Protecting Our Children


posted by Amy

Broadsheet has a great entry about Karen Karbo's hilarious Op-Ed in the New York Times on Sunday and the One Step Ahead catalog. I find it funny now, but years ago when I removed the strings from my stepson's jacket hood because he might choke to death, the humor might have hit just a little too close to home. Never mind that he was four years old and definitely capable of extricating himself from whatever bizarre situation might have led to him strangling himself (I believe it had something to do with strings getting caught in playground equipment);my paranoia level was sky-high after just having a new baby (and after nine months of reading mainstream parenting mags and You're a Bad Mommy Who Will Screw Your Child up for Life by Eating White Sugar When You're Expecting). Needless to say, his mom, who had bought him said jacket, was not very happy when he showed up without hood strings.

But even more dangerous than Margaret Wise Brown's classic are the American Girls dolls. Sure, these dolls, with their realistic little-girl bodies and stories set in historical periods seem innocent. If you were a doll-obsessed avid reader like me as a little girl, they might even seem like a dream come true, the perfect combination of Little House on the Prairie and Little Women. My husband's stepmother and I have been known to spend way more time than one might think two grown women should discussing which dolls we'd choose (My choices: Kit and Josefina.) According to the Pro-Life Action League, however, we've been wrong to see them as innocent, if somewhat overpriced, toys.

American Girls dolls, if you don't already know, are dangerous because they are made by a company which supports the idea of giving girls (gasp!) choices. According to a WeNews story, "In September, American Girl launched the "I Can" program in conjunction with Girls Incorporated, a national nonprofit based in New York." The problem? Well, Girls Inc. "believes that girls are entitled to live and thrive in communities that invest in their total physical, mental and emotional wellness. Girls need access to information and skills to be partners in promoting their own healthy development." The Pro-Life Action League doesn't like that idea and is calling for a boycott of American Girls products.

Geez. I'm just glad my own daughter's kind and generous grandmother happily ordered the Bitty Twins dolls for Josie's fourth birthday. (And Vonnie, you should know that Josie was so excited about her new babies after we came home from her birthday dinner at your house that she turned to me and said, "Mom? Is this real life?") Even better, I'm glad my daughter lives in a world where Girls Inc. exists. The only thing better? A world where Girls Inc. doesn't need to exist.

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