The latest doll to join the American Girl collection is Courtney, a 1980s-themed doll who comes with a totally tubular backstory.
American Girl announced the launch of their latest doll on the TODAY show. Courtney Moore is a video game lover who spends her time playing Pac-Man inside the arcade at her local shopping mall, looks up to the astronauts aboard the Space Shuttle Challenger and lives with her blended family.
Appropriate for an election year release, Courtney's mom is also running for mayor of her California town.
Children of the '80s will swoon over the doll's nostalgic accessories: a mini Caboodle, Lip Smackers lip gloss and Care Bears pajamas, to name a few.
Courtney's rad outfit — bangle bracelets, a denim skirt and an off-the-shoulder crop top — channels memories of dancing along to '80s tunes on the boombox. To help launch the doll, American Girl has partnered with iconic '80s all-female band The Go-Gos, who, like Courtney, value all things having to do with girl power.
In a Zoom interview with TODAY Parents, band members Charlotte Caffey, Kathy Valentine and Jane Wiedlin chatted about the release of Courtney and the recent return of '80s fashion and pop culture.
"We got to see a lot of girls at our concerts during the '80s and Courtney actually looks a lot like our audience members," said Kathy Valentine, who plays bass guitar in the band, adding that Courtney's story is about more than just fashion.
"I think what (American Girl) wants to do with the Courtney doll is bring attention to what that era was like for women," said Valentine. "The feminist movement had come about in the '60s and '70s, and in the '80s you started seeing women in politics more. You saw them going into tech and getting the results of the hard work of the feminist pioneers."
Go-Gos lead guitarist and keyboardist Charlotte Caffey says she loves Courtney's passion for video games and interest in creating a "female super hero" game of her own.
"We were kind of like girl superheroes back then," said Caffey, "because no one had ever seen the 'girl band' and we were that and were bigger than life. I like that about her."
Courtney is American Girl's first "historical" doll in three years. For moms who grew up in the '80s, thinking of their childhood as far enough in the past to merit a historical distinction may be a bit of a shock.
So what would The Go-Gos, who recently released a new single, "Club Zero" and star in a 2020 Showtime documentary about their lives, tell women who are hesitant to consider Courtney a historical character?
"I think you're feeling our pain right now because they started calling The Go-Gos' music 'golden oldies' a while ago," joked rhythm guitarist Jane Wiedlin. "But, on the other hand, it's very flattering that the '80s are back. I think you just kind of have to embrace it because time marches on."
To bridge the old and the new, American Girl has paired up with Girls Who Code, a non-profit organization working to close the gender gap in technology, as a way to pay tribute to Courtney's love of emerging technology and video games.
From now through December 31, 2020, American Girl will match customer donations to support Girls Who Code's programming and outreach to girls, and will provide a $5,000 scholarship to four Girls Who Code members to help further their education in computer science or a related field.
Courtney and her accessories, which include a working arcade-style Pac-Man game and a 13-piece '80s mix-and-match fashion collection, are available online starting on September 15, and in American Girl stories on September 25.