Target Moves Away From Gendered Signs And Shelving

Target really *is* the happiest place on Earth.

Target really *is* the happiest place on Earth.

I could not be happier to see this announcement from Target Corporation via their Bullseye View blog. This move is something the PPBB Community has spent years very vocally advocating for.

This change is a step towards removing gender limitations in childhood, but when one of the world’s largest retailers does this, the ripple effect will be significant.

As we’ve said for years here, all it will take is one of the retailing giants to be bold enough to deviate from status quo and the rest will fall like dominoes.

Hooray to Target for taking the lead on this!

From Target’s Bullseye View blog:

Over the past year, guests have raised important questions about a handful of signs in our stores that offer product suggestions based on gender. In some cases, like apparel, where there are fit and sizing differences, it makes sense. In others, it may not. Historically, guests have told us that sometimes—for example, when shopping for someone they don’t know well—signs that sort by brand, age or gender help them get ideas and find things faster. 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.

We heard you, and we agree. 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. 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. You’ll see these changes start to happen over the next few months.

We thank guests all the time for challenging us to get better at what we do and take the shopping trip to new levels. We’re always listening, and your thoughts and ideas help us make Target, your Target, a better place.

I applaud Target stores for making this change. I’m thrilled, to be honest, and literally bouncing up and down in my chair. This change will play a role in shifting the way kids see themselves as consumers and will help to shift the way adults see the role of gender in childhood. In short – it should be the least salient quality we see in our children.

My local Target store was already on my list of errands for today, but after reading this news from Target I’m going to be sure to approach the manager and tell them how happy I am for this move. Thank you, Target!

I’ve reached out to Target Corp for comment and will update you as soon as possible. 

 

Melissa headshot 1 fb sizeMelissa Atkins Wardy is a speaker, media consultant, and the author of Redefining Girly: How Parents Can Fight the Stereotyping and Sexualizing of Girlhood, from Birth to Tween. She is the creator and owner of Pigtail Pals & Ballcap Buddies, a company that has been offering empowering apparel and gifts to Full of Awesome kids since 2009 www.pigtailpals.com.

Find her at www.melissaatkinswardy.com. You can connect with her on Facebook (Pigtail Pals Ballcap Buddies) and Twitter (@PigtailPals) and Pinterest (Pigtail Pals & Ballcap Buddies). 

Comments

  1. Thank you for keeping on them! And, thank you for all you do. My daughter is nearly six now, so making more of her own choices–and gravitates to pink and fairies and princesses and trucks and cars and dinosaurs and sharks… You get the idea. I’m letting her be herself but when she was younger made sure she didn’t get stuck in a pink rut. “Colors are for everyone.” We’ve got a long way to go to ensure our girls are getting positive messages about their strength and worth. I appreciate your work so much. Thank you!

    • Hi Heather!
      Thanks for the kind words, I’m so glad you are a part of our community. Pink sharks riding around with sparkle dinosaurs in fairy princess monster trucks? YES. PLEASE. THAT is childhood done right! 😉

      • I don’t understand when our society became so obsessed with gender and redefining it. I don’t think what you do is a good thing, not for society and not for kids. I have four of my own and I never needed Target or anyone else to tell me when it was okay to buy certain toys for my kids. If my daughter wanted a monster truck, she got one and if my son wanted a doll, he got one. I didn’t need bloggers or Target to tell me it was okay by posting gender neutral signs. Boys are boys and girls are girls. I don’t care how many operations you get or what type of clothing you wear, inherently your gender will not change. And people like you are not an example of what is good in the world but what is destroying our world. Wake up people and give your children the stability they need, not the destruction this society is imposing on them. Absolutely disgusting that people would applaud what you do.

  2. apparel. isnt that clothing? so they remove most gender references exept clothing?

    • Correct. Their statement relays the message they feel boys and girls require different cuts of clothing, hence the gendered sections. That is not how I prefer to see it, it is not my experience, and from what I hear from parents, not at all accurate. The easiest way to initiate some change here would be for Target to put all the character tees in the middle of the two sections an let kids decide for themselves who their favorites are.

      But the toys and bedding sections are a GREAT start! There are easy ways they could modify how the clothing is arranged, and hopefully someday soon they will include that part of the store in this change.

      • I wholly agree with you. You can easily see it in their denim cuts, but realistically we don’t need different cuts on jeans until girls actually begin developing curves, at which point they aren’t shopping in the “girl’s section” anymore. (And really, if we could just allow girls to choose straight-cut “boy cut” jeans if they wanted to without having to label them “Boyfriend Jeans” that would be awesome…) Aside from the denim walls, the biggest differences are that boys have sports tees, girls have princess and diva messages; girls have dresses and leggings, boys will occasionally have dress shirts and slacks.

        Hopefully we’ll get to a point where we can have an easily fluid clothing section for children. Target already does this for babies – “girl” and “boy” clothes are still segregated to an extent, but they meet and have some crossover in the middle of the infant/toddler section. It wouldn’t be terribly difficult for that to also translate to children’s clothing, too.

      • The Firebyrd says:

        While I think in general this is great, I have to agree with Target on the clothing thing. My six year old daughter is definitely shaped differently than my eight year old son. Even if that is somehow unusual, girls start developing secondary sex characteristics as young as eight, when they’d definitely still be in the girls’ section. I wouldn’t disagree with a mingled character t-shirts section, but cuts of clothing definitely seems like a legitimate defense to me, even for kids.

        • Firebyrd,
          I have a girl and a boy, their physical shape is and always has been identical. They could very easily wear each other’s clothing. I have a friend with boy/girl twins. Her son is lean and wiry, her daughter is thick and curvy. Kids come in all shapes and sizes, regardless of sex, and clothing departments should reflect that.

  3. Andrea johnson says:

    My son is what they call a brony. He lives and breathes my little pony. He wears long hair and everyone thinks he’s a girl. If they don’t know him, he doesn’t correct them – doesn’t want to embarrass them. He’s very confident in his likes because as a child, we told him to be who he is and his tribe will find him. But there’s always been a certain amount of fear or shame going to the toy sections to look at mlp stuff – always in the girl department. When I told him target was doing this, he was really excited. Not just for him but for other kids like himself. Thanks you.

    • Hi Andrea,
      Thank you for sharing about your son! He sounds like a great kid! My heart hurts when you describe the fear and shame he sometimes feels. Thank you for letting your son be his own unique self and for supporting him. Would you please tell your little guy that if he ever wanted to color me a picture or write a guest blog post for us about how this move by Target makes him feel and what he thinks it will mean to other kids, I’d be happy to put it on the blog.
      Email me anytime! melissa.wardy@pigtailpals.com

  4. I personally do not think Target should change what they are doing. I have no problem with my children playing with a toy that is typically for the other gender. However, most toys are typically created for one gender or another. Boys typically play with boy toys, and girls with girl toys. I not saying it is bad or I am against them playing with toys that are not stereotypically created for a boy or a girl. I am just saying that we need to stop expecting places to make exceptions for people because of who they are. We do not need to provide special privileges for people because of race, gender, etc. We are going backwards as a country if we believe this way. I personally have no problem with my daughter wearing a shirt with Ninja Turtles, or even Transformers. Why do we have to create gender neutral departments to make everyone happy. This post is bizarre because why in the world would you be shopping for someone that you barely know? I don’t go out shopping for people I know absolutely nothing about. If your child has a bday party to go to ad you don’t have a clue as to what to buy – then buy a Target gift card.

    • Robert Hansen says:

      I guess all they are doing is taking down the signs. It isn’t like they are going to take everything from the shelves and throw it into one big pile. Seems silly since all they are doing is leaving it up to the customers to find where the girls stuff is or the boys stuff is. Acting as if certain norms do not exist isn’t going to help. Knowing that norms are not absolutes would have been a better goal. I am a man and had an easy bake oven when I was a kid. Wasn’t any big deal and that was 40 years ago. But the majority of my toys were boys toys. Oh well, I guess now you will have to hunt for boys and girls stuff, or ask the employees, unless they have been told to only reply “Stuff is over in that direction.”

      • Robert –
        Yes, exactly – They are leaving it up to customers to choose their own products based on interest or theme, not gender.

        Knowing that norms are not absolutes IS the goal, and this brings us a step closer to that. It doesn’t get us all the way there, but it is a step towards making the toy department more gender inclusive and allowing kids the freedom to choose for themselves.

        • Robert Hansen says:

          If that were true then they would put all the toys together without any regard to gender and let the customers sort it out, but that is not what they did. They simply took the signs down that said “Boys” and “Girls”. That would be like taking the “Men” and “Women” signs off of the restrooms. The majority of the customers would be upset, since they knew which restroom they wanted but couldn’t find it because it wasn’t labeled. Obviously, the toys aren’t kept behind closed doors and you would have to be an idiot not to see the girl’s section or the boy’s section even if it doesn’t have a sign. But if they mixed them all together, they could write christmas off their balance sheet because it would be a painful experience for the vast majority of the customers to get their shopping done if they had to search every isle. It would be like a library without a card catalog.

          This shouldn’t be about attacking norms, which is as sexist as attacking people who don’t fit the norms. It should simply be about allowing children to choose. And when they choose, what is so wrong about having a sign that says where to go for toys that fit their choice? Or do you think that a girl who is into boy’s toys doesn’t appreciate the convenience of a sign that points her to where they are anymore than a boy does? This is the part that doesn’t make any sense. Whether you believe that genders exist or not, the toys can EASILY be classified according to the concept, and that is all the signs do. Even the people here who believe strongly for this issue, use that classification when they speak.

          I still feel this is nothing but an imaging thing to deflect from their inept IT department’s security breach. Taking down a couple signs isn’t really going to change anything, except, imo look silly.

          When I think about over sexualizing girls, the very last thing that ever comes to my mind is the signs in the toy department. For that to be important seems to imply that you are not against over sexualization, but sexualization period. That is an extreme in my opinion, because we are sexual beings and that will always have a big impact on our culture.

          • Elizabeth says:

            But why do the signs, the ‘card catalog’ as you put it, need to say “girl” and “boy”? Wouldn’t it be more useful to have the signs say “building sets” and “baby dolls” and “action figures”. As a mother to a child who has interests in a wide variety of categories, I can tell you that it can be very hurtful for children to be told, by store signs, kids on the playground, or (supposedly) “well meaning” relatives that it is wrong of them to like something because “That’s for girls.”

          • Bob Hansen says:

            They don’t need to say girl and boy because it is obvious which is which and taking a sign down changes nothing. It is like lying as far as I am concerned and it doesn’t address the real issue, unless you think addressing it with a lie is addressing it. There is NOTHING wrong with a girl who likes boy’s stuff or a boy who likes girl’s stuff. Revel in the differences, don’t hide them and lie about them.

            Do you seriously think taking the signs down is fooling anyone? Even a six year old? I don’t liken a sign that states what is in the isle from the aspect of the buying patterns of genders to someone who badgers a girl for liking boy’s things or badgers them for liking girl’s things. If my daughter likes girl’s stuff and I want to surprise her and for her to know that I put some thought and effort into it, I want ideas. What I am supposed to do? I am going to go to the people who know about such things and that generally means girls. There is an obvious gender dimension to not just toys but all sorts of things, like books, movies and songs. Do you plan on banning any and all mentions of it?

            Most of the comments here are not from people trying to get the point across that there is nothing wrong with girls who like boy’s stuff or boy’s who like girl’s stuff. They are complaining that there is girl’s stuff and boy’s stuff to begin with. Well, there is, and I don’t see that changing , even without the signs, and complaining about it is as bad as complaining about a girl who likes boy’s stuff in my opinion.

            And I am against over sexualization, which I thought meant, well, sex, not gender and taste.

    • Matthew U. says:

      Well the whole thing could be said about blacks too, they used to be segregated but now they have forced that themselves into the masses but it’s not okay for someone that may want to simply feel included based upon their homosexuality or gender issues.

      It seems to me that you’re a bit biased, if gays must go back into the closet…..then everyone needs to go back to full segregation and follow old school ways of doing things, sounds ludicrous huh?

    • I think they are going to use signs that say things like “Building Blocks”, and “Dolls” to describe aisles. This should actually make it easier to find what you are looking for. Plus it won’t discourage kids who have non-stereotypical interest. I think for boys especially seeing a huge sign that reads “Girls” over their favorite toys can be disheartening.

    • Well spoken!

  5. Shame about the clothing. Then I suppose it would be so confusing… how would I know my daughter could wear a dress unless it was labelled ‘girls’.

  6. I am look forward to see the labels leave the toy department! I am a foster mom and when one of my young foster boys wanted a doll I bought him one. I had to go to the girl section to buy him what he asked for! He loved that doll and as a foster child who had no real idea of what a mom should be he started to mock all the ways I cared for him and his baby brother with this doll…feeding, changing, bathing, all the things he should! Three years later both of my boys (no adopted) still love that doll, kitchen sets (that my youngest wanted in pink) but also love all the so called little boy things! Weather they are playing house or tackle football they are two very amazing boys would can now at the ages or 4 and 6 years old can help take care of a baby, help clean, cook and still be their sweet little selves who are also very rough and tough! For the parents who think if boys play with girl toys the will be sissies or less of a man when they grow up! Stop stereo typing your own kids and let them be kids! Let our boys grow up not only as rough and tough men but as great father’s as well!

  7. I work for target and we’ve been resetting the toy department this past week (8/2) and swapping out, among other things, the wall paper behind the shelves into a neutral brown. We guessed it might be for some reasoning like this, but I don’t think we were ever actually told it was for pseudo political reasoning.

    I’m not sure I agree that tearing down sex stereotypes is the best way to fix the problems that are associated with sex stereotypes. I’m just not sure there’s a problem with having different cultural roles associated with a person’s sex. I think the problem comes with being closed minded enough not to embrace variety in general. My failing in my point is that I’m not sure how to solve the problem some other way. Can you remove the stigma of having a trait/preference or three of a different sex without having to remove the cultural differences. ie keep the differences but remove the stigma when someone bridges the differences? I don’t think you can, but I’m not entirely convinced.

    Meanwhile, I think this is less of a congratz to target but a congratz to society that has pushed forward (well, at least in what it retails) companies to embrace this strategy to get rid of the stigma. WTG us.

    • Hi Kevin,
      Thanks for your comment. I was at my Target store today and I think the new light wood look makes the toy dept look much classier.

      To answer your questions about gender and sex…..
      First, those two things are not the same thing. Sex is biological (male, female, intersexed) and gender is culturally defined. Some cultures officially recognize as many as six different genders.
      Second, the problem with having stereotypes around sex and gender is their limiting nature. They are generalizations that do not apply to all of the individual members. Replace “gender stereotype” with “racial stereotype” in your justification above and see if it still makes sense. Your question about removing the stigma without removing the (slight) difference that develop after puberty is a really good one, and that is what we are advocating for. Let people be people (whatever their age) and make their gender the least salient quality about them. So, through my work when dealing with kids I teach people “There are many ways to be a boy, there are many ways to be a girl.”

      This article from CNN might help to explain why the significance is so important: http://www.cnn.com/2015/08/08/living/gender-based-signs-target-feat/index.html.

      Thanks for the role you played in physically making this change!

      • Robert Hansen says:

        “Your question about removing the stigma without removing the (slight) difference that develop after puberty is a really good one, and that is what we are advocating for.”

        Slight differences? I agree with Kevin, this is worse than doing what is right, which would be to teach people that although there are common behaviors attributed to genders, that doesn’t make it an absolute. People are still individuals, not groups, even though they share characteristics with groups. I also think Target is doing this to rehash its image after the credit card breach.

      • Ted Mintski says:

        I’m fascinated to know what the six genders are. Please enlighten me.

        • Ted,
          In English, they are: male, female, transgendered, transsexual, two-spirited and inter-sexed. Six genders are recognized in Judaism (the Talmud of Old Israel) as well as in Native American, Indian Hindu, South American, African, and Pacific Island cultures. In Buddhism there is an old teaching that establishes there are three sexes, not two.

          Gender binary (male or female, with very different and distinct, disconnected representations) is only one example of a gender system. In many places in the world the concept of gender did not exist between the sexes until European colonialism and binary gender roles used as an additional tool of oppression.

          If you are interested in learning more, I would do a search on “gender diversity” and see what current literature or books are available.

  8. Happy that it all worked out!

  9. Jennifer Thompson says:

    I, too, took the same Intro. to Psychology class my freshman year in college. The professor had us ponder how radical and better it would be if we allowed kids to choose for themselves.

    As a naive 17 year-old, I vowed to have children that would choose their own toys and clothing and styles and ‘gender’. Then I grew up and had kids and realized that they need our guidance and it’s perfectly fine for them to be given gender specific toys matching their gender! And you know what? They still choose their own toys. My daughter plays with horses and her hair is long and she wears clothes appropriate for girls. Parenting isn’t absent of guidance, and I want my daughter to grow up healthy. If she is insulted by ‘gender stereotypes’ like ‘girls’ bedding’, I’ll know that she isn’t, in fact, healthy.

    The fact that Target is caving to groups like you makes me cringe.

    • Well Jennifer, parents who decide for their children what their gender will be and then buy stereotypes toys accordingly make me cringe.

      • Have you even heard yourself??? Parents don’t decide the gender. My goodness!!
        If it has a penis it’s a boy. If it has a vagina it’s a girl. End of!!!
        Who the hell gives any parent the idea that they can determine/ change the gender of their child.
        It’s tantamount to child a use!!!

        • I think you may be conflating sex with gender. Having a penis makes your sex male, having a vagina makes your sex female. Gender is a lot more about self identification and can be much more fluid. All toys and all colors for all kids, and to quote you Ally, “end of!!!”

          • Ok. Just answer me this. How far do you go? What happens when little Andy comes home and says he wants to be Andrea? Because, believe me, this is in the realms of possibility. Just follow it through to its logical conclusion. You want to make a girl outa your boy or vise versa? So, Miranda, what do YOU do if that scenario comes up?

          • If the scenario were to come up that my son realized that she was actually a woman then I would be smart enough to realize that it was not a choice, but a stunningly hard realization, and I would love her and respect whatever new name she decided to go by. Bottom line? I would love my child always. That is a parent’s primary job. That being said, if my son decides that he likes to play with baby dolls and play house and dress up, even if he decides he wants wings like tinker bell I will not re so ignorant as to assume that it means anything other than that he is a well rounded kid with a lovely imagination who sees the benefits in all kinds of play. When I was a kid I desperately wanted to be a pirate and Luke Skywalker, I also love to bake and knit. Does that make me some sort of freak who can’t decide what gender to be?

          • You bring your kid up however you want. It’s your kid. But at the end of the day, you’re right. It wouldn’t be a free choice for him.
            No it would be something of a reaction to the confusion he feels over his identity. Brought on by parents, educators and a culture that is turning boys into girls and girls into boys.
            It’s sick, depraved and satanic.
            I am so done with this post.

        • Cfletcher says:

          Ally are you not aware that “sex” and “gender” are two different things?
          You are so right though!! It is quite absurd to think that any parent should try to change the gender of their child! It is also just as absurd to think that toys, clothing, bedding, etc should be gender specific!!

          • Cfletcher – And absurd to think that toys, clothing, bedding etc could change a child’s gender……

          • It’s not about the BEDDING!!! Can you not see the slippery slope.
            Oh, you know what, it’s like talking to a child. I don’t care about the bedding!!!!
            ITS. THE. AGENDA!!!
            How many more times!!!!
            Think back to this conversation when your kids are on meds because they’ve list their identity!! When their heads are so messed up!!! When they don’t know who the hell they are!!!
            And again. It’s not about the bedding!!

          • Cfletcher says:

            Right… the crazy agenda that our children should not be told what toys to play with, colors to like, clothes to wear, friends to have, etc, based on their genitalia or their chosen gender identity? What’s insane is that these limitations were placed on them/us to begin with, and it has taken us this long as a society to wake up and take steps to change it.

          • Yes I am aware of this new fad of gender v sex. Children are very pliable. You start messing up what they THINK they are, and start interfering with their gende, they’re gona end u wanting to change their sex. It’s so worrying where this trend will lead.

    • When my (6) kids and I walk into Target (which we call our “second home” because it’s the only store empty enough and with wide enough isles for my big passle) and head to the toys, I really get angry at the toys stereotyping my children. I want to raise boys that are *good fathers*, who know how to do laundry and cook meals and hold babies and be partners with their wives…we are very family focused. Too many men get the idea that they get to go off and do fun stuff (hello, Lego section!) while women get to do laundry and cook (hello, pink walled section!).

      Gender “brainwashing” that happens within our society absolutely starts (as an example) the set of sports balls you buy your toddler are pink. That is their cue that pink = what girls should like. That is not born into a child. That is taught.

      • Absolutely this! I want my children to have the freedom to choose what interests them, without being influenced by what society thinks they “should” like because of their biological gender. I do not want my children thinking that “only girls” should play with babies, clean and shop, while “only boys” play with cars, superheroes and weapons.

        Those who are so against this change should really take a look at why they are against it. I mean, do THEY only like what society tells them to like? As women, do they not have an interest in cars, superhereos, or guns? As men, do they not like cooking or caring for their children? Many adults grow up with interests against “gender stereotypes” all the time, why is it so bad that we allow children to do the same?

    • So do you tell your daughter she can’t have “boy toys”? Kids will not be confused about their gender because they play with certain toys. I have a boy and a girl. They play with each other’s toys. Sometimes they both play dolls, sometimes they both play trucks.

      What do we accomplish by labeling toys “boy” and “girl”? We imply to boys it’s a bad thing to be nurturing (dolls are “girl toys”). We imply to girls it’s a bad thing to be interested in science (science/building sets are “boy toys”).

    • Thank you Jennifer!

  10. For goodness sake. Why can’t you let boys be boys and girls be girls.
    The only reason that kids want to be opposite sex is how you raise them.
    What is it with parents. You really wanted a girl but got a boy, so you steer him towards girls stuff?? It’s sick.
    No wonder there’s so much confusion amongst kids these days.
    The damage you do to kids psyche is unbelievable with all this crap.
    God created us male and female. Dress it up however you want with your gender neutrality. Boys have MALE chromosomes. Girls have FEMALE chromosomes. Deal with it.

    • Bless your heart, Ally.

      • I love your reply. There’s nothing you can say to people like Ally to make them see the light.

        • Really?? See the light. No, Holly, what I do see is kids being encouraged to swap identities. Just look at Will Smiths kids! No confusion in that family!!!! They cross dressed their kids up from an early age.
          I see the trans gender agenda kicking in. It’s the dissolution of family.
          So you’d be ok with some old guy sharing a bathroom with your girl would you, because it’s all gender neutral now? Paedophiles are gona have a field day. Stop living in cloud cookoo land.
          If your kid has a penis he’s a boy. If she’s got a vagina she’s a girl. Deal with it.

          • Even if I believed what you said about gender…that still doesn’t explain why having a penis or a vagina shod determine what TOYS you are allowed to play with!
            ALL toys are for ALL kids…it’s a nice thought that when I take my daughter to Target to pick out a toy she won’t feel restricted to the pink isle…she can peruse all the toys and pick what seems most fun to her! Why is that so bad?
            The board games and puzzles seem to have always stayed gender neutral in the back wall…and that doesn’t confuse kids…why should spreading the same display tactics to the rest of the department matter?!

          • Gretchen, if a lad wants to play with a doll or a girl a dump truck. Fine. No problem. I mean, action mans a doll. I was a tomboy as a kid.
            No, it’s this new indoctrination and the agenda behind this. Just like the Smith kids, having been indoctrinated, are now helping to push the agenda.
            We have full grown blokes in the entertainment industry donning skirts any chance they can. I saw David Beckham in one once!!
            This is not normal!!
            Sorry, but there’s an agenda. And the thing at Target is the thin end of the wedge.
            Please, if you care about your kids’ futures, do the research. It’s out there.

          • To be honest I would rather have my kid have the right to live in a world where being born with a vagina does not mean that they have to accept a definition of being a girl that is set by someone other than them. Or that being a boy means there is an entire world of toys and colours that you aren’t allowed to like lest it make you “girly” (as if that is a horrible thing to be). Your unfounded fears of transgender people aside (associating with the opposite sex does not a pedophile make,) what kind of a world is it where mothers honestly are afraid of their sons growing up to like any of the things that they as women like?

          • Adyan Farrar says:

            Ally, you’ve probably flounced at this point, but I want to address your “gender v sex fad” comment. The differences between the meanings of “gender” and “sex” reach as far back as, say, my 19th century Webster’s dictionary. Gender: being male or female; Sex: the characteristics of a male or female. So it isn’t a fad to recognize that sex has to do with chromosomes and genitalia, and gender is constructed.

            I’m a part of the community that feels that a corporation shouldn’t get to construct that gender for my child. As a parent, if you want to construct it for your child, that’s your choice. But as a parent also, I don’t want Target, or Walmart, or a teacher, or another parent, or a sibling, or you, or a friend, to construct that for my child. Do you see the difference?

          • Who decides what is “normal”? How did people in our culture come to decide that pink is “normal” for girls and that skirts are not “normal” for boys? I have an adorable picture of my grandpa in the 1910’s wearing a darling dress, and pink used to be a standard boy color since it was seen as a kid’s version of the masculine red. That is my same grandpa that grew up to be a taxi and a truck driver with 5 kids.

            Culture is fluid and it always has been; it has always been uniquely shaped by the balance between the powers that be that present a marketing agenda trying to convince people they “need” to be a certain way (so they can sell more stuff) and then by the individual people in society that make cultural decisions for themselves, regardless of what “society” says they should do. Culture is fluid, and you’re free to dislike it, I dislike a lot of it in fact, but I resist anything that limits a person, especially kids, by boxing them in.

            Therein is the question you should ask – why do I consider this definition to be “normal”?

            As for Target’s motivations, I think the only agenda they have is to reach more people to sell more stuff and make more money, and they are starting to realize that there is more buying power among boys and girls when they are “free” to choose from the whole toy section and not just a predetermined gendered section that encourages them to say “yuck” or “ick” or “that’s not for me”. So they are likely to sell more – I guarantee you that is their only agenda.

          • Go Ally!! It’s the same agenda I see. Destroying the family unit!

    • And yet some children have XY chromosomes yet no external genitalia. Or XX with external genitalia. How damaging to their psyches is it to be shoved into a gender binary box?

      Until marketing started, kids played with whatever was at hand. Like rocks or plants. The separation of toys into two distinct categories serves only to enrich the toy makers, not the children.

    • only people with working brain will understand you , Ally.

  11. I guess being a guy these labels never bothered me, now or as a child. But when shopping I want to find the men’s clothing quickly. And I certainly don’t want to head into some gender neutral restroom, and most parents most definitely do not want their children in one of those.

    • James, I couldn’t agree more!! Well said.
      Would I really want to share a bathroom with a bloke, or take my niece in there? The only people who would find this agreeable are paedophiles!! Easier access to our little girls.
      The worlds gone mad!!
      There is an agenda to promote trans-gender. We are feminising our boys and bitching up our girls.
      Patents who promote this should be ashamed of themselves.

      • James and Ally,

        Portapotties are quite convinient despite their lack of gender separation. Installing full size restrooms with plumbing at the baseball parks are just not cost efficient. It is a shame you are afraid of using them.

    • Nobody is talking about putting women’s dresses in the men’s section or having only one large bathroom. But as a grandfather, my dad is very thankful for the family restrooms when he needs to change a diaper.

  12. Brandy King says:

    Target: Thank you, THANK YOU, for listening. Removing the gender based signage and arrangement will go a long way to helping kids discover their OWN interests, regardless of what cultural expectations say. When my son wanted sheets, I let him choose from Target’s entire selection and his two final choices were flowers and trucks. I love that other kids will also be able to see everything together and choose what they think most interests them. THANK YOU!

  13. I also applaud Target for moving away from gendered signs and shelving. I think toys are toys, books are books, puzzles are puzzles, stuffed toys are stuffed toys, etc.

    Tools are not labeled as Men and Women tools. Nor are appliances or CDs or music or cars.

    Really, it’s just that simple. No agenda, no hidden message, no plot for “evil”. Just organizing what’s being sold in a more sensible way.

  14. This is fabulous news! Children are children and toys are toys. We need to stop telling kids what they should be playing with and let them follow their hearts.
    This is a step in the right direction and will hopefully lead to even more doors opening for kids to be their own true selves.

  15. Maya Roherty says:

    Well done Target! You have heard us loud and clear. It is 2015, no longer do we need to always define our children by labeling what they can play with. Let them be kids! And let them be the one to choose what to play with.
    Playing is the true “work” of a child and it should be led my them and not by adults who lead them to which toy to choose.
    I am so thrilled that soon when we walk into the toy section at target (and we do that at least once a week) that my child will we able to choose an aisle based on the toys in the aisle and not the color of the sign!!!
    Bravo Target!! We will be telling all our friends about this positive new change too!

    • Maya,
      Our local store has already begun to implement the change and the toy area looks so much cleaner and classy. Gender stereotypes aside, the natural wood background (I assume it is the same in all the stores from photos I’ve seen) is so much nicer on the eyes and showcases the toys better.

      Happy shopping! I went to Target yesterday for a laundry hamper and only a laundry hamper. I came out $70 later with twenty items….none of which was a laundry hamper.

  16. Personally, I’m excited for this change! Raising children In the era of pink VS blue feels like a constant battle of trying to figure out what they truly like as individual little humans vs. what pressures they are succumbing to so that they feel they “fit in”. My oldest is a boy, but will happily paint his nails with his little sister, then take it off before he goes to school. He is comfortable enough in his security with who he is to enjoy moments like that with her, knowing it doesn’t make him any less of a boy for doing so. She scoffs at princess dresses (after telling me that dresses are boring) and chooses to wear superhero or Viking costumes. The point is that if you expose them to everything, without the prescription of “you have to like this because it’s bathed in pink or blue” you would be surprised at the confidence and security they have in making their own choices and defining who they truly are.
    The gender marketing and societal pressure is pervasive. Big props to Target for taking away the pink and blue aisles and making them more person friendly.

  17. Glad to see the change. I am a grandmother, and the totally pink world for girls is not my favorite place. I generally shop local, where the toys are grouped by age appropriateness and by kind (puzzles, puppets, books, games, etc.) but when in a larger store, the separate and not equal sections were obvious.

  18. This is absolutely fantastic news! I can’t wait until this becomes standard practice. There are no ‘girls’ toys’ or ‘boys’ toys’ – just ‘kids’ toys’! We need to trust children to choose what they want to play with, and to give them the most level playing field possible to ensure that their choices ARE their own – not what they think society wants them to choose!

  19. I’m so excited! With 3 kids under 6, one loves spiderman, one loves yellow- which currently corresponds to minions, and the third little loves dump and fill toys right now. I think this year will be the first year I take them to any store to see what toys are a possibility to ask for for Christmas. I don’t want them to feel their choices in toys are only for boys or girls – they get enough gender biased pushed on them from adults and older kids.
    Thank you for all your hard work in getting our voices heard.

  20. Nice job! Kids are kids. They should be able to choose from whatever toys they want without being guided by something as arbitrary as color. There is no connection between gender confusion and toy choice. No child who is not transgender is suddenly going to become so based on their ability to choose their own toys. Can’t wait to see other companies follow the excellent example set by Target. I will definitely be spending more of my dollars at Target!

  21. Gabrielle says:

    I’m so excited to see that unnecessary gender division coming down. Kids should be free to play with any toys they like, without someone else telling them, with words or signage or colored walls, that it’s not for them. My daughter has always liked “everything” -no limitations on her. And she has often complained about toys and characters being described as “boys” stuff, unavailable in “girl” clothing and sold in a separate, blue toy section. Our kids deserve so much better than to be crammed into little pink or blue boxes. It limits their imaginations and their passions. I know so many parents who are thrilled at this small but significant change. Thanks, Melissa, for your efforts towards this and other changes that will really benefit our kids.

  22. Kind of silly the amount of backlash for this. Do we not have bigger societal concerns to address? Um, this is how toy stores used to be, until marketeers decided more money could be made by divvying things up. Grew up in the seventies, played with trucks and dolls and building toys, whatever interested me, as a kid should. And astonishingly, I am nonetheless a contributing member of society despite, or perhaps because of, playing with toys across the full spectrum of arbitrary gender designations…

  23. A kid-focused toy area is so exciting. I look forward to shopping for the age-appropriate items I want versus wading through boys vs girls to find things that aren’t either. Puzzles, books, dress up items, stuffed animals, and even dolls in sections labeled by toy. I hope other stores follow suit!

  24. I am so pleased with this move by Target and hope other large stores will soon follow their example. Perhaps breaking down these unnecessary gender barriers in the toy aisles will soon lead to more neutral and inclusive offerings in the clothing departments as well? Fingers crossed! Bravo for taking this first step, Target!

  25. My little girl just turned one. Target is one of my favorite stores so it makes me so glad that as she gets bigger, I can take my daughter toy shopping there, and she can decide what she is interested in, not what some marketing team has decided she -should- be interested in. Maybe she will like dolls. Maybe she will like building things. Maybe she will like superheroes. Maybe she will like artistic things. I want her to be free to make up her own mind!

  26. Oh thank goodness, one more place I can go with my son and not have to explain why people are saying “no honey, we are going to a girl’s birthday party, we have to pick something for her from the girl section,” a statement I actually overheard one day in Walmart.

  27. I’m glad to see Target move toward giving all children a broad range of options for play, bedding, and decorative items, and I hope other stores take note and follow suit.

    Kids shouldn’t be artificially limited in their play. They should feel free to make unfettered choices.

  28. What a brilliant move from Target. I agree it’s a shame they haven’t done this for clothes yet – my daughters love superheroes, etc. – but letting kids choose which toys and bedding they want is awesome.

  29. This is exciting news! I am the proud mother of a 10 year old girl and 7 year old boy and I hope target’s changes cause ripples through the retail industry that encourage other stores to follow suit.

    My daughter was never big on pink and princesses, but her toy options all but forced her into that small square hole. Her entire life I have searched for the gifts she wanted in the colours she loved and many times came out empty handed.

    I love being able to watch my kids strolling up and down the toy aisles, getting excited about what makes their hearts beat faster and their eyes light up. I don’t want them steered away or shamed because someone in a corporate office somewhere decided that toy is specifically for one gender. Let my children choose without bias or fear of recrimination what they love and watch them astound you with their imagination. Well done Target.

  30. Kelley Terrell says:

    I can appreciate it. I don’t want my very capable daughter thinking that she can’t aspire to be a police officer, firefighter, superhero or doctor simply because those characters are in the “boys” section. Stores should certainly not limit girls to being princesses and fairies or worst yet, fashion models! I wouldn’t want my son to think that he couldn’t be a world renowned chef or baker because those items are generally in the “girls” section. Building blocks are for everyone. Science and math are for everyone. Art is for everyone. Just my humble opinion.

  31. Really excited about this change. I have two girls with diverse interests (which span many target aisles) and it’ll be so nice to not have to head to the “boys” area for things they like. They can just be kids liking lots of different toys without as much stigma attached. Hooray!

  32. This is great! When I go shopping for things in my home, like tools, dishes, sheets, etc… I don’t go to the “Women’s” section of the hardware store or department store. Why would we divide toys by gender? Aren’t they the tools of childhood? This move to remove gender labels on these things is fantastic.

    As to clothing, there is no reason to separate that by gender either. For shirts, I tend to shop in the men’s section and get my pants in the women’s section. Pants are usually further broken down by cut and size. So, instead of gender labels, how about we call a spade a spade and label clothing by cut/shape. That’s really how most of us shop. I have female friends who fit better into men’s pants because of their shape. This isn’t due to being confused, it’s due to the wide variety of shapes humans of both sexes come in. I buy men’s shirts for the same reason. My shoulders are wide and my arms are long. I am not confused about my sex or my gender. I am confused about why clothing marketed to women doesn’t recognize my dimensions. Kids are the same. Take a look at a group of 7 year olds and you’ll see a variety of shapes and sizes. Taking the gender labels out of the stores and replacing them with size/cut info would be more helpful.

    • Robert Hansen says:

      “This is great! When I go shopping for things in my home, like tools, dishes, sheets, etc… I don’t go to the “Women’s” section of the hardware store or department store. Why would we divide toys by gender?”

      Because most girls like toys having certain characteristics and most boys like toys having other characteristics, and stocking them that way on the shelves makes it easier for parents and kids to find the toys they like. And “most” does not equal “all”.

      Note also that Target is not doing the same thing on the internet…

      “But the gender references for toys and other products will remain on Target.com, where gender is often used as a search term when people shop online, said Molly Snyder, a Target spokesman.”

      If this was anything more than a marketing ploy then they would have put their money where their double-speak is. Like it or not, boys v girls categorization of toys is really a big deal, even for people who are looking for boys toys for girls. It is a complicated issue. Is it about not having pink building sets with the other pink stuff, or is it about not having pink building sets period? If you put the pink building sets with the boys stuff, which doesn’t seem like a big deal, then how does the customer looking for the pink building set see the other pink stuff? Some things seem easy, like putting all the legos in one spot, but again, what if that isn’t what the buying patterns show? In other words, what if the numbers indicate that people more often buy pink stuff with other pink stuff? Why shouldn’t it be stocked that way?

      And toys are more personal than tools. Toys are more like clothes than tools. The majority of the toys aren’t really useful, played with only a few times and bought mostly for looks. Lol, ok, as a guy, I often buy tools that way to, but I have never seen a women buy tools that way.

      • Cfletcher says:

        Please tell me, what are the certain characteristics that most girls prefer?

        • Robert Hansen says:

          It ranges from colors (but not as drastic as pink versus blue) to soft things and pretty things. I guess you probably didn’t know that these gender preferences even exist in monkeys. I suppose monkey society made this happen? And then there are role playing toys, like makeup. Is makeup societal? Or is it just competitive?

          We can start at target’s site and just select Girls or Boys for gender and start making a list.

          http://www.target.com/c/boys-toys-ways-to-shop/-/N-5ouvg#?lnk=secondary_nav_section_2_link_0

          http://www.target.com/sb/toys/girl/-/N-5xtb0Z5vgmf?lnk=ToyFinderSubHero#navigation=true&category=5xtb0Z5vgmf&custom_price=true&min_price=0&max_price=1000&faceted_value=

          If taking down the signs means that some girl somewhere will now venture down the boys isle then great. But this isn’t going to change the stereotypes because those are based on norms which science says, and anyone who has been around a lot of kids knows, is much deeper than just culture. It also won’t change the fact that people will want to categorize toys based on these characteristics, just as a matter of convenience, whether it is for the purpose of finding boy’s toys for girls who like them or for boys who like them.

          Isn’t the real injustice denying anyone, girls or boys, access to toys they like, because of any norm? What if the monkeys are right, and you go overboard with your genderless notions and deny girls access to the stuff they actually desired? I work in tech and I work with intelligent women and all of us have experienced our sons and daughters wanting (and getting) toys from the other isle. And it wasn’t a big deal.

          Sorry, I don’t think signs are why boys and girls and monkeys have different tastes. I think the signs are/were there because boys and girls and monkeys have different tastes, on average, but not absolutely. And it’s just convenience to categorize toys by these characteristics, even for those who choose differently from the norm. Where would a girl look for boys things if they liked boys things? In a pile of everything?

          • Cfletcher says:

            I’m sorry Robert but I’m just simply going to have to disagree with your clearly well-researched dissertation. The separation in the stores is not created for convenient access to what boys and girls already prefer. It is there because of a FALICY that has been FED to all of us for too long that most boys prefer trucks and trains and blue and purple and sports and roughness and getting dirty and that they can ONLY like those things…and the FALICY that most girls prefer pink
            and princesses and soft and pretty and cooking and flowers and makeup and that they can only like those things. It’s just simply NOT true!!
            Robert it’s so much more than just taking down signs. It’s taking down the restrictions and limits that we are putting on our kids and saying trucks and cars and blue aren’t BOY things, they are for everyone! Soft and pretty and pink and fluffy isn’t the only thing that girls are supposed to play with, and boys aren’t. Those are old, and quite frankly TIRED and IGNORANT ways of thinking and I can’t wait for the rest of the world to catch up.

          • Cfletcher says:

            And I should have spell-checked FALLACY!!

  33. I will not miss the pink and blue aisles one bit! I’m happy that toys and other parts of the store will be categorized by type and interest.

  34. This is wonderful news! I’m so happy that Target will no longer be telling my kids which toys they should like. My daughter loves dinosaurs and Legos, and my son enjoys playing with toy kitchens, none of which should be labeled as “boy” or “girl” – toys are toys. I’m grateful to voices like yours, Melissa, for helping inspire changes that give our kids more choice and empowerment.

  35. This is fantastic! I think this will be easier when looking for a type of toy- only one section it can be in, instead of having to remember to check the ‘other’ genders’ isle. I’ve missed purchasing items because I didn’t realize they even carried them.

    This change isn’t about forcing neutrality where there are actual differences (clothes for people after puberty is a totally different story, or even restrooms for that matter)

    I see this as empowering- and a step toward society to empower our children to imagine (and becoming) they can be anything- doctors, pilots, mechanics, stay at home parents, hair dressers… All things that are not at all reliant on what genetalia they have.

  36. We shop at Target a lot, and I’m really happy for this move. Prior to this, my daughter’s interest in the Octonauts, Minions, or Minecraft made her have to go the “boys” aisle. It was coded blue, so everyone knew it was FOR A BOY. Also, my daughter who loves ANIMALS, had to go the BOYS sections for the Lego Creator sets that you could build into animals. ‘Cause the girls only had the Lego Friends, which didn’t feature the animals. My son, as a preschooler, loved insects and especially ladybugs. Most insects are reserved for boys, but wouldn’t you know, ladybugs are strictly a girl’s domain. It’s downright silly at times. Play kitchens are for girls–although everyone will tell you that most of the top chefs are male and the field is extremely male-dominated. But please, don’t let the boys know they can cook. Put that kitchen in the pink aisle, dammit!

    It will be so much more organized the new way, anyway. If I want to shop for Legos, I don’t want to divide my time between two different aisles trying to figure out which set is better for my kid’s friend’s birthday. (Seriously, at my Target Legos and Lego Friends were separate aisles, I am not joking. So annoying.) Have it all in one big section. Is it that hard?

    Also, put all the licensed characters in one spot–so we can decide more easily if the child would like the Hello Kitty toy or the Avengers one. Or the Minions or Minecraft or Octonauts or Disney. Big Hero Six can be right next to Frozen and the world will not collapse! And children will not be confused about what gender they are for having them next to each other. Really, they’ll be fine. And I’ll be happier because I might actually make it out of Target in less than an hour!

    • Yes!!!

    • Jennifer Thompson says:

      Should we do away with gender specific restrooms too? Just curious.

      • Our baseball field and parks have had gender neutral portable restrooms for years. No one seems to be confused. You enter, do your business, wash your hands and leave. You’d be surprised how similar the bathroom habits of women, men, girls and boys are once you start to think about it.

        • Bob Hansen says:

          Portable restrooms are single occupancy, like the bathroom in your home, and they are unisex, not gender neutral, which means they are built to accommodate both sexes. For example, a lid that lifts and a urinal. If girls find it convenient to sit in a disgusting porta-potty, then all the power to them. I find them disgusting even standing. Most of the comments here seem to be from people who simply don’t like pink. I don’t like pink either, but when I see Target’s girls room site…

          http://www.target.com/c/girls-room-kids-home/-/N-5k0wk

          It doesn’t cause me any discomfort. To each their own, right? Like this niche site.

  37. This is wonderful news! It allows kids to discover for themselves what they like. Let toys be toys!

  38. I am so proud of Target! This is an amazing step in the right direction. I hope that some day, kids can play and explore freely, without stores and people putting them in boxes. Way to crush the gender binary and encourage kids to be kids, Target! I’ll be shopping here way more often from now on.

  39. Excellent!! I can’t wait to see our Target’s toy section, no blue or pink wallpaper! My twins asked me once why they had only those two colors behind the toys. “‘Cause, Mommy, colors are for everyone. Don’t they know that?” I told them some people know it more than others. Thank you for being one of the people who know, and share with others, Melissa!

  40. Cfletcher says:

    This is excellent and exciting news! Thank you Target for hearing us, and taking a courageous step toward the removal of limitations placed on our children. I am hoping other big-name stores follow suite! I can’t wait to take my son toy shopping in the KIDS section!

    • Why do you have to say it’s a “courageous step”? It’s not courageous when we are bathed in media that is already heavily leaning toward everything gender-neutral. If anything, standing up for the old way things used to be (whether right or not) is a courageous step, because anyone who does, will be eaten alive by the media. It makes me sad that you think this step is “courageous” when it is just a marketing ploy… perhaps on par with the marketing ploy that created the “girls” and “boys” sections to begin with.

  41. I’m so glad they are removing the gendered signs. Children don’t need large corporations telling them how to think or what to like. My DD should be free to shop in any aisle. She plays with blocks, trucks, dolls and kitchen sets. All kinds of toys. I would rather let her imagination determine her toy choices.

  42. So very happy and excited to see this change! I also hope it expands to certain other items in the store–just yesterday we were trundling through multiple airports with my children, like a walking advert for Target. Both were wearing pajamas from the boys section (cars and monsters) and sparkly minions hoodies from the girls section, one toting a pink and purple carry-on with light-up wheels, the other waving a silver plastic magic wand. Two boys, happy and proud to wear and use what they choose, not just what was in the “blue” aisle. Thanks for making it a little easier for our family, Target!!

  43. I’m shocked by this news–and so, so pleased. Finally, corporate America is getting a clue about kids and their limitlessness. There’s no reason to box children into artificial gender expectations. Let kids decide what interests them.

    I hope this has a strong ripple effect.

  44. I’m excited for this! Two sons – one loves dolls, the other loves Lego bricks – and he shares sets with his female cousins. Colors are for everyone, and what others think of us is none of our business. Trying to help my kids learn this!

  45. Jennifer Thompson says:

    I think we should change everything to make it devoid of anything that could categorize people. I’m hoping that we can designate with ‘human’ since ‘male’, ‘female, ‘girl’ and ‘boy’ are so insulting now. I’m a little unsure of what to do with regard to age, though.

    Can we say ‘baby’ human clothes in Target, or is that ageist?

    What about ‘plus-size’? How do we handle that?

    What Target really needs to do is eliminate any and all designations. Put infant along with toddler, junior, misses, boys, mens, plus, sizes and maternity wear. Sure it’ll make shopping more challenging when someone is trying to find the slim cut Disney teen jean for a tall 10 year-old human with the sex of a female and the gender of a female, but hey. It’s about time, right?

    SO RI-DIC-U-LOUS.

    • Cfletcher says:

      Yep it sure is!! So glad you agree ?

    • Hahahaha!!! Seriously, what’s next?! & everyone knows… when you give a inch, they take a mile!! This does not end here.

    • Ridiculous? What’s ridiculous is that people are beginning to realize how unneeded gender enforced areas for toys-literally childrens toys, FOR CHILDREN, who should be able to play with whatever they want no matter what color the packaging is- and grown people are getting upset and making unnecessary hyperbolic statements because god forbid a couple of signs be taken down and now, instead of simply choosing something from a girl or boy section, they have to actually think about what a child will want.

  46. This is wonderful news! Hooray for Target for understanding that toys are for kids, not for ridiculous (and historically recent) social constructs.

    • Jennifer Thompson says:

      Historically recent as in since the dawn of humankind?

      • Cfletcher says:

        Yes well unfortunately ignorance has existed since the dawn of humankind as well.

        • …And in other recent news, archaeologists have just uncovered the skeletal remains of a young child, perhaps the oldest ever discovered. They have determined that the child is female, and was found with remnants of a pink pretty pretty princess dress….

      • Adyan Farrar says:

        Jennifer, the idea that a corporation gets to decide what will be labeled for boys and for girls is VERY VERY recent. As recently as the late 90’s, toy aisles were not labeled this way.

      • Yes, because back in the day cavemen knew that only girls could play with pick rocks and boys could only play with blue ones

      • Wether something is recent or not, does not make it good or bad. Violence exists since the dawn of humankind, and yet violence is not an advocatable thing.
        I don’t know how recent the genderization of toys is, but I’m pretty sure it is time to end it.

  47. I couldn’t be happier with Target’s decision! It has always bothered me that the toys aisles were so obviously segregated. Kids are kids. They can all play with any toy they want to. A boy shouldn’t have to go to the pink “girl” aisle if he wants to play with a kitchen set. Ditto for a girl wanting to play with cars and trucks.
    30 years ago toys weren’t really sold like this. And amazingly enough, most of us who grew up with just “toys” –as opposed to girls toys and boys toys–are now healthy, functioning adults.

  48. I think this is fantastic news. I hope it extends to their Australian stores too. Finally my child can walk into a store and have the whole toy section open to her, instead of just a few specific aisles, suggesting what she should play with. Removing these limitations on all kids expands their perception of what is available for them. Imagine the possibilities for a child who now has the whole of their imagination nurtured!

    Yay Target!

  49. How can toys for kids be a bad thing? How can a section that now makes it clear there’s toys about make a child question his or her gender? How can this possibly make a child think s/he now has to be anything other that what she is? A kid who wants to play with all the toys, not just the ones some corporate board decided he should play with. It’s about kids playing with toys. Not kids playing with toys that all of a sudden make them think they’re sharks or baboons. Jesus, get a grip. And thank you Target for leading the way!

  50. Speaking as someone who just had a conversation with my 6yo about being teased for wearing boys shoes, anything that makes it easier for my kids to use the toys they want without having other kids police them for it is ok by me.

    • THIS!!

    • Yes, I am surprised that no one has brought up the bullying aspect of this. If we aren’t “defining” certain toys as “for boys” or “for girls”, then kids (and parents!) will be less alerted to pointing out “differences” in them. For me, my oldest son is sporty all the way, AND he loves pink and rainbows. We have struggled for years with his grandparents who claim that he can’t like pink, and they can’t support his liking pink, not because it is bad but because kids will “beat him up” for liking pink. 2 problems with this 1. changing who you are and what you like JUST because of someone else’s opinions – Not okay and 2. his grandparents became the biggest bully in this equation. They are huge Target shoppers, and anything to reduce the messages that reinforce their antiquated, and limiting ideas, is great in my book. (they are also folks that are very susceptible to marketing. For example, they believe that the marketing ploy “all natural” means an item is unquestionably good.)

  51. Adyan Farrar says:

    Yeah, Target! Yeah, Melissa! Hooray for one (admittedly small) step towards kids being allowed to be who they are, without limitations.

    Two thoughts occurred as I read the blog post and many of the comments. Thought #1: The idea of a “slippery slope” makes me laugh. No, actually, it makes me sad. Being gay or transgender has nothing, NOTHING, to do with the toys one was given, or the bedding one slept in, or the colors one wore as a kid. Confusion comes from society telling a person, “THIS is the way you must act. THIS is what you should like. THIS is who you need to be,” while one thinks, “But I don’t feel that way. What’s wrong with me?” What would I do if my child were gay? I’d love them. And feel fear that they would be entering a world that wants to do them harm.

    Thought #2: But, honestly, this move by Target has very little to do with LGBTQ activism. Are ideas of gender identity a part of the LGBTQ movement? Yes. But ideas of gender identity are also a part of growing up. These little gender boxes that our children currently reside in are restrictive and problematic. “Building sets” — “Girls’ building sets” makes it sound like boys are the norm, and that girls are such freaks for wanting to build that we have to come up with separate signage for them. If we want to bring up the idea of “confusing” again, that is absolutely confusing!

    Will my daughter still be able to find doll clothing and Matchbox cars? Will my son still locate Avengers toys and art supplies? Yes. Will they be confused about who they are because these things aren’t labeled? Well, in the case of my son, no, because he can’t read yet. In the case of my daughter, she won’t walk away from the toy aisle wanting to write angry letters because the Legos were labeled “Boy’s building sets.”

    So I applaud the work that this blog and others do to bring awareness to these issues. I’m not sure I could navigate this thing called “parenting” without you.

  52. I am a little mystified as to why so many people are violently opposed to Target’s move to eliminate gendered signs. When I was a kid (in the 80s) toy stores were not segregated in this way. You did not walk into a department store and see aisles of all-pink and purple for girls, and all-boy aisles with construction sets and building materials. There were just toy aisles. I played with legos, and dolls, I took dance lessons and played in the mud with snakes. I had friends who had little brothers who played with dolls. None of us grew up to be serial killers or career criminals. We are all happy, well-adjusted adults. All that happens when you eliminate gendered signage is that kids can play with whatever they want without feeling ostracized or that something is wrong with them. I want my kids to have choices. Why would I pigeonhole them?

  53. Stephanie Felts says:

    This is great news. I don’t understand why some people are getting so bent out of shape about this though. You would like to figure out what toy to buy for a kid? Get to know what interests the kid has and now go to the Kid’s toy department to pick it out. If it’s building sets, pick one of those up. If it’s Star Wars or tea sets, do the same. This is a good thing. I am so looking forward to the pink and blue aisles becoming a silly, antiquated thing that I can tell my kids stores used to do to tell kids what they could like.

  54. Great move, Target! Kids will now be able to peruse the diverse offering of toys instead of feeling shepherded toward one type of play or the other.

  55. David Brinton says:

    Oh good. I hope this means girls will now be limited to shirts with angry looking, ready for a fight, girls on them, and my son will be able to find shirts with pictures of cute animals.

  56. This is great news! Small changes like this can still have a big effect on letting kids chose for themselves! Kids are kids and toys are for kids. Not girl kids or boy kids, but just kids. Kids have enough dangerous messages to worry about, they don’t need to worry about whether their toys are girl’s or boy’s – great step to let them like what they’ll like without fighting labels!

  57. Amy Boone says:

    Here is the letter I’m mailing to our local Target store today!

    Dear Target of Abilene,

    I love Target! I said it! It’s true! I am the crazy lady shopping with my Cartwheel app, my Redcard (debit only!), and my reusable bags! I love watching the savings add up! I’ve talked people in line into getting a Redcard! You guys might need to give me a commission! HA! Just kidding!

    I’m writing today, however, to thank you profusely for your forward thinking decision to take down the pink and blue backgrounds in the toy department and the accompanying signage. Children are children. Thank you for recognizing this. The trend over the past couple of decades to make all things girl pink and to clearly separate boy toys and girl toys has saddened me as I’ve raised my three children.

    When stores categorize certain items like dolls as girl toys, we limit those little boys who love pretend play and might actually enjoy make-believing he is a daddy or a brother. I grew up with a brother and he and I played for hours with dolls, Barbies, and paperdolls. At no point was there a discussion of those being items only for girls. When a girl with a natural bent to engineering has to venture to the blue boy aisle for a complex building set, little hidden messages are being sent that her propensity for engineering is a boy trait and that gifting really makes her a little weird. And we wonder why there aren’t more female engineers!?

    This move allows little girls and little boys to naturally and comfortably seek out their interests and gifts. What a positive move!

    I’m not sure it would be financially possible for me to shop at Target more than I do, but if at all possible, I will bring all my shopping dollars to a place like Target who is making decisions like this one that are in the best interest of children.

    Thank you again,
    Amy Boone

  58. I’m so excited for my girls to go to a place and choose toys they enjoy playing with. That’s it. End of story. It’s just not complicated so I’m glad a store is uncomplicating the simpleness of children and toys.

  59. There’s a chain of toy stores in Canada that has never used gendered labelling in its stores or on its website. I know lots of people who shop there and I’ve never heard anyone complain that they can’t find what they’re looking for or worry that kids might be led astray without a pink and blue path to follow. I’ve always taken my kids there to shop for toys since they can just look under “construction toys” or “arts & crafts” or “science & discovery” for what they want. Signage is in primary colours. Dolls are just dolls, not “girls’ toys.” Lego Friends toys are in the same place as all the other Lego. And kids love this place. They can follow their interests and browse the shelves without feeling that they are in the wrong section of the store. Nice to see a major retailer waking up to this idea too. As this Canadian retailer shows, there is no reason to segment kids’ toys (or other products) by gender. Just organize by broad category and let the kids decide what they want.

    • Which retailer?!

      • Mastermind Toys. I didn’t name them because I don’t want to appear as some corporate shill 🙂 I don’t have any vested interest in promoting them. I’ve just always liked the way they do business.

    • My SON loves Lego Friends! They have an awesome cruise ship, and kits that resemble real, everyday life (well, sorta, when you look past all the nail polish…). Point is, Lego missed the boat, too, in not realizing that segregating their market actually reduces their consumer base. Legos are kids! (not rabbits…. sorry, Trix reference).

  60. Marissa Fischer says:

    I want to live in a world where the toy shelves just say, “Dolls, trucks, pretend play, action figures,” etc. Not grouping everything together by assumed gender type. I want a bedding section that just says, “twin,” with all the twin sheets grouped together (or only separated by material and thread count). I’m hoping this is the beginning of a trend that will result in the end of rape culture. (far fetched, maybe) Where both boys and girls are taught that their self-worth is not directly tied to their genitalia (and what they chose to do with it), sexual orientation, or gender. Where varied interests are not a ‘threat’, but in fact contribute to being a better contributor, and a better well-rounded person. Supported by a marketing philosophy that emphasizes exploring and developing myriad interests, not shaming the consumer for not being enough – pretty enough, strong enough, masculine enough, feminine enough.

    Let kids be kids. The creative, gender-neutral play of today is the foundation for the leaders and innovators of tomorrow. #womeninstem #meninthehome #peopleintradesandtechnology #bewhoyouare

    • Robert Hansen says:

      Even if the majority of the people buy them that way, you want the shelves stocked your way. Is that what you are saying? And when we want to coordinate a bedroom, we are supposed to run all around the store to find the pieces that go together? Posts like your’s sound as sexist as saying that girls can’t shop in the boys section.

    • Marissa, I completely agree. Sorting things by a gender spectrum is just absurd. Going from “very feminine”, to “butch” over to “metrosexual male” to “Andrew Dice Clay”.

      It is just absurd, almost as absurd as a man calling what you just wrote sexist.

  61. When I was a little girl, I loved playing with my dolls. I also played with my kid brother’s toy tools so often that Santa brought me my own real toolbox for Christmas one year.

    When I was a little girl, I used Duplos to build a two-story home for my Trolls, who fit into my Barbie shirts and Barbie jeep pretty darn well.

    My twin brother and I both enjoyed our play kitchen-restaurant, which came in bright primary colors.

    When Beanie Babies became popular, my twin brother and I played with them together. Dolls were “for girls,” but he played the exact same make-believe games with me and our Beanie Babies that I did with my dolls. Maybe if dolls hadn’t been so gendered, he could have enjoyed those make-believe games earlier.

    I applaud Target for letting kids be kids, instead of demanding boys and girls act a certain way or play a certain way.

  62. I was so happy to find your website! For years I have cringed and complained every time I walked past a PINK aisle. “Why is pink the only color that has a gender?!?” I would ask anyone and everyone who would listen. Overwhelmingly bright, bold PINK. I myself had no interest in walking down that aisle! Believe it or not, not all girls like pink!! And maybe more boys would like the color if it weren’t so stigmatized. I had thought we’d gotten past these crazy stereotypes back in the ’70’s! Somehow our market-driven society has regressed in so many areas. I am really glad that Target has begun to see the light–and the color of that light is NOT PINK. I am hopeful that this will be start of a whole new age in marketing. Keep up the good work!

  63. A perspective:
    It’s still all about getting individuals to be worthless consumers who are incapable of actually producing or providing anything for themselves. And people will still kill one another on black friday.

    And people will still care more about the presence or lack of a sign, rather than the fact that their kids are playing with toys made in China with toxic byproducts that are destroying the planet. Or that all their electronics contain precious metals which are extracted using highly toxic pollutants which are unregulated and go directly back into the environment.

    Or that in 6 months when your 15 year old brat needs their 5th iPhone and you throw that ‘away’, it’s actually going to another place on this rock we live on called Earth. And someone will be paid pennies to extract whatever precious metal was used in the manufacturing of the phone. And they’ll die from working that job and the chemicals they’re exposed to over their lifetime.

    No, but your kid and your quality of life outweigh that when you can plead ignorance and push your head back underground.

    Or how’s this for perspective? The kids and adults in other countries who earn pennies while they make all this worthless cap for your entitled children. And you could not possibly ever stop buying things you don’t need because that would change things if people actually held reverence and conviction for the fragility of life.

    You think this is a priority? I think this is tertiary. Food, shelter, clothing.

    The logic of homo sapiens could be quite easily be used to delineate a sub-species of ‘domesticus fragilus’ with distinctive attributes such as:
    Complete selfish egotistical existence
    Devoid if any actual survival oriented skillet
    Depreciation of understanding of natural systems
    Only means of acquiring *required* possessions for *survival* are vía consumption/purchasing

    Gender identity is not going to save us from any of this. We’re all one. Wake up before you’re poisoned and there’s no clean air to breathe, water to drink, or food to eat.

Trackbacks

  1. […] this, the ripple effect will be significant,” author Melissa Atkins Wardy said in her blog, Pigtail Pals Ballcap Buddies, which promotes gender-neutral toys, apparel and other products for […]

  2. […] this, the ripple effect will be significant,” author Melissa Atkins Wardy said in her blog, Pigtail Pals & Ballcap Buddies, which promotes gender-neutral toys, apparel and other products for […]

  3. […] Melissa Atkins Wardy supports the decision and indicated on her blog Pigtail Pals & Ballcap Buddies that Target’s move is going to make wider change in the […]

  4. […] this, the ripple effect will be significant,” author Melissa Atkins Wardy said in her blog, Pigtail Pals & Ballcap Buddies, which promotes gender-neutral toys, apparel and other products for […]

  5. […] to be reckoned with when it comes to the way we think and raise our kids.  Be sure to read her blog post about […]

  6. […] does this, the ripple effect will be significant,” author Melissa Atkins Wardy said in her blog, Pigtail Pals & Ballcap Buddies, which promotes gender-neutral toys, apparel and other products for […]

  7. […] Children are listening. But it appears adults are not. Some of the comments in response to Target’s decision are shocking. […]

  8. […] Children are listening. But it appears adults are not. Some of the comments in response to Target’s decision are shocking. […]

  9. […] The first report I saw of this decision came from my friend Melissa Atkins Wardy in a Pigtail Pals blog […]

  10. […] US blog that aims to educate people on”how marketing, sexualization, gender stereotypes, and body […]

  11. […] are getting a ton of hate because the progressive company they work for did the right thing. The hateful comments are ignorant, sexist, and trans/homophobic. That just isn’t […]

  12. […] this, the ripple effect will be significant,” author Melissa Atkins Wardy said in her blog, Pigtail Pals & Ballcap Buddies, which promotes gender-neutral toys, apparel and other products for […]

  13. […] “This [Target] change is a step towards removing gender limitations in childhood, but when one of the world’s largest retailers does this, the ripple effect will be significant,” said the author of one sexes-hating blog. […]

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