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American Girl's Homeless Doll Causes Controversy

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There's a fine line between advocacy and, well, poor taste. The ever-popular American Girls brand has released a controversial new doll named "Gwen," a character who's actually homeless.

CBS sent correspondent Hattie Kauffman to an L.A. shelter to gather some reaction to the doll:

[One homeless advocate] observed to Kauffman that she finds "the whole concept to be extremely disturbing. It's not a doll I would ever buy for a child."


There are between 7,000 and 10,000 homeless children in L.A. alone, Kauffman notes, and it's doubtful many, if any, could afford Gwen's $95 price tag.


One homeless woman in a shelter Kauffman visited said Gwen touched her heart when she saw the doll in its box.


The women praised the doll, Kauffman reports, until they learned Gwen isn't a fundraising device for the homeless.


"I don't even see why you would make a homeless doll, anyway," one woman said to Kauffman, unless it was being used to raise money to help charities aiding the homeless.


At the NY Post, Andrea Peyser, who calls the American Girls line, "middle American Crack," wrote of the doll: "For $95 -- more than your average homeless person would dream of spending on a rather mediocre baby substitute -- Gwen Thompson can be yours. A mixed message if ever there was one."




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