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October 17, 2005

American Beauties | BuyBlue.org

I guess we have a new toy to buy our kids...

Link: American Beauties | BuyBlue.org.

Don’t hate Mattel Corporation’s  Barbie because she’s beautiful. Just embrace their subsidiary’s doll instead, American Girl. American Girl dolls are much more wholesome and cute in a brainy, self-actualized way. They’re ethnically diverse, and they teach girls about history. Even more impressive, the American Girl company has now made a real, monetary commitment to giving girls confidence, intellectually and athletically, with the needed skills to lead and build communities.

American Girl has now teamed up with Girls Inc., specifically promoting three programs through donations from the sales of a colorful, “I can!” bracelet: Operation Smart, Discover Leadership, and Sporting Chance are three Girls Inc. programs developed specifically for building science, math and technology skills; developing leadership and community awareness skills; and encouraging athletic, cooperative and competitive spirit skills, as well as an interest in sports participation, respectively. How can you not like these programs?

The broader mission of Girls Inc. is best summarized within a letter from Joyce M. Roché, President and CEO of Girls Incorporated. It’s entitled, To all friends of strong, smart, and bold girls (Oct. 15, 2005):

Girls Inc. has empowered girls for over 141 years, first as Girls Clubs of America and since 1990 as Girls Incorporated. In centers across the country, generations of girls have learned their strengths, explored their worlds, prepared for productive, interesting lives, and offered each other the support necessary in dealing with the challenges of growing up.
Grounded in research and tested in the field, Girls Inc. programs address the whole girl. They build her athletic skills and competitive spirit, nurture her ability and interest in science, math and technology, equip her with critical health and sexuality information, provide her leadership experience, teach her media literacy and money management skills, and foster her self-respect and self-determination. Programs such as Girls Inc. Operation SMART®, Girls Inc. Discovery Leadership®, and Girls Inc. Sporting Chance® help girls understand who they are and acquire the skills and knowledge needed to make smart, informed decisions about their lives.
In addition, since 1992 Girls Inc. has provided over $1.8 million in college scholarships to girls who have become leaders in all walks of life and has played a crucial role in advancing girls' rights through supporting legislation such as Title IX and the Violence Against Women Act.

But embedded in all of those good, empowering goals and achievements at the Girls Inc. website, there is inarguable support for upholding Roe vs. Wade as it stands, as well as a commitment to helping girls deal with the diversity in sexual orientation that they are bound to encounter in life, unless they live in a vacuum.

In response, the American Family Association is trashing the dolls that they have always loved up to now. They’re condemning the beneficial programs because Girls Inc. supports tolerance for homosexuality and a pro-choice stance, as well as all the other possible life experiences and choices that girls as a group will certainly face. I thought conservative groups were tired of the glitzy, superficial world of Barbie and Bratz dolls. Why aren’t they embracing a doll and an organization that actually promotes informed, personal responsibility for a change, as well as an abstinence first policy toward health and sexuality? I urge you to contact Mattel’s CEO, Bob Eckert , and Girl Inc. president, Joyce Roche , to support them for providing our kids with ALL the tools they may need to succeed, regardless of the divisive controversy being tossed at them out of right field.

Also, read this SFChronicle piece  for more background.  Thank you to Jessica for the October 12, 2005 blog posted at feministing.com on this subject.

Posted at 9:51 AM

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