A Strange Message to Send

October 2, 2009 by admncc

It isn’t too often that I will go on a rant about a specific product.  But in this case, I’ll make an exception.

First, let me ask you a question.  How much would you pay for a doll?  And we’re talking about a nicer doll, maybe for your daughter, wife, grandmother or another collector in your family?

I was watching “Fox & friends” last week and they mentioned this story.  And my wife said that my eyeballs nearly popped out of my head as I sat there.

The American Girl company, which sells an expensive brand of dolls, has made headlines for their newest creation – a Homeless doll.  That’s right; Gwen Thompson (the doll’s name) is homeless.  According to a recent New Your Post article, she joins the family of an African-American doll, an American Indian doll, a Jewish doll, a doll who “lived” during the Great Depression and one from the Roaring ’20s.

As I started to research these dolls, I learned that history books come with each one.  In this case, Gwen’s father walked out on her family and her mother was unemployed.  Are you kidding me?  It’s a freaking baby doll!  Here’s one way that I look at it – I think it is important for my daughter to understand how the world works, but not through a doll’s life story.

A follow-up article by The Huffington Post mentioned CBS’ interesting approach.  They actually sent a correspondent out to a homeless shelter in Los Angeles to get a reaction to the homeless doll.  My guess is that you won’t be surprised as to what people said – the doll is in poor taste.

OK, now brace yourself…  The Homeless doll costs $95.

I am not a collector, nor would this doll interest anyone in my family.  And I realize that this discussion could go a lot of different directions.  But I agree that the doll is in poor taste.  Rather than working on a meaningful project to help those (especially children) who are homeless, I think someone over at American Doll needs to think about what type of message they are trying to send here.


Picture Courtesy of the New York Post (NYPost.com) along with their disclaimer: “Gwen (Thompson) doll, American Girl from Mattel.  Product image grab from http://store.americangirl.com

All Posts / Business / Entertainment / Family/Lifestyle / General Moaning / Retail American Girl / Baby Dolls / Dolls / Fox & friends / Fox News / Gwen Thompson / Homeless Doll / Mattell / Retail / Retail Pricing / Retail Shopping / The Huffington Post / The New York Post /


  1. Jen says:

    Okay, why would any child need to know the history of a poor homeless baby mama who had a daughter named Gwen? No. Seriously. If I had a daughter, this is exactly the kind of “history” I’d want her to spend her childhood NOT learning about.

    Ok, so let’s say there is a child in this situation who feels a kinship with this particular doll who echos her life story…She sure as hell doesn’t have 95 extra bucks to spring for this doll!

    Someone should throttle the head of marketing and product development for American Girl.

  2. otin says:

    That is about the dumbest thing……….

  3. Jane says:

    Jen, OMG, I am laughing out loud. Great comment. This doll is ridiculous.

  4. It’s incredibly idiotic. The only saving grace would be if they donated ALL of the proceeds to the homeless and you know that’s not going to happen.

  5. Fabulous says:

    Wow. No freaking way. I don’t know whats worse, this doll or the Spanish Breast Feeding Doll. I think that marketers are just out of ways to be creative and are now going to the extremes. Next they’ll be selling pregnant baby dolls….

    Digusting. I agree with Jen above. This is NOT the type of thing I’d want my young child to hear about, especially from a doll. They should learn how the world works the older they get and from their parents!

  6. Tristan says:

    Not sure who would want this, much less spend $95 on it, but I have to say she is well groomed in spite of her plight. Her hair looks quite healthy.

  7. NeoConDon says:

    …Dude…we are getting ready to spend several years in an economic and political situation worse that the Great Depression of FDR, and you’re writing about a stupid doll…??? Get with the program man!

  8. Mike N says:

    NeoConDon is right. We should be spending our time getting our conceal and carry permit so that we can shoot all the real homeless people who spook us on the streets of Cleveland asking for change.

    STFU Don, we’re not talking about politics nor FDR’s miraculous leadership out of the great depression. We’re talking about a doll. One that is in poor taste. While I do agree that this doll is in poor taste, I also think that most dolls are in poor taste. Look at Barbie, that brand of doll is sending a poor message to kids too. A message that everyone looks like super models. Or for instance, the dolls that wet themselves… These dolls are basically teaching our children maternal instincts that they really shouldn’t learn till they’re older. It’s sending out the message of getting pregnant at all too young an age.

    OR MAYBE THAT’S ALL JUST BS! It’s a freaking doll. I personally had a “My Pet Monster” and a “My Little Buddy” doll. That didn’t effect me in a negative way as I’m sure the homeless doll won’t effect any little girl in a negative way. It’s a stupid idea, yes, but I don’t think it’s that big of a deal. I’d be much more concerned with “Little Miss Burn victim” Doll or “Suzie Bubonic Plague” doll.

  9. Dan says:

    I agree with Otin. And I’m not surprised that Don related the doll to a recession. Mike N., great points. I had a Cabbage Patch back in the day. I think everyone I know had one. But this line of dolls is over the top.

  10. Dan says:

    Repeat after me. Boycott American Girl dolls.

  11. Marissa says:

    What’s next – Crack Baby Doll??

  12. Mike N, the girls get a “history” book that comes with the doll. It’s not just a random name they chose for her, Homeless Gwen, it’s the whole story behind it that they read about. I’m pretty sure that there wasn’t a “My little buddy” book that talked about the poor kid getting molested as a kid or his dad walking out leaving him to live in a car. It’s the whole package that the kids are exposed to. It’s just poor judgement.

    Reforming Geek, I actually thought at first it was called homeless doll because the proceeds went to aid the homeless…nope. But, THAT would have been a great idea. Hello, American Girl? Are you listening to how you could turn this around?

  13. c.princess says:

    And here I thought the Mattel company had problems with their newest Barbie doll.
    The more this doll gets hyped up the more doll collectors will scramble to get their hands on them.

  14. NeoConDon says:

    I’m still trying to figure out what Libby meant by “miraculous leadership out of the Great Depression.” What are they teaching our young people?

  15. Sugar says:

    I just think it’s in poor tast to have a labeled ‘Homeless Doll’.

    They could have had the ‘The Little Match Girl’ instead.

  16. NeoConDon says:

    Did anyone realize that the CC got this story from Faux News…??? Everyone knows Fox is a bunch of liars anyway. I doubt this doll even exists. It’s just a bunch of lies that the lying liars at Fox made up so they could get Glenn Beck to show us his crybaby tears.

  17. I wonder if it would be less tasteless if the company gave the profits to a homeless organization? It still seems inappropriate….

  18. I read a commentary piece about this doll. Perhaps, they should have thought about giving a portion of the proceeds from this doll to a homeless organization. It smacks of gross commercialism. I guess the makers missed the political correctness memo.

  19. Just, WOW is all I can say!! And what, exactly, was the purpose of Fox and Friends reporting it, to say how absurd it is I hope!

  20. Extreme John says:

    You know…. I have read something like 125 articles today and this one BY FAR is the craziest one I have seen all day, what the hell were they thinking or smoking when they came up with this one.

  21. Extreme John says:

    On a side note I really wish you had a retweet plugin like Twittley or something, would make the retweet I am about to do much easier 😉

  22. Wow! I am truly shocked & a bit disgusted by this new doll. And I am a collector—as are most of my nieces in my family. I was given Samantha (turn of century doll…) gosh, like 15+ years ago. And my friends had Molly (1940s) and Kirsten (pioneer). The stories were touching and meaningful. And shed light on how kids lived back then. It was really pretty cool. The prices have gone up significantly over the years but they always were high end.

    This is just distasteful. I agree that the money should be spent actually doing something about the problem. Or if the doll really needed to be made, at least make the proceeds go to charity.

    The clothing for the dolls has always represented the era & social status—and usually right on the mark for the time (i.e. Kirstin the pioneer’s outfits were more subdued than Samantha’s aristocrat/victorian look)….but this doll does not look anything like the homeless guy I gave money to this morning on the street corner, that’s for sure.

    ps—thanks ExtremeJohn for posting it to facebook so i could read it!

  23. TallElf says:

    This is just insane. I don’t know any other way to say it than WTF. As I thought about it more, if the proceeds went to a homeless shelter, that is fine, but I think that there is a lot to be said for tact, and this doll has none.

    BTW, CC do some follow up if you can on the sales that this particular doll has, I am sure that it will not be the next Tickle Me Elmo!. At least it might have a better story than all the BRATZ dolls though.

  24. Zig says:

    NCD, what happened to your “several years in an economic and political situation worse that the Great Depression of FDR?” Given the current GDP, the current housing market and the current…we are now out of the great recession, IDIOT! You and people like you are all crying wolf to try to mangle Obama’s reputation. He is a Noble prize winner. Why does the rest of the world recognize his greatness, but NCD and people like NCD only try to ruin his man. I feel it is because they don’t want to admit that liberal politics bring PEACE, while conservative politics bring WAR! Do you think you know more about the world, as you sit unemployed in Parma, Ohio than the commitee that awarded our President the Noble Peace Prize?

  25. NeoConDon says:

    …ummmmm…Zig…were are on the brink of the third major depression our nation has ever faced…I’m not sure where you see recovery, but you should seriously lay off the drugs and alcohol…there isn’t a recovery, it’s going to get much much worse…I’m prepared, are you?

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