Toy manufacturer Mattel recently put it to a vote: What should Barbie’s next career move be? The results are in, and I’m somewhat conflicted. Turns out, girls everywhere envisioned the iconic platinum blonde as a news anchor. Meanwhile, the general public pegged the plastic bombshell for a computer engineer. Sure, both professions highlight Barbie’s evolution from beach babe to brainy belle. But I’m still chagrined because voters passed over another option: environmentalist. Sigh. I guess earth tones just aren't the new pink.
American Girl, on the other hand, has apparently seen the green in being green. Meet Lanie Holland. Crowned with cascading golden locks (hmm, sound familiar?), the 10-year-old loves wildlife and the outdoors. “Through everyday experiences—growing a garden, birdwatching, camping in her backyard, and creating a butterfly habitat—Lanie discovers how everything in nature is connected and learns there’s a wide, wonderful world right outside her door.” Accompanied by a rabbit on a leash (yes), she’s ready for grass stain-filled adventure.
As the owner of an American Girl (a well-loved, bespectacled Molly), I’m glad to see that the newest edition to the family is curious about nature. The fact that the company partnered with the National Wildlife Federation (of Ranger Rick fame and whose new campaign Be Out There aims to get kids outdoors) to bring us Lanie is also reassuring that the product could have some eco-educational merit. Plus, American Girl is hosting a photo contest calling for submissions of outdoor scenes (25 entrants will be randomly selected to win Lanie dolls). But what I really hope is that all of the adoptive little mommies will do Lanie—and themselves—a favor by regularly taking her out into the world her character so dearly loves and explore it together. I mean, c’mon. Her clothes have GOT to be washable.