American Girl’s ‘Girl of the Year’ for 2022 Is a Chinese American Doll
American Girl has unveiled its 2022 Girl of the Year, and, for the first time, she’s a Chinese American doll.
Named Corinne Tan, the 18-inch doll comes equipped with a ski-ready outfit and an endearing backstory involving “growing up with her Chinese American family in Aspen, Colorado.” In a press release announcing her arrival, the American Girl brand says that “Corinne must find her balance as she adjusts to her new blended family and the courage to speak up when faced with xenophobic comments” and that via her stories, they hope “young readers learn that home means being surrounded by the people they love and to be proud of who they are, while advocating for positive change.”
The doll arrives in the wake of a rash of anti-Asian sentiments amid the coronavirus pandemic. As news reports swirled that COVID-19 was first discovered in Wuhan, China, many Asian people around the world fell victim to hate speech, physical attacks, and more.
In its release about the doll, American Girl emphasized that it gathered a team of “advisers” to properly support “Corinne’s development, offering real-world insights and weighing in on key products for authenticity and accuracy.” Writer Wendy Wan-Long Shang, along with freelance illustrator Peijin Yang, wrote two books about Corinne’s journey and said in a statement that she really hopes “that there is some part of Corinne’s story that makes readers feel seen, whether it’s because they are Asian American, or because they’re part of a blended family, or because they love skiing.”
“I think when readers feel seen, they realize that they matter and their experiences matter, and that they are meant to be the stars of their own stories!” she shared.
A spokesperson for American Girl echoed those statements to The New York Times on Monday, and emphasized that the Girl of the Year dolls are intended to respond to “the realities of the times — both good and bad.”
“We knew it was important for Corinne’s story to show the unfortunate rise in anti-Asian sentiment across the U.S. since the pandemic,” the spokeswoman said, adding that American Girl hopes to validate the experiences of those who have experienced racism and encourage children to become “antiracism allies.”