If the grown-up world mirrored the reality of children and their dolls, we all just might be a little more tolerant.
In July, pressured in part by a competing Barbie Doll from Mattel, American Girl started manufacturing bald dolls for children suffering from hair loss.
For the 2012 holiday season, the doll-maker added some more niche accessories to its list, including an American Girl hearing aid, and, for those dolls with food-sensitivities, an American Girl Allergy-Free Lunch. The lunch comes complete with a medical bracelet and a fake allergy shot, "just in case."
As one parent writes in an Amazon review of a toy hearing aid, "My daughter just celebrated her first year wearing a hearing aid... and it is so refreshing that one of the doll companies makes real-life accessories that focus on differently-abled children. I am teaching my child to embrace what makes her unique and celebrate it..."
Not all of American Girl's attempts to up the diversity of its dolls have been without controversy, though. In 2005, the company released a Mexican-American doll named "Marisol Luna" whose tale involved growing up in a dangerous Chicago neighborhood named "Pilsen" then fleeing to the suburbs. The problem? Pilsen is a real Chicago neighborhood, and Hispanics there were none too happy with their corporate branding.