For decades, the popular American Girl doll company has been pairing their adorable children’s toys with educational books. These series not only served to bring each doll to life with a distinct backstory, but they also taught children about the daily life of girls in various periods of American history.
In 2021, the company brought complaints because that year’s “Girl of the Year” doll, Kira, goes to spend the summer in Australia with her “two aunts” — a same-sex married couple.
In addition to the books that speak of the dolls’ lives, the company also produces books directed to girls so they can learn about navigating their own lives: The Care and Keeping of You and related books address everything from menstrual cycles, to handling emotions. And the Smart Girls Guides tackle topics like crushes, friendship, worry, the internet, and homework.
The doll company’s latest book in this series, released in February, promotes the controversial topic of transgenderism.
A Smart Girl’s Guide: Body Image has drawn criticism for attempting to normalize transgenderism, promoting puberty blockers, and offering young children resources to explore transgenderism without parental notification. According to Amazon’s listing, the book was written at a reading level intended for girls aged 7-11; the publisher lists it as appropriate for readers 10+.
Images of the book at the Daily Mail show brightly colored illustrations with page titles like “Gender Joy.” This page in particular goes into detail about “gender expression” and suggests that girls experiment with a variety of styles before deciding on whether they wish to appear masculine, feminine, “or somewhere in between.”
American Girl has been getting a lot of pushback, but told the Washington Post that it stands by the book.
“We value the views and feedback of our customers and acknowledge the perspectives on this issue. The content in this book, geared for kids 10+, was developed in partnership with medical and adolescent care professionals and consistently emphasizes the importance of having conversations and discussing any feelings with parents or trusted adults,” wrote American Girl spokesperson Julie Parks in a statement emailed to The Washington Post.
However, voices in the medical community show just how much concern there is about this issue.
As Aleteia reported in October, an intensive review of evidence and treatment methods for young people who identify as transgender has led England’s National Health Service to scrap the previous model and issue new guidelines. The change stands as a repudiation of the previous “gender-affirming care model.”
In America, however, some doctors are asking why evidence is not being discussed according to basic scientific methods.
“We see ongoing active efforts to suppress any discussion of the merits of the existing data used to support gender affirming medical interventions to adolescents seeking to alter the appearance of their body to conform to their perceived gender identity.
In a report from Fox, detransitioner Luka Hein lamented that American Girl is promoting medicalization to girls who feel “uncomfortable with what should be considered normal teenage issues.” She noted that puberty can be a hard and uncomfortable time for all young people, but that doesn’t mean that something is wrong with them. Hein said:
“Gender ideology has become increasingly predatory towards young girls’ moments of discomfort during puberty, and books like that are only adding to the predatory nature of that.”
In a report from NewsMax, featured above, Whitley Yates commented on the choices of American Girl:
“Anytime you have a toy manufacturer that is pushing puberty blockers and pharmaceutical pills on our young impressionable children, I would be alarmed.”
Care of nature, care of you
Pope Francis has often sounded the alarm on gender ideology, suggesting that proponents of these ideas engage in what he calls “ideological colonization.”
In his encyclical on the environment, the Pope said that learning to accept and respect our bodies is a first step in caring for the earth, our common home.
The acceptance of our bodies as God’s gift is vital for welcoming and accepting the entire world as a gift from the Father and our common home, whereas thinking that we enjoy absolute power over our own bodies turns, often subtly, into thinking that we enjoy absolute power over creation. Learning to accept our body, to care for it and to respect its fullest meaning, is an essential element of any genuine human ecology. Also, valuing one’s own body in its femininity or masculinity is necessary if I am going to be able to recognize myself in an encounter with someone who is different.