Event Title

Someone like You; Someone like Me: Race, Body Image, and Accessibility in American Girl Dolls

Location

Davis 217

Start Date

30-4-2015 2:45 PM

End Date

30-4-2015 3:55 PM

Project Type

Presentation

Description

When discussing the significant influence dolls bear on the way young girls grow to understand their bodies, their identities, and their place in a larger social structure, Barbie dominates dozens of studies. Though equally popular, the American Girl brand falls on the margins of discussion. Presumably, American Girl achieves what Barbie does not: the presentation of non-sexualized female bodies, as well as racial diversity in an industry which provides limited choices to girls who look to dolls as a conduit for their creativity and imagination. This study explores the important connections between race, body image, and accessibility in American Girl dolls as a method of discerning whether or not the brand is truly as progressive as it seems. In order to do so, content analysis, close visual culture analysis of American Girl dolls, products, and marketing, and interviews conducted among Colby students are highly emphasized within the context of the importance of consumer awareness. The study will conclude that despite providing an alternative, healthier option for girls in the toy market, American Girl is still a limited, problematic, and largely inaccessible brand.

Faculty Sponsor

Laine Thielstrom

CLAS Field of Study

Natural Sciences

Event Website

http://www.colby.edu/clas

ID

1393

Share

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Apr 30th, 2:45 PM Apr 30th, 3:55 PM

Someone like You; Someone like Me: Race, Body Image, and Accessibility in American Girl Dolls

Davis 217

When discussing the significant influence dolls bear on the way young girls grow to understand their bodies, their identities, and their place in a larger social structure, Barbie dominates dozens of studies. Though equally popular, the American Girl brand falls on the margins of discussion. Presumably, American Girl achieves what Barbie does not: the presentation of non-sexualized female bodies, as well as racial diversity in an industry which provides limited choices to girls who look to dolls as a conduit for their creativity and imagination. This study explores the important connections between race, body image, and accessibility in American Girl dolls as a method of discerning whether or not the brand is truly as progressive as it seems. In order to do so, content analysis, close visual culture analysis of American Girl dolls, products, and marketing, and interviews conducted among Colby students are highly emphasized within the context of the importance of consumer awareness. The study will conclude that despite providing an alternative, healthier option for girls in the toy market, American Girl is still a limited, problematic, and largely inaccessible brand.

http://digitalcommons.colby.edu/clas/2015/program/406