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American Girl stands behind ‘Body Image’ book after backlash from critics over gender identity content

American Girl dolls are seen on display
Diane Bondareff/AP Images for Mattel
American Girl dolls are seen on display at the New York Toy Fair.

The company American Girl is standing behind its recent “Body Image” book following backlash it has received from critics for mentioning gender identity. 

Julie Parks, a spokesperson for the company, told USA Today that no other American Girl book has ever received similar criticism. She said “Body Image” is the first American Girl book to address gender identity and expression. 

“Our Smart Girls Guides are known for supporting young people and their families through a variety of complex adolescent topics,” Parks said. 

As of Dec. 9, the book had received more than 200 negative reviews on American Girl’s website, many of which refer to the book addressing gender identity. 

“When did American Girl decide to force its worldview on readers of every belief system?” one reviewer asked. 

Apart from the ratings giving the book the lowest score of one star, the reviews have been overwhelmingly positive, with 55 reviewers giving it five stars. Two people gave it three stars, and one person gave it two stars. 

The description of the book on the website states it will provide girls everything they need to “know about loving her unique self, staying confident through her body‘s many changes, and appreciating her body for the life it lets her live.”  

“Full of activities, tips, crafts, and real-girl stories, this book is a feel-good reminder that all bodies are worthy of love and respect,” it states. 

The book is 96 pages long, but the company said the negative reviewers and conservative media especially highlighted two pages. A sentence of one page directs children to resources if they do not have an adult who will support them, according to USA Today. 

The company said medical experts were consulted for the book to have accurate information. 

“The content in this book was developed in partnership with medical and adolescent care professionals and consistently emphasizes the importance of having conversations and discussing any feelings with parents or trusted adults,” the company said.

Tags American Girl body image conservative backlash gender expression gender identity
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