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Pop Culture . . . whatever

Teach your spoiled brat about homelessness . . . for $100

LOS ANGELES — Meet Gwen Thompson. She’s the latest doll from American Girl and she’s homeless.

The Wisconsin-based company which “celebrates girls and all they can be,” is known for its tasteful, beautiful dolls that reflect periods in American History.

But, reviews are mixed on the newest addition.

Some say “Gwen” is sending the wrong message to America’s girls.

“That’s actually really disturbing, and that’s not the American dream,” one woman told KTLA. “I thought these were American Girl dolls.”

Others say the doll can be used as a teaching tool to help create awareness about what’s going on in the world.

“I think it’s truthful. I think it’s right on,” said another woman, who told KTLA she used to live on the streets.

Each doll comes with its own storyline. Gwen’s story is told through another doll’s biography.

Her father ran out on the family and her mother lost her job. Soon, the fatherless family was living in their car.

“Gwen” sells for $95.

None of the money is used to directly help the homeless, another factor fueling the controversy.

“To me this is a very cute girl, and there’s nothing cute about being homeless,” said Matt Kamin, who works to help take children off the streets in Los Angeles. “And I have a problem with American Girl making money off the plight of being homeless.”

American Girl, however, has donated almost $500,000 since 2006 to HomeAid, a national nonprofit group that tries to help the homeless find housing.

There are between 7,000 and 10,000 homeless children in Los Angeles.

“Gwen” is a “limited edition” doll, only slated to be available for a few more months.

October 5, 2009 - Posted by | Greed, Shopping

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