To the untrained eye, the newest American Girl doll – 10 year-old Kira Bailey – wouldn’t stand out from any of the other dolls in the series. She has long hair, dresses in style, and features intriguing accessories. However, Kira is unlike any of those before her in a very specific way – and it involves sexuality.
Released by Mattel in December, Kira’s backstory includes LGBT family – a first for any American Girl doll. According to her storyline, which is reportedly dividing the brand’s seemingly “semi” loyal customer base, the 2021 American Girl “Girl of the Year” has two great aunts, Mamie and Lynette, who are a married lesbian couple – as depicted by a wedding photo of the two women in Kira’s accompanying book, ‘Kira Down Under.’ In the book, Kira visits her great aunts in Australia, where same-sex marriage was legalized in 2017. The reader then learns of Kira’s passion for animal care as her great aunts run an animal sanctuary.
Readers are unsurprisingly divided in their views of the newest American Girl storyline, but as the targeted reading age is 8-10 years old, the brand stands behind its decision. “From the beginning, our ‘Girl of the Year’ characters have been designed to reflect girls’ lives today and the realities of the times,” Julie Parks, an American Girl spokesperson, told Yahoo Life. “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.”