As Americans look for that perfect gift, parents must be aware that some U.S. companies are teaching young girls to hate their bodies.
Girls have struggled with body image from the beginning of time — they think they are too fat, too skinny, have freckles or acne, have curly or unruly hair — you name it, girls deal with it. Companies targeted to children are now telling them that they could be in the wrong body, that they can take drugs to slow puberty and hormones to look more like the opposite sex, and even mutilate their bodies with surgery.
American Girl is the latest to give girls this deceptive and destructive message. Mattel’s doll company, which millions of children love, was once a brand that could be trusted due to its wholesome and positive messaging, inspiring girls to be the best versions of themselves.
Yet the doll company just released a book titled “A Smart Girl’s Guide: Body Image,” that proselytizes how girls can change “genders” if they feel uncomfortable in their own skin. Every girl feels uncomfortable in their own skin at some phase in life.
According to American Girl, the book’s purpose is to teach girls “how to love [themselves], live life to the fullest, and celebrate all types of bodies,” yet the words and images printed across the pages seem to do quite the opposite. Instead, they promote the harmful lie that in order for a young girl to feel confident, she should consider manipulating her body to look and feel more like a boy.
“Parts of your body may make you feel uncomfortable, and you may want to change the way you look,” the book reads. “That’s totally OK!”
But the prescriptions they are promoting are not OK. They ignore the underlying mental health conditions, including depression, anxiety and social media influence facing girls today.
The guide, written by American Girl content developer Mel Hammond, advises its young audience to ask their doctor about slowing their body’s changes down with puberty blockers and hormone therapies in the most important phase of a girl’s growth and maturation.
The approach promoted in this book is being peddled in stark and insidious ways by medical and retail corporations captured by a lucrative market of “gender-affirming” products and services designed to repress natural maturation and remake girls’ bodies into an image that rejects rather than accepts the reality of being female. These organizations push cross-sex hormones, chest binders and body-altering surgery, including double mastectomies, that are far more damaging than a phase of feeling uncomfortable.
Detrans United is a new group founded by young women who were caught in the web of lies being peddled in American Girl’s new book. These brave women are speaking up, telling the truth, and are the voices our daughters need to heed.
American Girl can try to make puberty blockers sound playful and harmless all it wants. Still, these come with a multitude of health risks — they arrest normal bone growth, decrease bone density, and disrupt development in the brain, which reduces IQ. These powerful drugs have never been approved by the Food and Drug Administration. They also carry warnings of vision loss and increased suicidal thoughts.
Taking high doses of opposite-sex hormones such as testosterone can also be carcinogenic, increasing the rates of ovarian cancer in females and causing permanent sterilization. Does that sound healthy?
There was a time when parents could feel confident that doll companies were pushing a positive and safe message of confidence to their daughters. No longer. Now it is crucial that parents conduct ample research before opening their children up to a gateway of messages that counter natural law and the fact we are created in the image and likeness of God. The biological sex of our bodies is no accident. Children are not born in the wrong body.
The female body is beautiful, and there is nothing to be ashamed of if you are born a girl, period.
One of our Young Women for America leaders shared her story as a favorite childhood memory when she won the American Girl Doll Molly McIntire in a sweepstakes at a toy store. A character from American Girl’s historical collection, Molly’s story of keeping a strong, patriotic spirit while growing up on the homefront during World War II was an inspiration to girls everywhere. She had another doll that was customized to look like her to reflect her beauty and dignity as a girl.
American Girl has taught millions of girls to be confident in who they are, to stand up for themselves, to serve others, and be the unique individual God has created each of us to be. My heart breaks for young girls who are not hearing that message.
Instead of messages centered on self-loathing, masked in “self-loving” terminology, girls need to be taught that God does not make mistakes and that they are “fearfully and wonderfully made.”
No concerned parent should buy this book, much less buy into its claims.
• Penny Nance is CEO and president of Concerned Women for America, the nation’s largest public policy women’s organization.