Target gender neutrality good move

On August 7, Target issued a press release explaining how they came to the conclusion of removing gendered labeling regarding their Toys, Home and Entertainment departments. In grand American fashion, this progressive move was met with stark and swift criticism.

Detractors seem to think that if Target, a multinational corporation, refuses to label Polly Pockets as toys specifically for girls somehow their children will either explode due to an influx of confusion or become gay. Needless to say, both are ridiculous conclusions and border on hyperbole.

The true message in Target’s decision to do away with gendering things like toys and bedding is that children will no longer be shamed for their choice in pink linens or “boy’s” toys. A society that constantly indoctrinates little boys and girls on what they “should” do and what they “should” like has just gotten a little less restrictive—cue the celebratory gender-neutral confetti.

The little boy who loves Bratz dolls no longer has to meander into the girl’s aisle where he receives demeaning looks from parents questioning his masculinity just to buy his favorite toy. The little girl who adores all things Hot Wheels can proudly march over to the aisle without disparagingly being called a tomboy for her choice of plaything.

That is a good thing; shaming children into false identifications and constructed expressions is positive. In fact, shaming is never positive. Shaming is by its very nature a negative used to restrict and constrict expression and individual choices.  

If parents want to teach their children traditional, antiquated beliefs regarding gender, they can. Target’s refusal to color code or gender things will not keep parents from teaching their children their personal beliefs.

Parents are still the main influencers of their children and can raise them however they see fit. Unless it is physically or emotionally harmful, no one is going to stop conventional or otherwise gender-obsessed parents from forcing their kids to know pink ponies are for girls and blue bears are for boys.

Refusing to gender toys will not turn otherwise straight children gay, which is not a bad thing, and will not cause children to weep in a corner overcome with the grief of a changing world.  These are just fanciful delusions from an overactive, defeated mind.

This is another manufactured clash by those who cannot stomach constantly losing the culture wars in a continually progressing society. If Target had decided to quietly roll out this new change and covertly remove gendered labeling, chances are, no one would have noticed and no one would have been outraged.

People are not necessarily mad at what Target has decided to do, but more so at what their change in policy symbolizes—progression. Some will fight tooth and nail to make sure the world remains as rigid and stationary as possible, but that is not how the world works. Things are forever changing and moving forward and culture and department store signs are no exception. 

It is time to end the faux outrage. People’s shopping experience will not be made any harder by Target’s progressive decision. Not everything is politically motivated. Sometimes it just makes sense—sometimes, it is just the right thing to do. In this case, doing away with gendered signs was the right thing to do. Brava Target! If it is any consolation, those outraged can always not shop at Target, which will forever be an option.