American Girl has released its "2021 Girl of the Year", and this is the first doll to include an LGBTQ element.
The storyline for Kira Baily, a 10-year-old who is passionate about animals and the environment, includes spending a summer in Australia with her great-aunts' Mamie and Lynette.
The doll company, owned by Mattel, first made the announcement in a press release on Dec. 31, revealing that their dolls are designed to reflect the present time with "contemporary characters that inspires children."
"As American Girl kicks off its 35th year, Kira joins our lineup of diverse and purposeful characters who star in stories that reflect the realities of the times—whether it's historical or modern-day," says Jamie Cygielman, general manager of American Girl.
The American Girl website doesn't specifically say her aunts are in a same-sex relationship, however, the book about Kira explains that her aunts married "after the law was changed to allow it," according to Yahoo.
But many customers who purchased the book criticized the company for including an LGBTQ angle with a product that targets 8-10 year olds.
A large majority of buyers on Amazon were displeased:
"I think there should be a warning to parents so that they can make an informed choice whether or not to allow their young child to read a story that includes a lesbian relationship."
"Very INAPPROPRIATE TOPIC FOR YOUNG READERS. I RETURNED BOTH BOOKS FOR GOTY KIRA Bailey. BEWARE. My daughter was disturbed reading and looking at the books pictures!! SHAME ON YOU AMERICAN GIRL!!"
"The storyline is inappropriate and far too mature for young readers. While we teach kindness to all in our family, there are things that elementary-age little girls do not need to be exposed to, and this book blatantly introduces very mature topics."
"Homosexuality is an inappropriate topic for a children's book and I am very disappointed that it was woven so blatantly into the storyline for Kira. This type of content should have been made clear in the advertising so that I as a parent could make an informed choice for my child."
"Shocked to see a lesbian couple in a children's book from American Girl. Very disappointing because I have always trusted American Girl until now. Mature topics and just a bad book all around for kids."
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