Saturday, November 30, 2013

Choosing Your Doll's Ethnicity

Fisher-Price has a toy line called My First Dollhouse, and it's a big hit in our household. After Kelly bought some of the dolls at a tag sale, both Alice and Lucy fell in love with them. (Alice pretends the dolls are her family; Lucy just puts them in her mouth.)

So we decided to spring for the full set. But this brings me to a conundrum: Amazon makes you choose what ethnicity you want the dolls to be.

I realize this is an eternal issue with dolls, but I'm new to the whole doll-buying game. Also, I feel like it was different in the days when you would just pick a dollhouse off a store shelf. With Amazon, you have to consciously click a link with the irksome phrase "Caucasian Family."

This just feels wrong. Wouldn't it be better if Amazon and Fisher-Price didn't ask people to make a choice and instead shipped out the various iterations of the product at random? That way, people would just get what they get (black, white, whatever), and that's that. I'm sure toddlers would enjoy the dolls just as much.

Incidentally, Fisher-Price only seems to offer My First Dollhouse in Caucasian, Asian and African-American varieties. (Sorry, largest ethnic minority in America — you're out of luck.)

Anyway, I asked Kelly if we should take a stand here and buy the African-American dollhouse. But there was only one for sale on Amazon, and it cost $174.99. (The Caucasian version is $42.99.) Talk about white privilege!

That made the decision pretty easy: one "Caucasian Family," please.

Who knew social justice would be so expensive?