Photo from American Girl
I'm fascinated to hear the new American Girl doll Gwen's compelling back story that includes coming from a broken family, destitution, and homelessness. Aren't you? And what about your kids?
Or are kids more concerned with how cute the Gwen doll is?
Gwen and her mother Janine fell on hard times when her father lost his job; they later lost the house as they were unable to keep up payments. Soon after, Gwen's father left them and they became homeless the fall before the start of the book's events. Initially, Gwen's mother has them live in their car until the winter comes; she then takes them to Sunrise House, a place for homeless women and children. Sunrise House helps them get on their feet and eventually get a new apartment.
— and wow! Seems a great way to teach your child a little about history, relationships, and socioeconomics.
Well, not so fast...
Somehow I kinda doubt kids are going to think much about where Gwen "comes from" or her hard times. You can even read the comments from Gwen doll owners on the American Girl website, and they describe her as "beautyful," say her dress is "very pretty," and that "her headband is a great add on." One young customer was a little disappointed with Gwen's look though and said, "I bought this doll and was disappointed in her bangs, they are awful short and you can't do anything with them."
So great, teachable moment back story or not, looks like kids are going to continue to rate, want, and buy dolls on their looks. So hopefully no one gets too "upset" about her hard-knock back story being to depressing — cause it probably doesn't even matter...
What do you think? Does it really matter if this doll's book character was homeless? Does this doll and her story provide for a teachable moment?