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American Girl: Pilsen Can't Hang With Us

By Rachelle Bowden in Miscellaneous on Feb 1, 2005 3:31PM

Marisol Luna, from curtdanhauser.comWhat can you say about Pilsen? That it’s the largest Mexican-American community in Chicago, and one of the largest in the United States? Check. That it’s home to a decades-old, well established arts scene and some of the finest galleries in town? Check. That’s it a vibrant place to raise a family? Well, for the folks that produce mind-numbing, ubiquitous American Girl dolls, that may not be so.

Marisol Luna, the newest American Girl character and the line’s second Latin lady, is a proud resident of Pilsen. Girl has nothing but dancing on her mind (man, does she love to dance!) until her parents drop this bomb: the neighborhood she loves is too dangerous for her and has nowhere for her to play, so she has to move. To Des Plaines.

Marisol Luna is pissed, and so are the people that have been working to make Pilsen a safer, better place to live over the past few years. Police are quick to point out that crime was down 6 percent in the beat around Harrison Park, the beat that Marisol Luna proudly called home (she, reportedly, used to gaze at the park with her plastic eyeballs from her tiny bedroom window). Representatives of the Mexican Fine Arts Center Museum, Pilsen’s crown jewel, are even concerned that the negative publicity could keep potential Mexican-American residents from relocating to the area.

image courtesy of desplaines.orgAmerican Girl, on the other hand, scoffs at the idea that they painted anything but a “vibrant and caring picture of the neighborhood,” and insist that Marisol’s family’s move was motivated by… are you ready for this? Traffic danger. That makes total sense, because there are... no cars in Des Plaines?

The real victim of this story, of course, is Marisol Luna. At the end of the day, she finds Des Plaines kinda “boring,” but admits that it’s “pretty nice.” And BAM! One more young mind eased into a life of happy endings and manicured green lawns. Slap a price tag of $84 on her, and you have the latest American Girl.