So recently, Target Stores announced that they would be removing the gender labels from their toys section and their children's bedding. So, effectively there will no longer be a boys section of toys that includes science based toys, dinosaurs, cars, trucks, play-doh and Legos, while the girls section would have dolls, crafts, jewelry kits, Lego Friends (such a garbage line of products, but not the point) and Barbies.
I think that this is, in a word, fantastic. Let me tell you a shopping story.
My daughter and I were shopping at Target. She was told that she could get one toy and to keep it under $15. Given the cost of toys these days, that can be a real challenge. She browsed the dolls, looking at baby dolls, Barbies, Monster High, and the Disney Princesses. She looked through the various project type toys: design your own string lights, color or bead your purse, fashion creation kits for your dolls. She wandered up and down aisles of the toys she believed she could pick from until she took a wrong turn and ended up in the last row of the boy's toys section. She saw some very cool looking science sets: grow your own crystals! Make a super bouncy ball! Make your own glow in the dark slime! She was enthralled. She started evaluating each one separately for their pros and cons: this one let you make 3 super balls, but it looks like you can grow more crystals with that one. This one has enough to make 4 things of slime, but not enough for them all to be glow in the dark. She spent about 10 minutes just staring at those boxes, knowing they were $13.95 and in her price range and could not make up her mind.
Then it happened: she looked up and noticed the string of dinsoaur toys, balls, sports related toys, super heroes. And she saw the sign: "Boy's Toys"
She put the three boxes she'd been evaluating back and wandered back to the craft kits.
I chased after her, "where are you going? I thought you were going to pick one."
"Those are for boys."
"No, these are for all kids, they're just by the boy section. Like an in between section for boys OR girls." "No, mom, they're in the boy section. I'll find some in the girl section."
Unsurprisingly, these awesome science kits weren't in the girl's section. No, there you could design string lights, or decorate a journal, or put a million semi-sticky gems on a jewelry box. No cool kits to pretend to be a mad scientist creating the slime that would cover the world in preparation for your evil take over. Ahem, got ahead of myself.
Eventually, I convinced her that the science toys were for everyone, and that she should feel completely comfortable picking one of them. We went with slime. But I had to stand there and counter everything that the set up of the store had pounded in to her head: boys shop in one section for cool science toys and have adventures that involved heroes. Girls shop in another section where they learn to accessorize and look pretty and make the room pretty.
I am delighted at Target making an effort to be less gender specific in their display of their toys and bedding (I'd like to see them force the people who make said bedding to include more female heroes, like Gamora, Princess Leia, and Black Widow, but that's another fight). I can't wrap my head around the people who have lost their minds and decided to quit Target because of a decision that allows kids to make their own decisions about whether a toy is for them or not. They can take their outrage and shove it up their nose. Me and my kid? We're going to be over here, checking out the science toys, which, as it turns out, can be for anyone now.
Oh, and here's the best thing: as people were outraged at Target's new policy, a brilliant troll on the Book of Faces has responded to them posing as Target (who has laughed and laughed about the whole thing). Here's a link