MIDDLETON, Wisc. – Hoping to offer a doll that will appeal to both girls and boys, American Girl has unveiled their first ever full-size male doll, which has lead to criticism from a North Carolina pastor who believes the move will blur gender lines and confuse young children about whether it is acceptable for boys to play with dolls like girls do.
For over 30 years, American Girl dolls, along with their accompanying books and accessories, have been popular toys for children in the U.S. The original dolls featured storylines and outfits of young girls from different periods of American history, but since 1995 the company has sold doll characters in various modern settings.
On Tuesday, in an effort to continue modernizing their line of dolls, American Girl announced the creation of its first-ever full-sized male character doll.
“A boy character has been a top request from our fans for decades,” said American Girl spokeswoman Stephanie Spanos in a statement.
The doll, whose name is Logan Everett, is advertised on the American Girl website as a bandmate and drummer to a female doll character named Tenney.
“Meet Logan, Tenney’s bandmate and drummer!” the company’s online description of the new doll states. “The 18” Logan doll has gray eyes that open and close, and short brown hair. Logan’s unique hand positioning helps him hold instruments! He arrives in a plaid button-down shirt, a T-shirt, jeans, underwear and shoes.”
The company hopes the new male doll will be of interest not only to girls, but to boys as well.
“We’re hopeful Logan will appeal to both girls and boys,” Spanos said. “For boys, we know Logan can speak directly to them and give them something unique and special to call their own.”
However, the unveiling of the new Logan Everett doll has left one pastor wondering why American Girl—whose mission is “celebrating girls and all that they can be”—is now also marketing dolls to boys.
Keith Ogden, pastor of Hill Street Baptist Church in Asheville, North Carolina, fears the new male doll will blur gender lines and confuse impressionable children as to whether it is the norm for boys play with dolls just like girls.
“This is nothing more than a trick of the enemy to emasculate little boys and confuse their role to become men,” he said in a statement.
“There are those in this world who want to alter God’s creation of the male and female,” Ogden continued. “The devil wants to kill, steal and destroy the minds of our children and grandchildren by perverting, distorting and twisting [the] truth of who God created them to be.”
He told the Asheville Citizen-Times that he believes the new American Girl doll is a reflection of society’s gender confusion and lack of morals.
“Now you are going to have little boys playing with baby dolls and that’s not cool,” Ogden said. “We need to get back to our old values and morals.”
He opined that churches need to be assisting youth during a time when gender identity has become a national issue, including in regard to youth activities. Ogden noted that the Boy Scouts of America recently announced that it will allow girls who identify as boys to serve as Boy Scouts.
“It just doesn’t make sense,” he remarked. “It’s not natural for a boy to act like a girl. It’s not natural for a girl to want to be a boy. … You’ve got the government and people who placate this mess instead of telling little boys they can’t change their biology.”
The Young Women’s Christian Association of Asheville (YWCA), however, said that it sees no issue with the doll.
“At the YWCA, we encourage play that helps all children explore what it means to be human and to accept each other’s differences,” CEO Beth Maczka told the Citizen-Times. “We are happy to see dolls that celebrate diversity and represent different races, abilities, body types and genders.”