This month, the American Girl brand released a new American Girl, with a twist—he is a sandy-haired boy named Logan Everett. On a cerebral level, maybe this is a cheap shot. On a level of consumeristic arousal, I’m like omg this boy is very cute and I want him to be on my nightstand watching me while I dream of him. He is Logan Everett, a fourteen-year-old drummer from Nashville, and he is also my new boyfriend.
Before you get too horny—and don’t worry, we will be getting horny in the extreme for Logan Everett very soon—some context.
American Girl is the slightly more intellectual choice for a discerning parent, selling dolls meant to be the age of the girls receiving them (between ages ten and thirteen, usually) that come with context of a specific period in American history and, God forbid, a book. As any proud American Girl doll owner knows, one cannot truly know their doll and all their absurdly expensive accessories until they’ve read every book accompanying the character, and it follows that parents with a little disposable income often choose the literary, non-body shaming option to the cheaper Barbies and princess dolls lining the aisles of Target. While the books have since strayed from their original format, early American Girl dolls had books about their character and time period in American history following the six same basic plotlines: “Meet [DOLL],” “[DOLL] Learns a Lesson,” “[DOLL’s] Surprise,” “Happy Birthday, [DOLL!],” “[DOLL] Saves the Day,” and “Changes for [DOLL].” The context of the books were just as important as the product, a concept that rarely works with kids, with the only other exception being the first-person Dear America series, written as the journals of young girls in specific time periods. (Unsolicited opinion: the one about the girl on the Titanic is really good.)
While it might seem bizarre for Mattel-owned American Girl to make a radical marketing move, it’s not entirely surprising that the brand is looking to shake things up given its parent company’s recent history. Mattel still has the Barbie monolith it’s held exclusively since her debut in 1959, but lost the major Disney Princess brand last year to major competitor Hasbro, which has a stronghold on major products like Marvel and Transformers. Barbie is still a major retail force and has seen sales improve with the introduction of more grounded body types (curvy, petite and tall), but the princess gap is not to be underestimated. Teenage sex god Logan Everett’s release likely relates to the appointment of new Mattel CEO Margo Georgiadis, who both launched the American Boy and joined all Mattel holdings with Chinese online retailer Alibaba in her first week onboard. With the American Girl brand, the target has never been the princess aspirational—instead, it’s been a focus on the age of the girls themselves.
In short, Logan and his friend Tenney Grant (more on her later) were likely a response to a sentence I pray was actually spoken aloud at an American Girl corporate meeting: “How do we counter fat Barbie?”
Ideally, the answer is to manufacture a male American Girl doll with a huge hog. More likely, they’d just manufacture a male American Girl doll. (That’s right, I can hold discourse on both the size of the hogs on young boy dolls and cite the recent fiscal history of major toy companies. I understand if this makes you want to date me, but unfortunately I have a boyfriend and his name is Logan and he is fourteen and he plays the drums.)
Okay, permission granted to get horny. Who is Logan Everett, anyway? Omg.
Logan Everett is technically connected to another recently released American Girl doll, aspiring twelve-year-old country singer Tenney Grant. If you’re thinking I’m threatened by Tenney and her blonde hair and silky voice and talent, I am totally not, even if she is really pretty and talented and literally half my age. Here’s what the official American Girl site has to say about the future father of my warped, plasticine children:
“Thanks to her bandmate, a drummer named Logan Everett, Tenney learns the importance of collaboration and compromise. When she’s paired with Logan for a major performance, she faces the challenge of letting others add to her creative voice without sacrificing her sound.”
In regards to Tenney—who cares? As long as “her sound” is not stealing my boyfriend.
In short: Logan is fourteen and plays the drums and lives in Nashville and, as I said, is my boyfriend now. I don’t care if he’s an artist, I love him. I’ll go to grad school. I’ll feed his pet snakes when he’s on tour with the boys and cheating on me. He sounds like a character on Degrassi who would seem really sexy and enticing at first but then end up being part of that weird sex ring in the woods that gave middle school girls stretchy bracelets in exchange for blowjobs and is festering with gonorrhea or something. He is My Kind Of Man.
What happens when you pull Logan’s pants down? The American Girl Place store at the Grove in Los Angeles insisted that I would need to make the $115 purchase to find out, so I honestly can’t tell you. If Mattel played it safe he’s got a smooth sex lump like Ken, but my hope is that Logan has a massive hog. After all, he is fourteen and he does play the drums.
While I wasn’t allowed to sneak a peek at the size of Logan’s still-developing teenage hog, never underestimate the boredom of the employees at American Girl place at 1 PM on a weekday. When I approached a kind associate just north of the Doll Hair Salon in pursuit of more information about Logan, she struggled to come up with an excuse not to indulge me, an adult woman who is ostensibly there alone, before folding. All she knows, she tells me, is that Logan is a new doll that is the friend of fellow new addition and aspiring country music singer Tenney, but she hasn’t read the book yet. She mistakenly offers to get her manager “if I really need other information.” Uh, yes honey. I do.
Once she’s gone, I get to survey the mostly-empty store, which has changed significantly since I was the appropriate age to be inside.
When I got my first American Girl from my grandma, there were strict rules connected to the core dolls and what one says about the girl receiving it in the late ‘90s and early 2000s. If you were a young cosmopolitan child genius who would deign to make friends with a poor person out of sheer boredom like myself, perhaps you received the objectively hot 1904 Victorian Samantha doll. If you sucked, you probably received a bucktoothed WWII-era Molly doll and still defend it but in your heart you know, you know that Molly sucks and you do, too. Redheads received American Revolutionary War girl Felicity, blondes got frontier girl Kirsten, and if you were anything but white, chances are you received an Addy or a Josefina whether you liked it or not. Rigged? Sure, but these were the rules.
As it must, time marches on, and as the owners of the original six went on to be fingered and become Hot Topic employees, the next generation of girls were treated with far more diversity and historical perspective. Contemporary, customizable American Girl dolls more akin to major competitor My Twinn, which allow girls to fashion a doll that looks exactly like them, shifted the traditionally historical focus of the brand, and sexier time periods in American history were explored through new book-branded models.
From the now-branded BeForever historical line, in no particular order: Kaya the 1700s American Indian girl, Cecile the wealthy African-American-French girl, Kit the blue collar Great Depression girl, Rebecca the Jewish-American girl, Maryellen the poodle-skirted 1950s girl, Melody the African-American Detroit girl of the 1960s, and Julie the 1970s San Francisco flower child. To all the Molly owners out there—who knows if you would suck so bad if you had had other options? You’ll never know, and you and your doll suck in perpetuity.
And then there’s Tenney, one of the featured contemporary dolls presumably meant to be modeled after a young Taylor Swift, premiering this year along with my sweet honey Logan.
This brings me to the pleasant if disgruntled American Girl Place manager that patiently hands me a printout of Tenney and Logan’s descriptions from the official website.
“She’s new, and so is he, so we’re still learning more about them,” he explains with more patience than I am worth. Honestly, I too would love to have a job where it is okay to talk about dolls as if they are sentient beings. I continue to press to have the answer I want most—is Logan single, and should I go for it?
Behold, the following exchange:
Me: Are [Logan and Tenney] a thing?
Manager: They are not a thing. They’re just friends.
Employee: He’s fourteen and she’s twelve. There’s no thing.
Manager: There’s no thing. It’s just purely—
Me: But maybe in a couple of years?
Manager: No. I don’t know.
Employee: We don’t encourage that here at American Girl.
Spoken three times: There. Is. No. Thing.
I guess what I’m trying to say is if anyone wants to Venmo me $115 so I can take my boyfriend Logan who is fourteen and drums out of his godforsaken corporate prison, that’d be great. After all, this is the perfect moment in history to be giving blonde white males a little more representation, isn’t it?
Jamie Loftus is a comedian and writer. You can find her some of the time, most days at @hamburgerphone or jamieloftusisinnocent.com.