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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman


Targeting the toy trend

Early this August, Target announced that it will no longer categorize its toys based on gender.
Early this August, Target announced that it will no longer categorize its toys based on gender. While some people flocked to social media to express support for the chain, many others were outraged and threatened to boycott. PHOTO CREDIT: KEVIN DOOLEY

On August 7, Target announced the decision to eliminate “boys” and “girls” signs from the toy and bedding sections of their stores, as well as gender referencing colors, such as pink and blue, on the back walls of their shelves.

And apparently, it is the end of the world.

While the company’s decision has been met with some enthusiasm and support, some people feel outraged to the point of threatening to boycott the chain because of its “political correctness.”

Are you kidding me? Target’s decision to adapt its toy signs simply means a reorganization of how toys are categorized. Rather than by gender, which can reinforce stereotypes of how children of certain genders are expected to act, toys will be organized in more broad categories or by activity so children will feel more open to trying new things. How is that a bad thing?

Come on people, they are signs for toys. Toys that, if I may point out, are not going anywhere or changing in anyway. Boys and girls can still play with their Barbie dolls or action figures if they want to; the only difference is they will be in the “kids” aisle. Target is not replacing the Lego cars and kitchen sets with gray blobs of odorless clay.

Mike Walsh, a contributing writer to The Blaze, wrote an article about Target’s decision. He believes boys and girls are different in very “complex, concrete, and important ways, and many of the dreaded ‘norms’ are, well, normal and biological.”

Following this logic then, should it really matter if Target’s toys are labeled or not, seeing as each child is so well-aware of what their gender means that they don not need Target’s help? I have taken many science courses in my day and not one has informed me that girls emerge from the womb with a plastic cooking spatula in hand, ready to do as they are told. But maybe I am just sleeping through all the important parts of the lecture.

Recently, a woman tweeted a picture of one of Target’s toys aisles that held a sign saying “building sets” and “girls building sets” right below it with the caption, “Don’t do this.” The picture went viral and sparked a huge conversation about why toys are increasingly being segregated.

And while I enjoy the thought that Target based this decision solely on the hope of driving a culture change, it is likely that coming to this conclusion was a little more calculated.

Many other companies, such as Walmart and Toys “R” Us, have already made the switch and announced that they would be moving away from gender-segregated toys as well. Even Amazon has started sorting its toys by age and activity,  such as “Dress up toys” or “Building toys.” Maybe this is just the next big marketing strategy.

But none of this should matter. When you get down to the bare bones of it, toys are made for the simple purpose of providing happiness and entertainment to any person that claims the plastic wonders as his or hers.

So hats off to you, Target. You reminded us that it should not matter what a child plays with, as long as they are happy, entertained and most importantly, quiet.

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