American girl victim

While most American Girl dolls live in an interesting historical era, the 2009 model, Chrissa, is a contemporary girl coping with fourth-grade bullies (“relational aggression”) at her new school. In addition to books, Chrissa will star in an HBO movie.

Mamapundit, a fan of plucky Kit, the Great Depression doll, thinks Chrissa is a dud.

. . . American Girl dolls teach their young owners about important stuff like slavery, Native American heritage, life on the homefront during WWII and living as an orphan during the Victorian period.  The dolls, along with the books that come with them, really do manage to teach some history as they entertain little girls.

Bullying isn’t new, she argues.

Isn’t there anything more notable about our era for girls to learn about than “relational aggression?”

Strollerderby also thinks Chrissa is totally lame.

What about engaging stories, to, you know, distract and cheer up all the kids who are suffering relational aggression?

My daughter was a little old to get an American Girl doll — and I was too cheap. But, after my mother sent a doll to my niece at my address, I got all the catalogs for 10 years. I had to sell my house and move away to escape.

About Joanne


  1. Nels Nelson says:

    According to my wife and daughter, who just found me reading an article on American Girls, this doll is not in the “normal” line but instead part of another line of annual, always-contemporary dolls. So maybe the comparison to the historical characters isn’t fair.

  2. Nels, I love that they “found” you reading the article, like it’s something seedy. 🙂

  3. Yes, this doll is one of the “Girl of the Year” line, in which there is a different contemporary girl every year. Last year’s girl, Mia, was a competitive ice-skater, and the year before, it was a girl who was spending the year on a research trip to the Amazon with her scientist parents. So Chrissa isn’t in the historical doll line at all, and will be gone next year.

    I’m sympathetic to AG’s apparent goal of helping girls figure out what to do about the bullies they meet. The point of Chrissa’s story seems to be that she ‘stands strong’ and doesn’t buckle under the pressure, which is surely appropriate. I wonder how much the story will sound like an after-school special, but on the whole I’m positively inclined. And my daughter, who is dealing with a slightly mean girl in her dance class, is begging to see the movie.

    And the historical AG stories don’t *just* deal with big historical stuff–they also feature storylines about family and friendships, and the usual difficulties involved. It’s not like AG has never produced a ‘how to deal with a mean girl’ story before–Addy does at one point, at least, and I’m sure other girls do too.

  4. The blog entries seem to be under the misimpression that Chrissa is replacing Samantha. A response claims that in fact, the new historical doll will be a Jewish girl in WWII, though I don’t know about that personally.

  5. ahem … I do believe the year before Mia was Nicki who trained service dogs for the blind. Happy holidays!


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