American Girl Announces Sewn-In Underwear For Dolls And Some Parents Are Not Happy

by Maria Guido
Originally Published: 
Image via Facebook/ American Girl

Some American Girl dolls will soon come with sewn-in underwear

Some American Girl dolls will soon look a little different. American Girl recently posted a Facebook message to their fans about a change “which will eventually affect all of our Truly Me dolls; the BeForever characters Julie, Melody, and Maryellen; and some of our contemporary dolls to come.” The change? The underwear is now sewn on to the cloth body, instead of being removable like it always has been.

The first image is of the old, removable underwear design. The second, the new sewn-in design, and the image on the right is the new underwear design under an AG swimsuit.

The reaction to the new design? Let’s just say a lot of customers were not happy.

The company had to issue a statement responding to some of their customer’s concerns and explaining their decision.

Fans (or we should say, parents of fans) flocked to the Facebook page to complain about the new design.

“Having permanent underwear is an underhanded way of telling young girls to be ashamed of their bodies. Why ruin a good thing?” (The company insists the decision had nothing to do with “modesty” — so we can all breathe a sigh of relief. “No modesty or body issue had any influence on decisions regarding the new style underwear,” the company responded.)

“You can’t even imagine what a cheerleader I am for your brand to all of my friends an family. However this is not a change we are willing to accept. We WILL NOT purchase any dolls with permanent underwear.”

“Awful idea. I am an adult collector, a rewards member, who also buys for my daughter, and I will NOT be purchasing any dolls where the underwear is “part of the overall cloth body made with a cotton/polyester blend.” It sends a TERRIBLE message to my daughter, cheapens the brand, and limits play (underwear and a bathing suit???) Please listen to your ACTUAL customers and put this idea where it belongs, in the garbage.”

A lot of moms have their panties in a wad (sorry, couldn’t resist.) Who knew people were so attached to their American Girl undies?

Not all fans were upset, though.

“As a parent of a special needs child, who has difficulties putting the clothes on and off her doll, I truly appreciate this! One less difficult thing for her to do and one more thing she can do independently and feel like everyone else!! Thank you, AG!”

“I just wanted to say that I have been collecting for almost 15 years, and I will always love AG no matter what your dolls’ underwear looks like. I will happily keep making purchases from you guys!”

We reached out to American Girl to get some explanation for their decision.

Why did the company decide on this change?

The decision to make this change was made for several reasons, including our ability to continue producing a quality product without the price of our dolls going up. And because we learned from our consumer research that the new underwear design will make play easier for some children and will ensure the underwear cannot be lost, we hoped it was an overall benefit for most. Having observed for decades how girls play with our dolls, outfits, and accessories, we believe the change will not limit how a young girl imagines or interacts with her doll.

What is your response to the concern that the decision may affect how girls feel about their naked bodies?

This was never our intention and it’s a concern we take very seriously. American Girl prides itself on building girls’ self-esteem and self-confidence, and encouraging a healthy, positive body image. For 30 years, we’ve been championing girls and girlhood, and we know we have had a lasting impact on millions of young lives. Our goal to build girls up and help them reach their full potential is something we will always support and encourage.

What is the material? Is it plastic? Is it sewn in fabric? If it’s fabric, how can customers keep the doll clean?

The new underwear is part of the doll’s cloth body. There is no additional fabric, except for the satin band at the waist line. All of our doll clothes and swimwear will fit the same as they always have over the new underwear design. The material of the entire cloth body, including the underwear, is a durable cotton/polyester blend, which can be spot cleaned as necessary with a damp cloth and mild detergent.

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