Mattel released a limited edition doll in their American Girl line. Gwen is homeless and from the Great Depression.
The response has been amazing, from embracing the idea to calling it political indoctrination of little children. The New York Post all but freaked out and said ”
It seems obscene that a company that prides itself on teaching impressionable children about history and grooming — you can have your doll’s hair done for $20! — should engage in political preaching. What message is being sent with Gwen?
For starters, men are bad. Fathers abandon women without cause. She’s also telling me that women are helpless. And that children in this great country, where dolls sell for nearly 100 bucks a pop, are allowed to sleep in motor vehicles. But mothers don’t lose custody over this injustice. Because, you see, they are victims, too. http://www.nypost.com/p/news/national/homeless_doll_costs_hairstyling_4Ic0hC7Lacpfo8HQbczsQM#ixzz0X9mILGXg”
I think that fussing about it is the same as political censorship. Homelessness happens. It happens to real people, and to bad people. It is a reflection of income and circumstance, not of character. Teaching that to children,and fostering their empathy is, I think, healthy.
Children aren’t scared the same way we are, and they are braver and more creative in situations of crisis. Gwen is just a doll, her back story probably has happened over and over again to real children. It is an opportunity to talk to our children and ask:
what do you think about homelessness
what should we do if we dont have our own place
would you be scared?
and my favorite irreverent Adam Corrola Game of “Rich Man/Poor Man”.
What do you think?