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Trip Through Target

I recently took a tour through the toy section of the Super Target in my hometown of Chaska, Minnesota. Instead of analyzing specific dolls, I decided to analyze the marketing and the packaging of the dolls. I looked at the cuddly, baby dolls, Barbies, Bratz, Polly Pockets, and Disney dolls. Many packages, showed pictures of “real? kids playing with the dolls or holding them, however; not one of dolls featured a boy in their marketing. They would certainly have boy dolls, but never a picture of a boy with the boy doll. This got me thinking about advertising on television, and again, in the commercials, all dolls are pictured with girls. This definitely proves that gender roles are incorporated into marketing and advertisement. Not only are the dolls marketed towards girls, they are even segregated from the “boy? toys within the store, which feature action figures, cars and other transportation vehicles, and weapons of some sort. I also looked at the colors of the packaging and mostly found girly colors: every shade of pink and purple. Here and there would be greens and oranges, but only fluorescent shades, never any manly, deep colors like hunter green or navy.

I also analyzed the clearance and sale racks of dolls. In the front of each aisle were usually featured toys on sale; today there were Polly Pockets on the bottom shelves and soft baby dolls on the top. The Polly Pockets were purposely placed on the bottom shelves, at eye level for younger kids. These types of dolls attract younger girls because they look grown up and have lots of clothes, hair accessories, purses, and even a car to drive Polly around in (just like an adult). The nice, baby dolls were on the top shelves, perfect for adults to view. Adults want their kids to play with nice toys and these dolls would be the first bought. However, when I went around the back aisle, I noticed the clearance racks were filled with Sasha Bratz dolls, the African American doll, and other ethnic dolls. Perhaps these dolls were on sale because they aren’t getting sold because the majority of Chaska is Caucasian and typically white dolls are picked because there is a resemblance in race of the customer. Or, maybe people feel the same way as those in the videos we watched in class, and that black dolls are the bad dolls and the inventory proves it. It’s really sad to think that people (especially little kids) believe that certain races are better over others but also, that these dolls are hidden in the back of the store in the corner. I am glad to see a greater variety of races in dolls sold, but I only wish that the selling of each type of doll will equalize soon.