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Toys R Us

I took an online tour of Toys “R? Us. The doll section was arranged in several categories including fashion dolls, princess dolls, and ethnic dolls. Under the top selling list, the top selling doll of the month is the “Irish Dance? doll from the Barbie Pink Label collection. The doll is depicted in the perfect Irish stereotype with long curly red hair, pale skin, and green dress.

It is part of the festivals of the world collection which also includes a Ciyco De Mayo, a Kwanzaa, and an Oktoberfest doll. I was interesting to take a closer look at the Kwanzaa doll. In many of the Barbie dolls I looked at my Matel the African American Barbies were darker skinned versions of Barbie. The Kwanzaa dolls has different facial features and is missing the scary tiny Barbie nose that looks like it has been hacked away with plastic surgery. Kwanzaa Barbie comes with extremely long wavy hair and beaded earrings. Kwanzaa Barbie does not appear in the ethnic dolls section however.
Twenty Seven dolls appear in the ethnic dolls section. A vast majority of the dolls are African American, with the remainder being Hispanic. No Asian American dolls were shown. This was the only section of dolls where images were not available for many of the dolls. One of the dolls was titled “You & Me: Hispanic Baby Darla Interactive Doll? the picture of the doll however was a very pale white baby with blue/hazel eyes.
A huge section of dolls on the Toys R US website is the princess section. More often than not princesses are depicted in a tutu, a tiara and often have a wand. In the section I also came across the Prince Derek doll. Prince Derek is an African American doll complete with faux middle ages apparel. Class manifests itself in an interesting way in this doll. Although Prince Derek is a royal Prince, he is also the Royal Cobbler. He spends his time making shoes for the head white Barbie princess and her twelve princess friends. He comes with twelve pairs of shoes. So in reality Prince Derek is not a Prince at all but a house servant who wears a crown. Off all the prince dolls I looked at, Derek was the only one who had a service job, the white princess don’t spend their time making shoes.
A Medieval theme is also present in the boy’s action figure section. Many of the toy sets include knights and castle themes. Recently I read an article by Leslie Feinberg discussion transgender repression. Feinberg marks the Middle Ages and the time in which transpeople and gender crossing became a terrible taboo and crossing gender lines lead to in most cases death. It is also a time which gender relations are ideally depicted. Women are soft and feminine waiting around for their knight and prince suitors to court them with poems and flowers.
The boy’s action figure also showed elements of what was talked about in the films we viewed in class regarding males and violence. A vast majority of the toys were intensely muscular warrior type figures. A large section was devoted to military figures; compete with an arsenal of firearms. One of the more disturbing lines of toys made for boys is the series “WWE Ruthless Aggression.? The figures are of wrestling characters with huge bulging muscles and tiny Speedos, which are fairly homoerotic, except the characters beat the crap out of each other.
It was also interesting to see how non human figures were gendered. Monsters and fantasy type creatures were in the boys section. Talking bears and horses were in the girls section. Interestingly the horses often have been “feminized? with extremely long mains and tails, giant doe eyes, and often have coats of pastel colours. In the boys section there is also a coin collection category. The category does not have any real collector coins except for one set of 2001 quarters. The rest of the toys in the section are play money sets. There is a cash register and scanner, on of which is hot pink. It is interesting that this does not appear in the girls section despite its gendering. Apparently girls are not to handle money or run a business; instead they should be feeding babies and braiding hair.

Comments

scary toys. brown prince = house servant. omg.