American Girl has always been known for creating dolls that girls of any age, race, and religion can relate to. Last week, however, the company caused some serious controversy when it announced that it would retire four of its historic character dolls, two of which are minorities. The company took to Facebook and Twitter to tell fans that they would have to, "say farewell" to Marie-Grace, Cécile, Ruthie, and Ivy this fall. Many were upset by the news, as the removal of Cécile and Ivy, dolls of African and Asian descent respectively, leaves the collection with fewer diverse dolls.
"My daughter is Asian and is an American girl," Cindy Edwards wrote on Facebook. "I am so sad she will not be represented in your line." Hundreds of others echoed Edwards's statement, including Allegra Ashley who worries what type of message this sends to young girls.
"My daughter is mixed and there were never dolls that looked like her in stores" Ashley wrote. "Now two more ethnic dolls are gone and being replaced with another blonde, just like all the other blonde dolls. It sends a message that only blondes are beautiful."
Representatives from American Girl assured fans that their decision has nothing to do with race. Rather, the company is trying to, "move away from the friend-characters" — dolls that share story lines. The company adds that these dolls are not gone forever. In the fall, they will be reintroduced as part of the new BeForever collection.
"Be assured that our BeForever line will still focus on giving girls the opportunities to explore the past and learn from the past," the company wrote on its Facebook page. "It will also help the girls find their place in the present and see connections that tie the girls from all times together – the shared interests, shared challenges and dreams."