chrissa Maxwell — the company's Girl of the Year — who has to face down the "mean bees" at her new school after she and her family move in with her nana.

But there's a new kid on the block: Gwen Thompson, who literally lives on the street. Gwen's story starts with a deadbeat dad who walks out on the family, leaving her single mom struggling to get by. Some parents have expressed outrage, calling Gwen's story insensitive and crass. Others, however, say it's a great idea. "The only thing obscene about this American Girl controversy is that it takes a plastic doll and her fictional biography to have everyone up in arms," noted blogger Shannon Moriarty. "Yet the real stories of homeless children crowding shelters and schools are accepted without an ounce of outrage." For just $95, a young girl (or, more likely, her parents) can give Gwen a home.