American Girl Dolls hit the scene well after my childhood made them appealing, so no, I didn’t want an American Girl Doll. But, also, let’s be frank I wanted an American Girl Doll—and nearly every girl, stretching from the start of industrial civilization well into the post-apocalyptic foreseeable future, wants an American Girl Doll. Every generation has or will have their equivalent of the American Girl Doll.
Because, of course, it’s not just a doll. It’s race, money, and class and the blinding whiteness of beauty standards. Not sure how that could be? Ashley Miranda’s prose poem elucidates exactly how a toy is a tool of disenfranchisement. How the toy industry is a statement on a young woman of color’s place in the world. Miranda’s poem is as cutting in its critique of the American Doll empire, as it is with the revealing moment of heartache of childhood wanting. The rational, angry adult me is right there with Miranda’s indictment, just as the young, poor girl in me is right there with Miranda, my Cabbage Patch doll just a fervent childhood dream of I want I want I want.