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She resembles a Barbie doll more than all the other American Girls, with straight, light blonde hair and blue eyes. It’s not like I really needed a Kit Kittredge doll, I had the movie which came with three others for only $10.75 from Amazon, but then I read her book and that magical thing called resonation happened. But Why would Kit resonate with me so much? I have more in common with Josephina, having grown up in New Mexico, and lost a parent (My Dad) as a child, even though I’m White like Kit. It scares me that that is the reason Kit resonated with me… But there’s more boundary-pushing about Kit’s gender expression than all the other American Girls—a warning for massive spoilers ahead.
I have been struggling with my Gender Identity for a while. At first, it boiled down to the Psychotic breaks I have had, but gender is a social construct, and Psychosis has a blatant disregard for societal norms. Finally, I got well enough to tell my Mom I was Nonbinary in 2019, all I had to do was pick a Nonbinary Identity from under the umbrella, but I am a boy now.
But, back to Kit. Kit Kittredge is the only doll bought entirely with my own money. I connect with Kit loving Robin Hood. Most of the stories I loved until I was 13 stared male leads. Valerie Tripp says of Kit "Kit was not a flouncy girl." She then describes how “Out of place” in her pink frilly bedroom. “Out of place” implies a queer, or rather strange, sense of unease, which makes it sound more complex than just hating pink in a feminist way. Kit and I love baseball. With this setup, we have still a lot to establish about the Great Depression, which the next two books cover really well, nothing remarkably Queer gender-wise happens. Maybe something happens to her sexuality wise though. In Kit’s Suprise, Kit admires Amelia Earhart, the scene was made into a song for the Circle of Friends musical.
When I saw her up there on the big silver screen,
It was the most exciting thing that I’ve ever seen.
Amelia, you’re my hero, you’re my ideal.
You’re not a silly princess – no! – Amelia, you’re real!
How does it feel to be Amelia Earhart?
How does it feel to know that you can fly?...
But nothing can stop you, no one can top you.
I want to be like you
Flying solo,
It all goes to show how far a girl can go,
Flying solo,
I have memories of admiring Mary Martin flying in Peter Pan, and the verses I copied express my six-year-old literal thoughts about her, which I later realized was a crush! My cruses on Gorden Ramsey, President Obama, and Buddy Ebsen were what I was taught to recognize.
When Kit gets a new flour sack dress for her birthday, she’s excited about it, because it’s the first hot weather clothing she’s had in months. It makes Kit feel “Cool and light and airy” according to Valerie Tripp. It makes sense to put practically over dysphoria, when dealing with small things in the world, like getting ready on time. That’s the reason I need top surgery, binders are slow to put on, and my Cerebral Palsy makes it even more difficult, (Which is why Medicare should cover my Top Surgery.) so I can’t wear them as much as is necessary, so when under time pressure I toss on a dress. What I’m trying to say is wearing gender-conforming clothing is not a sign of the absence of dysphoria.
In fact, Kit Saves The Day, the very next book takes the opposite approach. It starts off by innocently mentioning that the overalls Kit is wearing are hand-me-downs from her brother. Now two books ago, in Kit’s Surprise, the family is threatened with eviction, and three books ago, in Kit Learns A lesson Dad was getting donated groceries from the soup kitchen, after losing his job in Meet Kit. The family is too poor to care if Kit can conform to gender norms by book five out of six! When Kit goes on an adventure to the Hobo Jungle and ends up riding the rails, and gets caught, the railroad bulls assume she is a boy, despite Will’s hat not covering up her feminine bob. Then it happens the hat falls off, and she is found out. Transphobes say they can always tell someone’s birth sex, but these railroad bulls couldn’t, because of a cap! This is where the background of hating the pink room and liking Robin Hood makes it feel different than Addy, who wanted to wear fancy dresses in freedom, dressing as a boy to be safe while liberating herself from slavery. Although Will does give Kit the hat to make the railroad bulls think she’s a boy to protect her in jail. Safe from What? My Adult mind can hypothesize
.In Changes for Kit there is a sign of acceptance of Kit’s possible Queer identity as Mother and Miss Hart and Miss Finney give her a coat made from her Dad’s old one with a hat and mittens made from Charlie’s old sweater. For the full end-of-the-story spoilers see the Meet Kit Kittredge video from American Girl, It’s a lovely ending, that does not have to do with Kit’s Queerness.
While I did not have an American Girl doll as a child, the deep connection people feel to them is very personal and is something that kids of all genders and sexualities deserve. If you are reading this article, in a news publication it means Kit and I share a dream.330430505_160802620107628_8913077157774648994_n.jpg.ca56df60b1650c16a20e54fd528f893e.jpg
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