American Girl Just Outed One of Their Dolls?

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Speaker 1: We need an American girl who was poisoned by radium paint at her factory. Job painting, watch tiles.

Rachel Hampton, Rachel Hanson: Hi, I’m Rachel Hampton.

Maddison Malone, Madison Moon: And I’m Madison Moon Kircher. You’re listening to ICYMI.

Rachel Hampton, Rachel Hanson: In Case You Missed It.

Maddison Malone, Madison Moon: Slate’s podcast about Internet culture.

Rachel Hampton, Rachel Hanson: Have you been listening to Lizzo’s new song, Girls?

Maddison Malone, Madison Moon: Oh, with 6 hours, I don’t have to lie. Yes, because to have Tik Tok at this point is to listen to Lizzo’s new song. Girls.

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Rachel Hampton, Rachel Hanson: Have you counted the hours?

Maddison Malone, Madison Moon: Yep. There are three.

Rachel Hampton, Rachel Hanson: I believe I was going to believe you when you said six.

Maddison Malone, Madison Moon: Yeah, I think it’s three.

Rachel Hampton, Rachel Hanson: I just see hours and I’m like, okay, cool. That’s the right amount.

Maddison Malone, Madison Moon: Yes. I have been grooving to it, but it’s it’s been embroiled one hour in a little bit of drama.

Rachel Hampton, Rachel Hanson: Got a little imbroglio going on.

Maddison Malone, Madison Moon: All one hour.

Rachel Hampton, Rachel Hanson: It’s yeah, a really great song. But she found herself in some some hot water.

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Maddison Malone, Madison Moon: Some hot water.

Speaker 1: Spicy water.

Maddison Malone, Madison Moon: All right, Rachel, lay down for us. Break it down.

Rachel Hampton, Rachel Hanson: So after this song came out, a lot of people online were extremely quick to point out that the song uses an abusive slur, which we will not be saying on this show.

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Maddison Malone, Madison Moon: Can’t get us.

Rachel Hampton, Rachel Hanson: Know. Not today, say in. There were tweets, there were Tic Tacs, there were Instagram posts. And as we have said in the past, Lizzo is one of the most online celebrities of our era. Also importantly, extremely good at being online.

Maddison Malone, Madison Moon: Which is to say she definitely saw these things. This is in the case of a celebrity whose social media is totally run by a team. Mm hmm. Occasionally a camera gets held up to their face, and it’s like, say these things for us. That’s not Lizzo.

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Rachel Hampton, Rachel Hanson: There’s no plausible deniability that she has not seen any of this. The online disability community mobilized very quickly to let Lizzo know that the words she used in the song were not okay, which of course meant that she immediately doubled down. Record scratch. Not this time for once ever. In our show, I think we maybe have had one other celebrity who’s notes app apology we said was good. So second time Lizzo took the criticism and listened and learned.

Rachel Hampton, Rachel Hanson: Earlier this week, Lizzo wrote, It’s been brought to my attention that there’s a harmful word in my new song, Girls. Let me make one thing clear. I never wanted to promote derogatory language as a fat black woman in America, I’ve had many hurtful words used against me. So I understand the power words can have, whether intentionally or in my case, unintentionally. I’m proud to say there’s a new version of Girls with the Lyric Change. This is the result of me listening to and taking action. As an influential artist, I’m dedicated to being part of the change I’ve been wanting to see in the world. Xo.

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Maddison Malone, Madison Moon: Xo Lizzo works for me.

Rachel Hampton, Rachel Hanson: I honestly, I’m going to give this a nine out of ten simply because the word sorry does not appear anywhere in this apology, which, you know, you should say sorry at some point. However, she gets points for literally everything else.

Maddison Malone, Madison Moon: What is the new era?

Rachel Hampton, Rachel Hanson: The new lyric reads, Do you see this shit? Hold me back?

Maddison Malone, Madison Moon: I guess I’m surprised. Or maybe I’m not surprised. I’m disheartened that this is considered so impressive and novel. Making a good apology when you truly made a mistake in earnest shouldn’t be abnormal.

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Rachel Hampton, Rachel Hanson: It shouldn’t be. I mean, it’s normal to feel defensive when you’re called out, but I think when you’re a celebrity and you have a huge platform, then you have a responsibility to grow beyond that defensiveness and figure out what course of action you want to take. I’m not going to say that every single piece of criticism that Lizzo gets is something she needs to take in and address. But she clearly is good at distilling and discerning what criticism she actually wants to address.

Maddison Malone, Madison Moon: I just I think we’re coming away with this with a new a new motto.

Rachel Hampton, Rachel Hanson: WW LP Oh, what the Lord do.

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Maddison Malone, Madison Moon: Now what would Lizzo.

Rachel Hampton, Rachel Hanson: Do that’s honestly even more important?

Maddison Malone, Madison Moon: That is all the time we have today for the notes app, I will say is not all the time we have on the show for the Notes app because I simply cannot tell a lie. And it would be a lie to say We’ll never talk about the notes app again, but for today we are done. We are going back in time to a simpler time.

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Rachel Hampton, Rachel Hanson: Childhood gave me a juice pouch and a nap.

Maddison Malone, Madison Moon: We are still talking about girls, though, this one with an eye. More specifically, we’re talking about the lasting online legacy of a, I would say, a key feature in our childhoods. We’ve discovered the American Girl Dolls.

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Rachel Hampton, Rachel Hanson: If you listened to this show long enough, you know, me and Madison have had very different childhoods.

Maddison Malone, Madison Moon: I shared a pair of shoes with my brother, walking uphill both ways to school in the snow. Back in my day.

Rachel Hampton, Rachel Hanson: Back in my day on Tumblr while Madison was in the woods.

Maddison Malone, Madison Moon: So you might be asking yourself, what the hell does the Internet have to do with American girl dolls? And why are we to adult women about to very excitedly delve into this? These dolls are perhaps best known for their series of characters that lived in different historical periods, from the American Depression to the antebellum South, to that one who lived somewhere in Scandinavia.

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Rachel Hampton, Rachel Hanson: Who knows?

Maddison Malone, Madison Moon: I don’t really know her full story, but she was the blonde one, so I was vaguely familiar.

Rachel Hampton, Rachel Hanson: Yeah. Scandinavia tracks. But recently American Girl dolls have joined the absolute clusterfuck of nineties era cultural mainstays that are getting a modern reboot. Thankfully, there is no television show associated with this because I don’t even know what that would look like yet.

Maddison Malone, Madison Moon: Did you know there’s a pride angle here?

Rachel Hampton, Rachel Hanson: I did. I did this just for you.

Maddison Malone, Madison Moon: On June 1st, a.k.a. the first day of Pride Month, the official American Girl brand Instagram account wrote an announcement about the rerelease of the classic. Molly doll while supplies last Molly is the World War two era blue beret plaid top wearing doll to all the Molly girls in the world we see you and we celebrate you. A classic is back.

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Rachel Hampton, Rachel Hanson: Now to anybody a minute. This would raise exactly one question. Is Molly gay?

Maddison Malone, Madison Moon: Molly is a big old lesbian. It’s canon now. I don’t make the rules.

Rachel Hampton, Rachel Hanson: And that American girl just out her.

Maddison Malone, Madison Moon: You can guess exactly how this played out in particular communities on the Internet. But I will say, since that moment, we have seen a raft of memes about American girl dolls appear online. And I don’t know that the Molly outing incident of 2022 is precisely the origin point for these memes, because American Girl has had a long legacy on the internet has certainly been percolating for a while. But I’m gay rights. I’m going to go out and say it had something to do with it.

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Rachel Hampton, Rachel Hanson: The Molly Pride pose is a very important point in the Internet chronology of American girl memes, which.

Maddison Malone, Madison Moon: Actually have been popping up a lot on social media recently. We actually have a voice memo from new Slate intern Hannah Dr. Loeb all about this.

Speaker 4: I’ve been seeing a lot of these names on Tik Tok and Twitter that goes something along the lines of We need an American girl doll who insert any common, quirky, fun, modern moment. And I found them really interesting for a number of reasons. Number one being that there’s this idea that American girl dolls are supposed to represent us. And two found it interesting because there are full grown adults who are still obsessed with American girl dolls. Anyways, I feel like there’s something there and I’d be curious to hear you guys thoughts on it.

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Maddison Malone, Madison Moon: We definitely think there’s something there.

Rachel Hampton, Rachel Hanson: And today we’re going to talk all about those means, about that chronology, about whether or not Molly is gay. Yes. And answer the question of why some parts of the Internet are still obsessed with the American girl dolls, long past the age when we played with them.

Maddison Malone, Madison Moon: We will get into all of this deliciousness after the break.

Speaker 5: Woman. Oh, man. Okay. Well, my lady, that.

Maddison Malone, Madison Moon: And we’re back in the dollhouse.

Rachel Hampton, Rachel Hanson: So as we said before the break, the big news is Molly is gay.

Maddison Malone, Madison Moon: Look, I want this to be true, but is she, though? What did American Girl have to say about this?

Rachel Hampton, Rachel Hanson: Well, we don’t actually care what corporations have to say, but the comment from the official American girl doll brand given to every news outlet that asked and there were a lot because we’re all hungry, we’re starving. Fetus, American Girl International, Limited Corporation, whatever. Said, the new Molly collection releasing today is simply a line with when all of our new summer products are debuting. Nothing more. So what they’re saying is June 1st was not special. It just happened to be a day which.

Maddison Malone, Madison Moon: So Molly did not throw the first brick at Stonewall.

Rachel Hampton, Rachel Hanson: No, I don’t think that was ever up for contention. The company line to me makes it sound like, you know, she’s just an ally. But I don’t think that’s true. I don’t think that’s true. We might see Molly on a Pride float this year.

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Maddison Malone, Madison Moon: Probably as delightful as this bit has been that we’ve been playing out. It was not an entirely happy moment on the Internet because after the American Girl Doll Instagram account posts about Molly, the American Girl Instagram community, the girls are fighting.

Rachel Hampton, Rachel Hanson: I was going to say, you might say the girls are fighting, but before we get into the contemporary, I feel like we need to take a step back and not, you know, assume that everyone has the same American girl brain worms that we do. And let me just say, y’all are in for a treat. If you don’t know what American Girl dolls are, it’s a history.

Maddison Malone, Madison Moon: Lesson more than a history lesson. And that is actually, I think, where we should start. Right. That’s what’s so great about American Girl Dolls, or at least something I’ve always enjoyed about them is the historical care that was baked into them originally.

Rachel Hampton, Rachel Hanson: I don’t know if you know this at this point, Madison, but I’m a history nerd, so this was right up my alley as a young child.

Maddison Malone, Madison Moon: Jenna fooled me. All right. Give me the book report.

Rachel Hampton, Rachel Hanson: So the American Girl Doll line was created in 1986, which feels quite recent to me. For some reason, I felt like these are around forever.

Maddison Malone, Madison Moon: All right. Because Barbie was born in 1959, so.

Rachel Hampton, Rachel Hanson: I just can’t it’s so ubiquitous in such a short amount of time. But the creator was named Pleasant Rowland, which is the name of an American Girl doll, to be completely honest. So she’s a writer and educator and a major history buff, and she created this line of dolls, basically exploring a series of historical settings and creating these back stories where young girls could kind of explore what it would be like to be in these areas. So every single one of the original American Girl dolls have these historical fiction companion books about these characters that just elaborates on these backstories. This was extremely measured. This was so much my shit. I cannot explain to you how much this was my shit.

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Maddison Malone, Madison Moon: Yeah, it’s funny. I have a distinct memory of, like, eliding myself with that doll that looked most like me. Kiersten, the Scandinavian girly.

Rachel Hampton, Rachel Hanson: Exactly. That’s exactly how it always works. So, yes, as Madison mentioned, one of the dolls was Kerstin Larsen, who’s a Swedish immigrant who settled on the Minnesota Territory in 1854. There was Molly McIntyre, the girl who threw the first brick at Pride. Not really. She just was around during.

Maddison Malone, Madison Moon: Second World War.

Rachel Hampton, Rachel Hanson: Yes. And Samantha Parkinson, who’s an orphan, living with her grandmother in New York during the turn of the 20th century, which I always had a question about Samantha, which how are you really an orphan if you’re living with your grandmother? Like, I feel like orphans just don’t have any family.

Maddison Malone, Madison Moon: It’s a technicality. Look, the the boxcar children were orphans, too, and they all lived happily ever after with grandfather Alden.

Rachel Hampton, Rachel Hanson: So. So, my.

Speaker 1: Love, the boxcar.

Rachel Hampton, Rachel Hanson: Children who can’t get into that right now.

Maddison Malone, Madison Moon: So those were the original three dolls. And then they obviously have expanded the line since.

Rachel Hampton, Rachel Hanson: So the O.G. American Girl Dolls actually refer to six dolls because by 1997, they added three more characters. So the historical characters line up, including Felicity Merriman, who represented the pre-revolutionary war era. Josephine Montoya, who lived in 1824 in New Mexico, and my personal favorite, Addie Walker, who at the start of her story was enslaved with her family in North Carolina but later escapes to Philadelphia.

Maddison Malone, Madison Moon: So did you have an American girl doll?

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Rachel Hampton, Rachel Hanson: I had.

Maddison Malone, Madison Moon: Two. Okay. So I’m going to assume you had your personal the aforementioned personal fame. Who was your second?

Rachel Hampton, Rachel Hanson: It was one. So one of the most, I think, sacred parts of being an American girl. Girl was going to the American girl store, which there are multiple different stores, is one in New York. There’s one in Chicago, which is where I went. And you can get an American girl doll who looks like you. It’s your own personal American girl doll. So that was the one that I had, the original I had Addie, which my mother actually had gotten for her sister, and I was not really allowed to play with that one because it was actually like a historical. Like she had the original little like, pinstriped costume. So I grew up surrounded by American girls. My mother also loved American girls. Like, this was definitely a collaboration between the two of us.

Maddison Malone, Madison Moon: You had a partner in crime?

Rachel Hampton, Rachel Hanson: I did. I did. I did. I mean, she was like, who would.

Maddison Malone, Madison Moon: Who would fund this?

Rachel Hampton, Rachel Hanson: Cause I had no money. She was like, this bitches in history. Let me let me encourage this. So what about you?

Maddison Malone, Madison Moon: I am so I had an off brand American girl doll.

Rachel Hampton, Rachel Hanson: I got the Payless version.

Maddison Malone, Madison Moon: Not really. It was an equally nice but never got as big doll company called Magic Attic. And instead of historical lessons, the accompanying books were the set of friends, the dolls who would hang out in an attic, and when they put on dress up clothes, they would be transported in time and place. It was magic tree house, but with dress up clothes and ten year old girls.

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Rachel Hampton, Rachel Hanson: Wait, that sounds so far.

Maddison Malone, Madison Moon: Yeah, it was really fun. So I had Allison, who wore a lot of denim. This is my. My queer origin story. She was a camp counselor in one of her traveling spin offs.

Rachel Hampton, Rachel Hanson: A camp counselor.

Maddison Malone, Madison Moon: And like I said, I didn’t have an American girl. All my sister, though, she did have one. But I do remember very distinctly the American girl like Karen keeping of you body book. Yes.

Rachel Hampton, Rachel Hanson: The most progressive book I think I had access to as a child. It was just so nuts and bolts about a developing body of a girl. I there’s this one image that’s just ingrained in.

Maddison Malone, Madison Moon: My boob timeline. I was obsessed with the boob time.

Rachel Hampton, Rachel Hanson: I was also slice of the movie timeline. But no, this is really just anatomically correct description and photo of how to insert a tampon. And as a child, I was like.

Speaker 1: Right.

Maddison Malone, Madison Moon: Meanwhile, I’m over here like boob timeline, boob time, happy bride.

Rachel Hampton, Rachel Hanson: I, you know what? Between the denim, the camp counselor and the boob timeline, we’re talking here, we’re really revealing a lot here.

Maddison Malone, Madison Moon: So we talked about the historical dolls and then you mentioned the the dolls that you could customize to look like yourself. So that was like a late nineties, early 2000s contemporary invention.

Rachel Hampton, Rachel Hanson: Exactly.

Maddison Malone, Madison Moon: And I remember like they freckles. That was a big day.

Rachel Hampton, Rachel Hanson: Exactly. Yeah. They featured like a huge diversity of hair colors, skin colors, facial features. So even if you weren’t necessarily represented in the original historical doll collection, you could still see yourself in these dolls.

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Maddison Malone, Madison Moon: For a pretty penny. These dolls were expensive. I feel like we really do need to say it was. They are they remain pricey. Yeah.

Rachel Hampton, Rachel Hanson: And the historical dolls because much like you remember when Disney used to put movies in the vault. Yeah, which just meant that you can access them in a target if you wanted to. American Girl did the same thing where certain historical character dolls like Addie or Samantha were taken out of the production lineup so you couldn’t buy it, which meant that they became collector’s items, which means that they’re even more expensive now, which is why whenever a new doll is rereleased, it becomes a huge thing. At a time when there was kind of just a huge lack of diverse dolls, American Girl was just pivotal to a lot of people, not least because the historical characters in their generations had fully fledged and realized back stories.

Maddison Malone, Madison Moon: So what you’re talking about with, you know, when you talk about Addie Walker in her story, there was nothing like that.

Rachel Hampton, Rachel Hanson: I mean, truly, even with Barbie, there was nothing like that. And the books that went along with Addie, the doll, were even more accessible than having the doll itself. They’re full scenes. I remember from the Addie Walker series, like there’s one not great but great, and it’s historically relevant where an overseer makes her eat a bug off the tobacco plant. And then there’s another moment that I still in writing the prep for this episode kind of got chills thinking about where she was reunited with her father and brother in Philadelphia because she escapes with her mother and they leave her father and brother behind. And so this is a really common story of enslaved people. When they escape, they would be separated from their families or even after the Civil War. There are people who never found their families ever again because that was just one of the conditions of slavery. And this was just represented in what was functionally a children’s book.

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Maddison Malone, Madison Moon: It makes perfect sense then that they’re relaunching these dolls right as like a nostalgia bait sort of situation years after they premiered, because the girls, mostly who grew up with these are now adults with credit card.

Speaker 1: Cards.

Maddison Malone, Madison Moon: Who want to share in the nostalgia for themselves or their children.

Rachel Hampton, Rachel Hanson: And I mean, at this point, if there’s anything we know the Internet runs on besides like caffeine and terror, it’s nostalgia. Which brings us back to the present and why the news of Molly coming out was such a big deal.

Maddison Malone, Madison Moon: There’s a nice little wordplay there.

Rachel Hampton, Rachel Hanson: It wasn’t on purpose.

Maddison Malone, Madison Moon: When we come back, we’re going to talk about what exactly that big deal looked like and what American girl has to do with Shrek, I swear. We will make that make sense after just a quick break.

Maddison Malone, Madison Moon: Hey, listeners, we hope you’re enjoying today’s show if this is your very first time listening to us. Welcome. Hi. We’re so glad to have you here. We really don’t talk about dolls all that often. In case you missed it, we do make that joke very often. Our show actually comes out twice a week, Wednesdays and Saturdays. So make sure you never miss an episode like this. Last Wednesday, where we talked all about how One Direction invented the Internet as we know it.

Rachel Hampton, Rachel Hanson: And we’re back in the present, though I’m not going to lie. I think I’d much rather be hanging out with Samantha Parkinson in her huge fucking house. Oh, yeah. No. Though maybe not, given the racial politics of the progressive era.

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Maddison Malone, Madison Moon: Look, this is bad. And now I’m going to admit to having had a parasocial relationship with the doll show seem like a huge bitch.

Rachel Hampton, Rachel Hanson: Okay, that’s the thing. She is still known locally on the internet as a huge bitch, but we’re going to get him for that one.

Speaker 1: She’s like.

Maddison Malone, Madison Moon: Veruca Salt Energy.

Rachel Hampton, Rachel Hanson: And the girlies picked up on that.

Maddison Malone, Madison Moon: So speaking of progressive, I guess they were not the only ones who had reactions to the news that Molly may or may not have been born this way. Some anti-gay American girl accounts. Yes, those exist. Started posting photos of the dolls wearing different colors of the rainbow, along with Bible quotes and condemnations of homosexuality, attempting to, quote unquote, take back the rainbow per NBC News.

Rachel Hampton, Rachel Hanson: Not a Reclaiming of the Rainbow.

Maddison Malone, Madison Moon: We Can Share, Guys.

Rachel Hampton, Rachel Hanson: The Rainbow. Everybody Taste the rainbow.

Maddison Malone, Madison Moon: One user wrote this month is known to some as Pride Month. I am a Christian and as a Christian I do not support this. I believe that God made two genders and that’s male and female. Another user quoted revelation, which you know, light stuff.

Rachel Hampton, Rachel Hanson: My favorite book in the Bible, but it’s not all doom and gloom, though, unfortunately, is part of the massive rise of anti-gay hate across the country.

Maddison Malone, Madison Moon: We got to take our wins where we can. So while the Christians are angry and spending their time and energy yelling about the sexuality of a doll, everyone else just seem to be having some good laughs.

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Rachel Hampton, Rachel Hanson: In the wake of Molly is coming out. In subsequent recording by the American Girl Doll Instagram account.

Speaker 1: Is.

Rachel Hampton, Rachel Hanson: A new meme format emerge that goes something along the lines of We need an American girl doll who doubt that, that and then something wildly specific. So you might imagine in the wake of Molly, someone might say, We do need an American girl doll who’s gay. That’s not what this meme is.

Maddison Malone, Madison Moon: Here’s one from Tik Tok. To give you a better sense.

Speaker 1: We need an American girl doll who read an explicit fanfiction way too young and it changed her as a person. We need an American girl who has 100 plus opened in unread a three tabs on her phone. We need an American girl who reads fanfiction until 4 a.m. every night at the detriment of her sleep schedule.

Rachel Hampton, Rachel Hanson: The American Girl doll is literally just me. There’s all right. We already have one. We already have that American girl doll. It’s me. It’s Rachel Hamilton. Hello.

Maddison Malone, Madison Moon: Yeah. So this meme has really taken over TikTok. The we need an American girl genre. But I would say that it’s the case of a migratory meme because in my mind this is a text based beam that started on Instagram. So the tiktoker we were just listening to at Juice in a Box that’s box with two Xs actually credits an Instagram account in his caption, which is at canonically Incorrect Pod. But there are so many other accounts just like this. If you search hashtag American Girl Doll.

Rachel Hampton, Rachel Hanson: You will find the most hyper specific jokes you will ever find, except just under the guise of We Need an American Girl doll.

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Maddison Malone, Madison Moon: You sent me a really good one. I thought you were going to bring it up.

Rachel Hampton, Rachel Hanson: Oh, that one’s all for you.

Maddison Malone, Madison Moon: We need an American girl doll who knows all too well.

Rachel Hampton, Rachel Hanson: We mean an American girl doll who’s a single mom who works two jobs, who loves her kids and.

Maddison Malone, Madison Moon: Never stops Survivor. For me, I think it would be like we need an American girl doll who convinces her mom and sister that, no, she doesn’t want to go to the grocery store so she can sing show tunes at the top of her lung while performing Defying Gravity on the Kitchen Island.

Rachel Hampton, Rachel Hanson: Is that. That’s just you, right?

Maddison Malone, Madison Moon: Yeah. Okay.

Rachel Hampton, Rachel Hanson: Just making sure.

Maddison Malone, Madison Moon: No. Who else would it be?

Rachel Hampton, Rachel Hanson: I actually think that’s a fairly universal experience.

Speaker 1: To be completely honest. It’s.

Rachel Hampton, Rachel Hanson: Okay. Though, honestly, one of the best ones I came across is from daily hurricane on tick tock. So in the background of the video is a screenshot from another tick tock of an American girl with the caption We need an American girl doll who survived polio and is now in an iron lung.

Speaker 4: I saw this on my feet today and it made me laugh because there literally is an American girl, though, who survived polio. This is her. This is Mary Ellen. She got polio when she was younger, but she survived, evidently. And because she got polio, one of her legs is shorter than the other. They purposely made her this way. I feel so bad for laughing, but I was going through my stuff the other day and I noticed she had a shorter leg. It was like.

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Maddison Malone, Madison Moon: Okay, polio is not funny, but the fact that the American Girl Dolls are so specific and detailed to themselves, I think what makes this joke work like a shout out to the designer who made one of Marilyn’s legs just a little shorter than the other.

Rachel Hampton, Rachel Hanson: It’s just so careful.

Maddison Malone, Madison Moon: The meme, of course, made its way over to Twitter while we’re talking about meme migration. So if you search the phrase We need an American girl doll who you will be greeted with many a twit.

Rachel Hampton, Rachel Hanson: We need an American girl doll who hooked up with the guy in college. So sad. Him and his girlfriend were over and then six months later post his proposal to his girlfriend of nine years in an Applebee’s and then five years later post the he’s at the January six insurrection.

Maddison Malone, Madison Moon: We need an American girl doll who works in local journalism.

Rachel Hampton, Rachel Hanson: We need an American girl doll who’s into true crime. No, we don’t. No, we do not.

Maddison Malone, Madison Moon: I have to say, I really love this. It’s like one of the few nostalgia field trends that doesn’t make me want to be. We need an American girl doll who wants to jump off a cliff. The thing is, for anyone who’s been in the corners of the Internet where properties like American Girl or Dear America, if you know, you know, or really any sort of historical fiction targeted at little girls, it’s not really a surprise to see American Girl Doll means on Twitter in 2022.

Rachel Hampton, Rachel Hanson: If you search Samantha Partington on Twitter, you will find such gems from quite literally years ago. Like, imagine rolling up the American Girl Doll playdate with Buck and Samantha Parkinson, the Victorian era doll, when all your friends had the cute modern ones. Yeah, I’d say I’d face more adversity in my life. That tweet comes from at underscore wild milk, which your milk is wild.

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Maddison Malone, Madison Moon: Thank you. Wild milk.

Rachel Hampton, Rachel Hanson: I got to say. And stay with me here. This reminds me of Shrek.

Maddison Malone, Madison Moon: I’m not a believer yet. Just.

Rachel Hampton, Rachel Hanson: Just keep to stay with me. Stay with me. All right. The most important quality of a meme or a long lasting meme to me is the way it walks. This, like, super fine line between the specific and the universal. It also has, like, a healthy dash of nostalgia. This is then, of course, taken to its most extreme form, which then makes it into a meme rather than just a screenshot. Mm hmm. A lot of the most lasting meme water, to my mind, comes from properties like Shrek or SpongeBob. Sure. And that’s because of their ubiquity to the point that Shrek has become so ubiquitous that as we noted in an earlier episode, a whole lot of people know a whole lot about Shrek, but haven’t seen the movie.

Speaker 1: Get out of a swamp.

Rachel Hampton, Rachel Hanson: But American Girl dolls walk that fine line absolutely perfectly because of their ubiquity and their range, the super diverse thing that existed at a time where that wasn’t actually that normal. So a broad swath of people growing up are familiar with the contours of these fictional historical girls, enough to reduce them to their most absurd form.

Maddison Malone, Madison Moon: Okay, you did. It was a long walk that meandered a little, but we did get there. I agree. And I also feel it’s very satisfying. Shrek and SpongeBob have. More gender neutrality to the origin point. It is really satisfying to have a meme built for little girls or built by former little girls.

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Rachel Hampton, Rachel Hanson: It really reminds me of some of the things Kaitlyn Tiffany was talking about in her book about One Direction, which is This is fun.

Maddison Malone, Madison Moon: I now need to reset its our days without incident calendar, its days without Rachel talking about one direction. Yeah.

Rachel Hampton, Rachel Hanson: That incident calendar is never going go farther than five, I would say. But the thing is, we did need an American girl doll who escaped from slavery and one that survived the Great Depression and one that survived polio. But what that means now in the year 2022 is that we now need an American girl doll who got chased by a killer crowd in 2016. And only be.

Maddison Malone, Madison Moon: Right. We all need an American girl doll. And you probably do, too. But all right. That’s the show. We will be back in your feed on Wednesday, so please subscribe. It’s the best way to make sure that you never miss an episode. Leave us a rating and review an Apple or Spotify and tell your doll communities about us. You can follow us on Twitter. We are at I see why am I underscore pod or you can shoot us an email. I see. Why am I at slate.com?

Rachel Hampton, Rachel Hanson: Eye to eye mask too. By Daniel Schrader, Madison Malone Creature and meet Rachel Hampton. Alisha Montgomery asleep of audio c online.

Maddison Malone, Madison Moon: Or in a magic attic if you know. You know.

Speaker 1: Mobile Mobilized. Yes.

Maddison Malone, Madison Moon: Motivation by Norman Glass. Oh, man. You minimum.

Rachel Hampton, Rachel Hanson: Mobilization. Yeah. Mm hmm. Okay. Mm hmm.

Maddison Malone, Madison Moon: Okay.