By Chris Gilmore, The Rainbow Times
In a groundbreaking announcement, Target has unveiled a new plan to phase out “unnecessary” gender-based labeling from all of its toy departments in stores.
“Right now, our teams are working across the store to identify areas where we can phase out gender-based signage to help strike a better balance,” the press release said. “But we know that shopping preferences and needs change and, as guests have pointed out, in some departments like Toys, Home or Entertainment, suggesting products by gender is unnecessary.”
Reactions were mixed via social media. However, the praise for the move was given by many Facebookers from the LGBT and Allied community.
“Toys should not be gender based. My uncle of nine boys was the only one that liked to play with baby dolls as a kid,” shared via FB Kerry Koontz Miller.
The changes will not take effect immediately, however.
“We thank guests all the time for challenging us to get better at what we do and take the shopping trip to new levels,” the statement read.
Target also shared some examples of how they plan to execute the non-gender based changes.
“For example, in the kids’ Bedding area, signs will no longer feature suggestions for boys or girls, just kids. In the Toys aisles, we’ll also remove reference to gender, including the use of pink, blue, yellow, or green paper on the back walls of our shelves,” the release read.
The move may seem sudden for a U.S. store, but in the UK, there are already organizations in place that echo the exact actions that Target will be making to their stores in the next few months.
The Let Toys Be Toys Campaign – For Girls and Boys, according to A Mighty Girl who first shared the story via Facebook, is just one of them. The organization asks toy and publishing companies to broaden children’s interest, not “limit” them.
“Toys focused on action, construction and technology hone spatial skills, foster problem solving and encourage children to be active. Toys focused on role play and small-scale theatre allow them to practise social skills. Arts & crafts are good for fine motor skills and perseverance,” read the “Why It Matters” section of their website. “Boys and girls need the chance to develop in all these areas, but many stores divide toys into separate boys’ and girls’ sections. Action, construction and technology toys are predominantly marketed to boys while social role play and arts and crafts toys are predominantly marketed to girls. Both boys and girls miss out this way.”
The idea to allow children to choose what to play with is not an innovation of the 21st century. A LEGO note sent to parents in the 1970s basically asked parents to let children be children. According to Newsy, the note was slipped inside LEGO “Doll House” sets during that time.
“The urge to create is equally strong in all children. Boys and girls…You build whatever comes into your head, the way you want it…A lot of boys like doll houses. They’re more human than spaceships. A lot of girls prefer spaceships. They’re more exciting than doll houses. The most important thing is to put the right material in their hands and let them create whatever appeals to them,” the note read.
“We’re always listening, and your thoughts and ideas help us make Target, your Target, a better place,” read the closing statement of their release.