American Girl reveals first ever 'Girl of the Year' doll of Chinese descent
American Girl has revealed its first ever “Girl of the Year” of Chinese descent as advocates call for more steps to combat challenges some children face amid an increase in anti-Asian hate incidents that have occurred during the COVID-19 pandemic.
More than 10,300 hate incidents against Asian Americans have been reported between March 19, 2020 and September 30, 2021, according to Stop AAPI Hate, a coalition that tracks the incidents.
The Mattel-owned company announced last week that its 2022 doll is named Corinne Tan, who is an avid skier from Colorado who is adjusting to changes after her parent's divorce.
She's proud of her heritage and is trying to find "courage to speak up when faced with xenophobic comments," like being told she has "Kung flu," a racist reference to COVID-19, according to a statement from the company.
Her backstory, like many "Girl of the Year" dolls, is timely: Reports of racist remarks and deadly violence against Asian and Asian Americans increased dramatically as the coronavirus began spreading across the nation in March 2020 and some people, including former President Donald Trump, blamed China for the pandemic.
Development of the doll's backstory started in early 2020, but as the pandemic began to spread the company decided to address what girls like Corinne might experience, including the rise in anti-Asian sentiment, by working with experts and advisers who weighed in on the authenticity and accuracy of key products, the company said in a statement to USA TODAY.
Author Wendy Wan-Long Shang was among those who helped craft the character.
作家Wendy Wan-Long Shang参与了科琳的角色创作。
“What I really hope is 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," Shang said in a statement. "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!”
Toymakers, including Mattel, have been working to create more inclusive products in recent years. In 2020, American Girl's "Girl of the Year" was Joss Kendrick, a 10-year-old surfer and competitive cheerleader who uses a hearing aid, the company's first-ever doll with a disability.