New American Girl doll has hearing loss

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New American Girl doll has hearing loss

USA Today

USA Today

USA Today

Lauren Rupsis, Staff Reporter

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American Girl introduces a new doll of the year, Joss, who is finding a special place in customers’ hearts with her story of being an athlete with hearing loss.

Joss has brown hair with brown eyes and a removable hearing aid. Her narrative tells that she is a competitive surfer and cheerleader despite her disability. She is the first doll to have a story dealing with physical obstacles.

“American Girl has a rich legacy of creating timeless characters who encourage girls to reach for new heights and discover who they’re meant to be,” said Jamie Cygielman, general manager of American Girl.

The doll shows that anyone can pursue their dreams and be an athlete despite differences or circumstances. Creators even teamed up with Caroline Marks, a pro surfer heading to the Olympics, in order to bring the doll to life.

“I think it’s so cool how she never gives up and she doesn’t let something like that stand in her way — no matter what you’re going through, you can get out there to do it. There’s no limits to what you can accomplish. I think that’s the message Joss is sending out,” Marks stated.

The doll means more to people than just a toy to play with. Fourteen-year-old Summer Bufithus has Homocystenuria, a genetic disorder, and feels a special connection to the doll since she has similar challenges.

“I can relate to her,” Summer Bufithus said when asked what she loved about Joss.

The doll also helps break stereotypes or stigma surrounding people with disabilities. It further creates diversity so that people are not left out despite what they look like or what they may be struggling with. 

In addition to the doll coming out, American Girl is working with the Hearing Loss Association of America to raise awareness of hearing disabilities and to collect donations. American Girl is donating $25,000 already and will support the organization’s annual walk. 

“We’re proud to welcome Joss Kendrick, whose stories are sure to instill confidence and character in girls who are learning to think about the possibilities in their own lives,” said Jamie Cygielman, general manager of American Girl.