News & Politics

Target Goes Beyond Gender Stereotypes

targetWhen you think of Target, do you think of:

A) the place you go for a package of toilet paper and come out with sixteen different household items?

B) that little bull terrier (whose name, I just learned, is Bullseye, and whose makeup, I just learned, is all-natural and non-toxic)?

C) gender neutrality?

If you answered C you’re on top of the news!

Parents—or really, anyone who has stepped near the toy aisle while looking for toilet paper but instead filling their cart with octopus throw pillows—know how intense the gender normativity is. On one side there’s the toys for war—that is, the boy’s toys—in a sea of red and blue and black. There’s aerosolized machismo in the air. And then there’s no-man’s land, that is, a sea of pepto-pink so intense that Barbie herself asked for a little variety. Everything is soft and flowing and nothing hurts or ever speaks up for itself.

Gender norm enforcement is bad for kids–a recent study, for example, concluded that “constant effort to manage one’s everyday life in line with gender norms produces significant anxiety, insecurity, stress and low self-esteem for both boys and girls, and both for ‘popular’ young people and those who have lower status in school.” Parents have been asking Target to change their gendered coding for years (yes, that’s five different change.org petitions). And not just Target–people have been asking stores to change their sexist ways all over the world, with varying success.

And now Target has announced something awesome:

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.

Bronies everywhere will rejoice at being able to get their Rainbow Dash comforter next to their everyday flannel sheets. Those of us whose kids don’t subscribe desperately to gender norms will have an easier time making that trek into the toy aisle. And kids who haven’t normally looked at different types of toys? Who knows–maybe they’ll be picking up something new. Hopefully, other stores will follow suit.

Thank you Target! I feel so much better about giving into your capitalist, kitschy wiles.

PHOTO CREDIT: TARGET

3 Comments

  1. Deborah Goldstein says:

    Such great news!! Now, who’s next??

  2. Clare Masson says:

    Happy to be flying back to the US soon so I can see this…. or is it a thing that will be slowly rolling out and won’t reach us in Wisconsin until sometime in 2018?

  3. Cool

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