Over 20,000 people have backed an online petition asking The American Girl company to scrap an LGBT storyline tied to its 2021 Girl of the Year doll, urging the company to remain neutral in what they call a “culture war.”
One Million Moms, a Christian conservative organization that regularly launches campaigns against organizations that produce questionable content, launched an online campaign after Mattel named 10-year-old Kira Bailey from Michigan the “2021 Girl of the Year” in December.
The doll comes with an accompanying book Kira Down Under. In the book, Kira visits an animal sanctuary in Australia operated by her great aunts, who are in a same-sex marriage. The book details how the aunts got married after laws were changed in 2017 to allow for same-sex marriages.
The One Million Moms petition, backed by 20,665 signatories as of Sunday afternoon, calls the storyline “unacceptable.”
“As Christians, we know that even though something is legalized doesn’t make it moral or right,” One Million Moms argues.
“American Girl could have chosen another storyline or characters to write about and remained neutral in the culture war. American Girl is attempting to desensitize our youth by featuring a storyline with two lesbian aunts.”
The organization calls on parents to not let their daughters see the doll so they can avoid “a premature conversation that she is far too young to understand.”
American Girl, which is known as a brand that helps girls “grow up with confidence and character,” argues that its line of contemporary characters is designed to inspire children “to make a positive difference in the world.”
Kira is “the first character whose story mentions a same-sex relationship,” according to Yahoo Life. But the brand has produced other LGBT-related content. The organization previously updated its book A Smart Girl’s Guide: Crushes to include same-sex relationships. The book was previously known as A Smart Girl’s Guide to Boys.
The news outlet also reports that the company also plans to publish a book that features a mixed-race family with two dads in February.
Julie Parks, an American Girl spokesperson, defended the storyline in a statement made to Yahoo Life.
“From the beginning, our ‘Girl of the Year’ characters have been designed to reflect girls’ lives today and the realities of the times,” Parks stated.
“As a brand, we’ve always strived to share the message that there’s no ‘magic recipe’ for a family and that families can be made up of all kinds of ingredients — and each is unique and lovely.”
Parks added that there are girls that “can directly relate to Kira’s circumstances,” whether that be a girl whose father passed away or family members in same-sex relationships.
“American Girl was built on a foundation of diversity and inclusion, and we remain committed to empowering the next generation of girls who will emerge as leaders who value empathy, equality and respect,” Parks stressed. “We’re proud of our reputation for having a wide range of inclusive and diverse dolls, accessories and content and we’re excited about our upcoming plans that will allow for even more girls to see themselves reflected in our products.”
One Million Moms is not the only organization that has voiced its opposition to the storyline.
Kimberly Fletcher, president and founder of Moms for America, argues that American Girl is “destroying yet another valuable support for mothers raising children.”
“My daughter grew up with American Girl dolls. She not only had the Josefina doll, she watched all the movies, read all the books and learned the stories of America's history and heritage while developing strong moral values,” Fletcher said in a statement shared with Charisma News. “It is heartbreaking to learn that such a trusted and cherished franchise has given in to feminist lies and deception, destroying yet another valuable support for mothers raising children.”