By Alex Temblador
Target has been in the news quite a bit lately. They recently changed their breastfeeding policy to allow women to breastfeed in any part of their store which received an immense amount of gratitude and support from parents. Now, a few days ago, Target released some more great news for parents: they will be removing gender-based signs from a few departments in their stores.
What seems like a “sudden change” isn’t quite so sudden. On June 1st, 2015, mother, Abi Bechtel posted a picture on Twitter that received a lot of attention. The picture was a gender-based sign at Target that read: “Building Sets” and “Girls’ Building Sets.”
— A Bae Bechtel (@abianne) June 1, 2015
The post received a lot of commentary over the notion of gender restrictions in kids’ sections at stores. Consumers asked: Kids are kids, why the separation?
It looks like Target heard. Last Friday, Target released an announcement on their website stating that they will be removing gender-based signs from their kids, home, and entertainment departments. Part of the statement reads:
“We know that 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.
We heard you, and we agree. 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.”
Changes will include removing the words “girls” and “boys” from the kids bedding sections and label it as, “Kids Bedding.” They will also be removing colored wall paper, blue, pink, yellow, and green, from the back walls of their toy shelves. For now, gender-based signs will remain in other parts of the store: “In some cases, like apparel, where there are fit and sizing differences, it makes sense.”
Although Target isn’t the first company to remove gender-based signs (Amazon removed their gender-based signs in their toy section in May), it shows that there is a national discussion about children and gender and their relationship with consumerism. As blogger Melissa Atkins Wardy said in her blog Pigtail Pals & Ballcap Buddies, “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.”
Furthermore, this new policy change has been met with waves of appreciation and celebration from Twitter. We can only imagine that Target will not be the last company to remove their gender-based signs and we will continue to see the conversation on gender and gender identity in relation to children continue in the coming years.
So @Target continues to impress the hell out of me re: breastfeeding and gendered toys. I will be sure to stop and spend some money soon.
— SunshineInYourPocket (@esposa_de_oliva) August 9, 2015
— Jacs (@_jacs92) August 10, 2015
— An'Drea E. Hall (@andreaehall_) August 10, 2015
Kudos to Target. No more signs telling my daughters that the toys they're interested in aren't for them. https://t.co/fwgkNcd1Lz
— Derek Bruff (@derekbruff) August 10, 2015
When finding out Target is removing all gender related signs
— Hannah (@Musselmandh) August 10, 2015
Featured Photo by Mike Kalisnik