Saturday, October 15, 2005

Drat, do I have to support American Girl now?

Although American Girl started off with the promise of girl-centric books, I haven't been a fan of the product line since downtown Chicago became infiltrated by hordes of well-off women and children bearing American Girl Place shopping bags filled with overpriced dolls and matchy-matchy clothes for girls and dolls alike. And the concept of special seating for dolls at the AGP restaurant? Ick. Whenever I encounter yet another group of AGP acolytes on Michigan Avenue, I express gratitude that I don't have a daughter and will probably never be beseeched, wheedled, or cajoled into going to the mecca that is American Girl Place.

The American Girl company now faces a boycott by Don Wildmon's American Family Association and Ann Scheidler's Pro-Life Action League. Why? Because American Girl is raising money for Girls Inc., a nonprofit group whose stated mission is "inspiring girls to be strong, smart and bold." So what's the problem? Scheidler says, "While Girls Inc. has some good programs, they also support abortion, oppose abstinence-only education for girls, and condone lesbianism." Lawd ha' mercy! Not that!

Girls Inc. has been around for 140 years and serves 800,000 girls, most of them from low-income families. They also support women's rights. According to their website, "Girls Inc develops research-based informal education programs that encourage girls to take risks and master physical, intellectual and emotional challenges. Major programs address math and science education, pregnancy and drug abuse prevention, media literacy, economic literacy, adolescent health, violence prevention, and sports participation." How controversial!

Now, you can buy all the American Girl dolls you want, but the money that goes to Girls Inc. is from their sales of "I Can" wristbands. Why not save yourself the trouble of buying another rubber bracelet and just donate to Girls Inc. instead?

Another grand idea: Mr. Tangerine asks, "Where's the American Boy Place?" He wants a place he and Ben and a doll can go, all three of them wearing matching outfits. That would be lovely, wouldn't it?


Mona Buonanotte said...

How does Girls Inc. "condone lesbianism"? Because it lets girls play sports? Or just live strong without a man? Huh, Mr. Wildmon? Time to stop smoking crack off that prostitutes ass, man.

thenutfantastic said...

Heh, I have been thanking my lucky stars I didn't have a girl, too. I don't know if I'll support AGP but I will definitely support Girls, Inc.

And I wanna know where all the Mother n son stuff are already. Geesh. Father n daughter stuff, too, at that.

Bored Housewife said...

I believe that comment solidified my crush on your husband.

and yeah, Girls Inc sounds like a great program. Stupid uptight conservatives. Utah teaches abstinence only. Works GREAT. they have the highest teen pregnancy rate in the country. That always cracked me up.

JT said...

Did you know that the American Girl Place has the highest per-sale dollar average of ANY store on Michigan Avenue? Nauseating, ain't it?

Orange said...

Mona, Girls Inc. "condones lesbianism" by supporting girls who realize they're gay (rather than shunning them?). Nut, Lisa, JT, there are plenty of reasons to be sad we don't have daughters. The American Girl merchandising machine isn't one of them.

You'd think the average Tiffany's or Apple Store or Ermenegildo Zegna Boutique purchase would exceed that of a store for children, wouldn't you? That is a frightening statistic, JT.

JT said...

I know -- totally scary, isn't it? I learned that when I worked at Unnamed Company's Mich Ave store. Holy moly, did that blow my mind. I'm pretty sure the equation somehow includes something about frequency or number of sales.

I'm totally with you about not missing out on the American Girl experience. My friends with daughters all go through it to some degree, and it's terrifying and horribly expensive. Almost makes you yearn for Barbies.


Thank G-d for trains and baseball, eh?

Anonymous said...

Mr. Tangerine makes me laugh out loud...the image of male matching outfits...hehehe. I must confess my daughter has bitty baby with the matching girl nightgown...she stole my credit card, hauled ass to the chicago store and bought the place out all on her own...I swear.

Bella Sultane said...

I visited a Girls, Inc. in Chicago as part of a class when I was in college. Listening to a few of the girls talk about how Girls, Inc. had changed their lives was touching and inspiring. It seemed like the program really puts a high premium on getting girls to feel powerful and to participate politically.

If I ever have a girl, I'll seriously consider sending her to or starting my own Girls, Inc. as opposed to some of the more traditional girl's club programs.

As for now, I'll donate!