After receiving flack for marketing toys separately to boys and girls, retail giant Target transformed its aisles to be gender-neutral.
In June of this year, Abi Bechtel, a mom of three, took to the social media platform Twitter to express her disdain for Target’s toy building sets built and marketed separately for boys and girls. The tweet which stated “Don’t do this @Target,” ended up being re-tweeted nearly 3,000 times.
In a statement, the company wrote that it was working to “phase out gender-based signage to help strike a better balance.”
Said the statement:
“Over the past year, guests have raised important questions about a handful of signs in our stores that offer product suggestions based on gender. […] 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.”
Bechtel discussed her children’s reaction to the Target sign in an interview:
“As my kids got old enough to notice that there was a distinction, my boys didn’t want to go down the girly aisles,” she said. “We would have these conversations about, it’s really okay for kids to play with any toys they want to.”
Target has vowed to change its ways by revamping signs in its toy selections and home and entertainment sections, reports NBC News. In addition, “in the kids’ bedding area, signs will no longer feature suggestions for boys or girls, just kids.”
The Minnesota-based retail chains says that it will “remove reference to gender, including the use of pink, blue, yellow or green paper on the back walls of our shelves.”
Says Rachel Simmons, the co-founder of Girls Leadership who writes about empowering girls and anti-bullying, Target’s move is a “huge deal.”
She told ABC News:
“It’s a huge deal that Target is going gender-neutral because Target is a trendsetter. Retailers have an incredible opportunity here. They’re opening up a whole world of possibility for these kids.”
Target is only one of a few different retail stores vowing to ditch gender stereotypes. In 2012, Easy Bake Oven was urged by a 13-year-old female to make a more gender-neutral product, and it did! The pre-teen said that her 4-year-old brother wanted to play with it but complained that it only came in colors for girls. With nearly 1/3 of the United States unable to cook, such a skill should be encouraged for both genders at an early age.
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