CHICAGO (RNS) – This holiday season, American Girl characters Samantha, Addy and Josefina can celebrate the Christian holiday of Christmas, the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah or Diwali, the festival of lights observed by Hindus, Jains, Buddhists and Sikhs.
Next year, they will also be ready for the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Fitr.
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The Religious Holidays are part of a capsule collection of doll clothing and accessories for six cultural celebrations and were released last week by American Girl, the popular line of dolls and books telling the stories of American girls across the country. history to the present day.
“American Girl was built on a foundation of diverse and inclusive stories and products that have inspired and empowered an entire generation of girls,” according to a statement from American Girl, which is owned by Mattel.
“The brand is committed to accelerating its progress in this important area to better reflect what it means to be an American girl today. The new Cultural Celebration collection is just one example of how we do this.
In addition to the four religious holidays, the Cultural Celebration Collection also includes doll outfits and accessories for Kwanzaa and the Lunar New Year.
All six outfits were created with input from several advisors inside and outside the company to ensure their authenticity, according to American Girl.
They are now available at American Girl stores across the country or in the Celebration store on the company’s website, and each comes with a booklet sharing information about the meaning and importance of the holiday.
The outfit for Eid al-Fitr – the Muslim holiday marking the end of Ramadan, a holy month of prayer and fasting – includes a turquoise long-sleeved abaya, a pink hijab decorated with rhinestones, leggings, sandals and Beaded bracelets that will fit any of American Girl’s 18 inch dolls.
In the week since its release, the outfit received 43 reviews on the American Girl website, all of which were five stars.
“This is a big step for American Girl – we hope to one day see an American Muslim doll with her own story in the lineup!” Reads a review.
“If only American Girl had this when I was growing up!” Thank you for helping young American Muslim girls to feel recognized and for encouraging them to embrace all parts of their identity, ”reads another.
The Cultural Celebration collection comes after a number of petitions in recent years asking American Girl to create a doll depicting an American Muslim girl.
Chicago-based activist Yasmina Blackburn, who advised designers on the creation of her Eid al-Fitr outfit, confirmed American Girl to Religion News Service among those who contacted the company to demand Muslim representation.
Blackburn first wrote a letter to the company’s president in 2009, hoping for a doll that looked and celebrated the holidays like his daughter, who was 8 at the time. She contacted again in 2020 and received a positive response, according to the Chicago branch of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.
“I am excited to be working with American Girl to make their products more inclusive, especially in celebrating Muslim holidays and traditions,” Blackburn said in a written statement via CAIR-Chicago.
“I worked closely with the designers to make sure the first outfit was typical of an American Muslim girl and didn’t feed into Eastern stereotypes. I am very happy with the results and the future Muslim articles of the AG range. It is important that children feel that their holidays are recognized at school and in the public sphere as well as on the toy shelves.
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