opinion | For American Girls, Many Meanings

to the Editor:

“What It Means to Raise an American Girl Now” by Jessica Gros (Rae, July 15):

As a kind-hearted grandmother who happens to be a second-wave feminist, I took my two granddaughters to the American Girl store on Fifth Avenue.

As suggested by the art accompanying the essay, I saw no dolls modeled on Rosie the River, but an exhibition of consumerism that once defined women in pre-feminist America and, above all, little girls shopping. Ready to spend my life doing, having lunch and getting my hair cut.

The store offered books on historical subjects, kept in a corner downstairs, but the action was upstairs, where dozens of expensive, flashy clothes for dolls were offered, which now cost more than $100. Children’s matching outfits were sold.

We had reservations for a pricey lunch or tea in the dining room, which included moms, grandmothers, girls and their dolls; The food was negligible, but the setting of the place was adorable.

Although dolls are now available in many skin tones, all I saw were clearly privileged, white and upper middle class. A trip to the store can easily cost several hundred dollars or more. The message was that women should spend their time shopping, eating lunch and fixing their hair while men (with no one in sight) run the world.

At this time, when Rowe vs. Wade has been reversed, we need to encourage girls to fight for their autonomy so that they can help save our planet and our fading democracy, and ensure that the truth And uphold the values ​​of justice. Shopping can wait.

ann shapiro
New York

to the Editor:

Mattel named its 2020 American Girl Doll of the Year Joss Kendrick, and it embodies the “can-do” attitude that Jessica Grosse quoted in her opinion piece. Ten-year-old Jose, who is completely deaf in one ear and a hearing aid in the other, is a surfer and a cheerleader.

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Joss can be an important role model for children with disabilities, as well as an example to help children with disabilities learn to accept and befriend children with different strengths.

john taylor
New York
The author is vice president of the New York City chapter of the Hearing Loss Association of America.

to the Editor:

When I was growing up in the 1950s, the “American Girl” doll was a Toni doll, inspired by the Toni permanent wave products of the time. My Tony doll had brown hair and an elaborate wardrobe of elegant clothes.

When my friends and I played at home, she would always cook in the kitchen, like Harriet Nelson in the television sitcom “The Adventures of Ozzy and Harriet,” or she would go shopping or clean up the mess in the living room. .

My Tony Doll was also feminine in the older sense, and unlike some films that later came to be about the harsh conditions of the time, she enjoyed being a girl. Of course, I’m proud of the progress women have made since then, but I don’t regret coming of age as an American girl in her 50s.

mm pocross
Well, Colo.

If he cannot or cannot be charged with that crime, then we have a king, not a president.

orrin hollander
Jamison, PA

to the Editor:

Americans love sports for a reason. In sports, the fittest, most disciplined people of the country give their all to win. However, what they almost never do is violate the rules and norms that make the continuation of the game possible.

When Tom Brady was accused of disregarding football to take advantage, the reaction was furious because every sports fan understands the importance of rules and norms, adding to the difficulties we have in measuring a player’s skill. No one cares more about winning than the athletes. They devote their lives to training and studying, but when they lose, they keep their heads up, study, train hard and return to play again.

In politics, clearly winning means even more, including overthrowing rules and norms. If the public thought the referees were corrupt, they would stop attending athletic events. Although in politics, All Players are bought in part by the need to win money to support their campaigns, and money distorts the playing field.

Violating the rules and norms of Trumpism is endangering our country and culture. Without respect for both, we are on the verge of ending the game we call America.

peter coyote
Sebastopol, Calif.
The writer is an actor.

Given President Biden’s age of 79, there is no point in considering running again. I believe there is still enough time to engage Vice President Harris in a number of important issues and prevent him from being used as a political pawn. I hope that sensible changes will come from the White House.

Mary Helen Sandoval
Denver

to the Editor:

Kamala Harris may be a symptom of what is wrong with the Democratic leadership in general.

President Biden shows no interest in training him to be ready for the presidency if he is disqualified for any reason. But could it be because he hopes to run again and doesn’t want to boost his credentials simply to challenge him as the Democratic nominee?

Many of our Democratic leaders are older – Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer, Joe Biden – and very few of these leaders are ready to step into leadership positions for the next, younger generation.

As head of an organization myself, I understand how important it is to mentor young colleagues in my place. Why can’t these Democrats do this?

James Berkman
Boston

to the Editor:

Re: “Irish Eyes Aren’t Smiling at Us” (column, 17 July):

The only thing to add to Maureen Dowd’s brilliant assessment of a woman’s right to terminate a pregnancy is the advice of British-Irish writer and comedian Spike Milligan: “Contraception should be used at every conceivable occasion.”

Robert F. lyons
Kennebunk, Maine