« Target Toy Section | Main | Friday, March 30 - Feminist Talk »


My daughter has at least one of almost every type of doll in each aisle—yes, including the more typical “boy? dolls like G.I. Joe and Star Wars figures. Although, every time I attempt to diversify her collection, she opts for the doll that looks the most like her, and that is the reason she will give as well. She chooses her dolls by who they look like-- Moms have dark hair, kids are usually blonde. We’ve walked the toy aisles of Target, Wal-Mart, Toys ‘R Us, Kaybee Toys, and every other toy retailer there is in Minnesota more than likely. Her bedroom is covered in Barbie, Bratz, Polly, Joe, and Princess Padame.

To actually walk through these aisles trying to see a different feminist perspective was difficult for me because I’m used to walking through choosing birthday and Christmas gifts for Madeline or her friends.

First, walking through the Barbie aisle, which can be seen from nearly across the store by its pink glow, I wanted to see what things were placed at different eye levels. I did find that the more conservative or occasion dolls—like Special Edition or Collection dolls were placed at or above my, or the adult’s/parent’s, eye level.

Just below that were some dolls that were had an abundance of accessories and themes. There were a few minority dolls, but primarily the dolls were white with blonde or brown hair. This is where most of the male dolls were matched up as "boyfriends" as well. This must be for the 7-9-year-old girls.

I found that close to the bottom of the shelves were dolls that had more accessories like pets or friends or houses. I would guess that this is targeted at the 4-6-year-old who would be walking along holding her Mommy’s hand. Before "boyfriends" the interest seems to be in animals, and so this marketing would make sense.

Towards the back end of the aisle is where the generic Barbies were found. Also, more accessories could be found here—clothes, shoes, etc.

On the opposite side of the aisle, were flashy real-life-size princess dresses and combination packs of dolls and princesses.

I do wonder about whether or not they take into account the children who ride along in shopping carts. This would put a kink in any of my eye level findings.

I didn’t find any obvious race-related organization, but this could be because of the area of town that we visited the Target store. I suppose the lack of diversity is something that should be noted, but I found the more ethnic/exotic dolls to be mostly mixed in.

I always find it quite humorous that they actually have a doll that smells like tanning lotion and that most the cars that go along with the dolls were pink convertibles. Not to mention all the matching shoes, handbags, and hair bands… I’m just waiting for a Coach or Dolce & Gabbana or Louis Vitton doll to be released.


shopping carts are a good variable to consider for eye-level... and i agree with the glowing pink. you can't spot the barbie eye a mile away!