The retailer is phasing out "boys" and "girls" sections in favor of a "kids" section. Shocking, right?
A few months ago, we reported on Abi Bechtel, a mom/blogger who took to Twitter to call out Target for what she perceived as sexist signs in its toy department. Here's the tweet in question:
She felt that the store was making unnecessary distinctions between gender, that both boys and girls should be encouraged to build, and that boys shouldn't be the default recipient for that sort of toy. Whether or not you agree with her (and many didn't), a lot of people on the Internet got behind her. Now, Target has heard their complaints, and is making some changes to its kids departments.
In a new blog post, the retail behemoth announced that it is fazing out all "boys" and "girls" distinctions in certain departments, including toys, home, and entertainment. The action figures will be next to the dolls, the pink blankets will be next to the blue ones, and the sporting equipment will be next to the sitting quietly equipment. Conceding that gender distinctions in these areas is "unnecessary," the post went on to explain:
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.
It seems like a nice gesture. Even if the original complaint was a little histrionic, why should there be a distinction between girls' and boys' products? If a girl wants to wear sports gear and play with monster toys, why should some sign tell them they're wrong? And why shouldn't boys play with baby dolls? They need to learn to nurture! To be clear, despite the many commenters saying otherwise, they are not removing the gender labels in the apparel section, as Target states plainly:
In some cases, like apparel, where there are fit and sizing differences, it makes sense [to label gender]. In others, it may not.
Of course, a decision like this couldn't happen without furious online backlash. People across the Internet are flaming Target hard for the company's efforts to destroy families and turn every kid into a genderqueer vegan. Here are just a few examples, taken from the comments sections of the blog post and Target's Facebook page:
"I saw that Target is "taking a stand against gender stereotypes" by taking away references to boy's clothes, girl's clothes, etc. We're taking a stand too. We won't shop at Target any longer."
"I'm "moving away" from Target. This is a good reason to start shopping local - I might pay more, but I'll be supporting decent, sensible businesses instead of looney-tune, politically correct corporations."
"The inmates are running the asylum."
"The only way to stop this is to boycott the store. I'm not even addressing the toy thing. What about the clothes section. Is then one section. I guess there will be a kids section, and an adult section for adults. Bras and jock straps same isle."
"Bye bye target.. since you dont reconize a girl and are now gender nutural Im standing up for Girls and boys .. the hail with this gender nutural stuff"
"Target, you get that you are playing the part of a, "Genetics Denier." Girls are girls and boys are boys, stop playing social scientist."
"First you will remove gender labels on toys, next you will sell lingerie in the Menswear Dept. I'm sorry Target, I don't support your insanity. I have a Target Credit Card (since 1997) but I will be canceling it first thing tomorrow morning. I will no longer shop at your store or support your twisted agenda."
"Well are the bugs genderless also Target??? Good grief charlie brown.. the world has gone insane including france owned target"
Of course, there were some positive comments too:
"Finally, recognition that kids don't have to be treated differently based on their gender!"
"Good job Target! Your statement of equality and inclusion, instead of hatred, bigotry, and ignorance has made me an even more loyal customer than I already was! Way to go!"
"Thanks for not imposing unrealistic gender roles on innocent children! I love it. You continue to have my loyalty."
"FWIW, Target, you will get MORE of my business now. Thank you for making the lives of kids who don't necessarily conform to gender stereotypes a little bit easier. You did the right thing, regardless of what the boycotters say."
What do you think? Has the PC movement gone too far, or is Target doing the right thing by trying to be more inclusive? Just kidding, don't actually tell us what you think.