Why are all the white dolls sitting together on the Target shelf?
Melissa Giraud

The business side of this issue is quite obvious…companies target demographics very, very often. I mean, they offer what you’re looking for in other stores, which may be a bit inconvenient but in a capitalistic world where companies chase profits and nothing more that’s what it is. Capitalism is at the heart of this issue.

The ugly reality is that it costs more, and thus is less profitable, to make non-white dolls, because they don’t sell as many and thus don’t get added efficiency in their manufacturing (or someone else’s, whoever makes it). It’s the exact same reason that when you buy in bulk you pay far less per x, such as 1 toothpaste may be $4 but 10 could be $25 somewhere.

In that case, they are probably targeting certain stores based on demographics to increase their efficiency (or productivity) at a space level. I’ve worked on projects like this, and they seem deeply stereotypical and borderline racist at times but the raw data tells the story. It’s not efficient for them to place non-white dolls in your preferred store because their productivity would not be as high, but that isn’t the case for other Target stores.

In effect you make a decision based on averages and decent correlations. In other words you look at the whole and don’t worry about the individuals, right or wrong that’s how they’re made. Of course SOME people in your area (i.e. such as you and your daughters) will be negatively impacted but overall it’s not a huge impact on the whole, and is positive for the company making the dolls and Target.

I think it sucks personally. My biggest issue I have with localization is that it uses stereotypes, even ones that happen to be true and backed up with data, to increase profitability. It also means that the stereotypes will be entrenched even further, leaving no room for changing them. It happens with apparel a lot, they will place certain “styles” in certain locations — but that effectively eliminates the possibility that people may change over time, and that’s a shitty way to view it in my estimation. It’s better to offer choice and suffer the consequences of profitability, because the reality is these companies make enough money, these rich white men have enough money — to hell with them and their increased wealth at the expense of individuals’ option to have their childhood mimic their reality.

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