One of the biggest American Girl products these days isn't the historical dolls, or even the "My American Girl" just-like-me models. Nowadays, many kids beg for the Girl of the Year, limited-edition dolls like 2013's Saige, a painter and horseback rider "whose passions inspires action."
Each one has some wholesome message, like the importance of community service or working against bullying.
Well, one fan has a request for Mattel, which now makes the dolls. 10-year-old Melissa Shang suffers from a form of muscular dystrophy, and she's launched a Change.Org petition asking the company to create a Girl of the Year with a disability:
Being a disabled girl is hard. Muscular Dystrophy prevents me from activities like running and ice-skating, and all the stuff that other girls take for granted. For once, I don't want to be invisible or a side character that the main American Girl has to help: I want other girls to know what it's like to be me, through a disabled American Girl's story.
Sure, you can currently buy an accessory wheelchair that'll work for any of the dolls, as well as hearing aids and allergy-free lunches. But there's no disabled doll in a starring role, and that's what Melissa wants. It might help mitigate some of the criticism that American Girl has lost its educational way, too.
"Disabled girls are American girls, too," Melissa says in an accompanying video pitch. "We face challenges and overcome them every day." So far, her petition has over 4,000 signatures.
Important to note: This petition is totally the act of an old-school American Girl character. SAMANTHA LIVES!