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This American Girl Book’s Trans-Inclusive Message Is Making the Worst People Mad

a gaggle of american girl dolls

If you didn’t know, “doll” is a catchall term for a trans girl. It’s been well documented in Urban Dictionary, and I quote: “A doll is a beautiful trans woman. Like off the walls gorgeous. She’s stunning. […] She is the grand dame. She looks like a literal doll.”

So are they not reading Urban Dictionary or …? Like I thought everyone did that? This really shouldn’t be coming as a surprise. Get with the times, losers.

But I guess that’s the thing about transphobes—they are eternally cursed to be behind the times. Next they’ll be volunteering other antiquated ideas such as putting leeches on or skin to suck out the “bad trans blood.” Or maybe they think that being trans comes from “unbalanced humors”? Either way, blood letting must be the answer, right?

So Why Are They Mad At American Girl Dolls?

Because obviously American Girl took a look at Urban Dictionary and decided to incorporate it into their brand. That’s why they created their A Smart Girl’s Guide: Body Image book, which is a guidebook for girls about love and acceptance of their bodies. There is a section of the book titled “Gender Joy,” which defines what it means to be cisgender, transgender, and non-binary, and encourages children to talk to their parents about their bodies and their gender identity, and consult with a doctor if necessary. And as an American Girl doll myself, I’m all for it.

But the other side of the binary, there were some transphobes who were pretty pissed off. The book was bombarded with one-star reviews across the internet, with transphobes everywhere claiming that the book would corrupt their children. The age-old fear of queerness being a “socially transmittable disease” has reared its ugly head. People have been afraid that exposure to queerness will make children “catch the gay” for as long as queer identity has existed. Now moms and dads everywhere seem to be afraid that their child will “catch the trans” and will “ruin themselves” on hormones and hormone blockers, or at the very worst be “one of them gays.”

No one seems more fearful of that prospect than Kristi S. Hamrick, who published an opinion piece on Fox News titled Geniuses at American Girl push transitioning for Christmas, because being a ‘girl’ may not be ‘smart’ and already I’m WISHING that Santa had left a note that said “thnx 4 the cookies. btw u a girl” on the kitchen counter after devouring the child-crafted chocolate chip monstrosities I left out for him one chilly Christmas Eve. Would have saved me A LOT of confusion in my adult life, but that’s neither here nor there. No, we’re here to talk about Ms. Hamrick’s salient point that “being a girl may not be smart.” I agree. Being a girl may not be smart, nd this sentiment is no doubt shared by every single trans boy who has blessed the face of the Earth. Sometimes, being a girl isn’t the best decision. Sometimes, being a boy or a chaotic non-binary entity that defies categorization is a WAY BETTER DEAL. They dress better. Their parties are better. And by God do they fuck better. Don’t tell your kids about that last part though; they’ll find that out when they’re older.

She goes on to say that the book offers a “confusing message” on what it means to be a girl and a woman. You know what? I agree. Being a girl IS confusing. It’s really weird when adults try to tell you what your social and sexual role is in the world based solely on what’s between your legs! It’s super confusing when you’re a little girl but people tell you that you can’t dress the way that you want, use the bathroom that you want, or go by the name you want to be called solely based on your body. Being a girl can be REALLY HARD when adults tell you that your genitalia is the sole indicator of who you are rather than your heart, mind, or soul. Being a girl gets even MORE confusing when adults tell your body and your identity should “match” even though YOU know they don’t. And by golly, It sure is weird having adults fret about your “fertility” when you’re at an age where you still think that the other kids in your class have cooties!

Hamrick then goes on to criticize American Girl for “undermine[ing] girls by telling them it might not be all that great to grow up as a woman.” And you know what? She’s right about that too! Growing up as a woman can be really hard! It’s hard being a young woman but not being able to play organized sports because the adults think you have an “unfair advantage.” It’s hard not being able to access the medical care you need when going through a puberty that you don’t want to go through. And even when you’re an adult, it can still be hard! It’s hard when a woman loses housing because her landlord doesn’t think that she’s “real.” It’s hard when a man she likes doesn’t call her back because he thinks she “tricked” him. It’s hard when she’s walking home alone at night wondering if she’s going to be another statistic!

You’re right, Kristi! We shouldn’t undermine girls who want to grow up to be women! We should love them! We should rejoice for them! We should make it easy! We should make it safe! Because you’re right, Kristi, our girls are in danger! So are our boys! So is anyone who believes that they are more than the life that was predetermined for them based solely on the genitals they had when they popped out of mommy’s womb! They are in danger of violence. They are in danger of poverty. They are in danger of erasure.

But there’s just one thing you get wrong, Kristi! YOU don’t get to decide who is a boy and who is a girl. NO ONE gets to decide the gender of another human being. That’s something that American Girl’s book gets right. So you’re worried about an American Girl Doll Christmas? Well too late! This Christmas season, you’ve got a doll coming for you! That’s right! I am going to personally gift wrap myself and hide under your Christmas tree, so when you come downstairs on Christmas morning, there will be an American girl waiting. A doll with a nugget of coal, my present for you.

(featured image: American Girl)

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