Next time you’re in Target, don’t bother looking for “boys bedding” or “girls building sets.” That’s because they are being removed so that the sensibilities of some of their customers won’t be disturbed.
Target, still one of the icons of middle-America retail outlets, apparently heard from their customers that such signage could actually be “harmful.”
I’ve lived in the Midwest all my life and if one in a thousand midwesterners believes that, I’d be shocked. It appears there has been an organized campaign to get Target to change the signs — and it didn’t originate in Ottumwa, Iowa.
The big box retailer announced Friday that it will start phasing out gender-based signage in some departments. The shift comes in response to customer feedback that distinguishing between products for girls and boys is unnecessary and maybe even harmful.
Parents and gender equality advocates welcomed the news as a significant step with potential to inspire other retailers.
“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,” author Melissa Atkins Wardy said in her blog, Pigtail Pals & Ballcap Buddies, which promotes gender-neutral toys, apparel and other products for children.
“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,” said Wardy, author of “Redefining Girly: How Parents Can Fight the Stereotyping and Sexualizing of Girlhood, from Birth to Tween.”
Historically, Target used signs to help customers find products faster, the company said in a statement on its website. In some cases it makes sense, like with apparel, where fit and sizing differences between the sexes come into play, the statement said.
“But 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,” the company said.
“We heard you, and we agree.”
The changes will come over the next few months, the company said. Signs in the kids’ bedding area will no longer feature suggestions for boys or girls. In the toys aisles, references to gender, including the use of pink, blue, yellow or green paper on the walls of shelves, also will be removed.
So, if you’re so inclined, you can buy your male toddler bedding that features teddy bears or the Little Princess. And your female child will no doubt love the trucks on her sheets.
And don’t buy into the idea that “boys” and “girls” clothing will long remain designated by sex. That’s the next high frontier for the gender warriors who are out to make everything “gender neutral.” Because there’s no difference — biologically or otherwise — between boys and girls, right?
As I mentioned, middle America is going to be confused by this. Their brains are wired normally. Their reality is grounded in exactly what they see around them. The idea that there are not differences between the sexes might have them thinking someone is trying to play a joke on them.
Unfortunately, it’s all too real. And if I had a child I would do everything in my power to shield them from this madness.