Blogger and mother of three Abi Bechtel tweeted this image of a sign she saw at Target in Green, Ohio.
Don't do this, @Target pic.twitter.com/cfh3cp5Nqa
— Abi Bechtel (@abianne) June 1, 2015
Here's how I imagine Target decided to put up the sign: "We have to distinguish the building sets from the girls' building sets. Building sets are for normal children (boys) who want to build buildings and vehicles. Girls' building sets are for girl children who want to build things for girls, like ponies and feelings. We can't get them mixed up, or else boys and girls might forget that they live in different worlds, or which one is better."
To Target's credit, it's not like this is part of some sexist conspiracy. They're just doing what they have to do to sell toys. In an email to The Daily Dot, a spokesman explained that they tried removing the gender indicators as an experiment. “In those stores," she wrote, "our guest research showed us that guests preferred having a variety of indicators that can help inform and guide their shopping trip. Additionally, on Target.com, when guests shop for toys, they most often begin their search by sorting toys by brand, age and gender."
So are the parents to blame? No, no one is to blame. But that doesn't mean we can't all help to fix it. And Target could make a small difference by taking down this sign, but they already said they won't. And that's fine. It's just a bummer.
Recently, toy companies like GoldieBlox and LEGO have begun marketing building sets aimed specifically at girls. It's a noble effort to get more young girls interested in building, which can't hurt at a time when the fields of science and engineering are desperate to recruit more women. All the same, it's a little disconcerting that girls and boys can't enjoy the same blocks. There's nothing inherently male about a standard LEGO set. Even LEGO seems to have forgotten that, although they understood it back in the 70s, when they included this note in their sets:
Everything about this is awesome. (via Reddit)