Target is taking some major, and deserved, heat for posting this sign
The battle against gender bias in children’s toys is no joke. The toys kids play with teach them values and life skills. And if we’re only teaching girls pink and sparkly values while boys get all the robot and race car life skills, we’re doing the next generation a huge disservice.
With that in mind, we’re all about giving adults props for fighting the gender equality battle on the children’s toy front. Today we’re giving major ups to Abi Bechtel, an Ohio parent who, as CNN reports, tweeted the following photo from Target while shopping:
The photo was accompanied by the 100% warranted message, “Don’t do this @Target.”
Bechtel spoke with CNN and gave her tweet (which has since been retweeted 2,000 times) a little more context:
“It stood out to me as a good example of the way our culture tends to view boys and men as the default, normal option and girls and women as the specialized exception,” she explained.
We agree, it feels weird to differentiate building sets for girls from, you know, just building sets. Yes, there are building sets that are geared specifically towards girls (GoldieBlox, Roominate, LegoFriends, to name a few), and because toys have been so strictly gendered for so long it actually does take some effort to get the word out that toys can TOTALLY be for both genders. We understand, that the the transition to gender equality in children’s toys might be a smidge bumpy but that’s why we need to keep each other on track along the way.
Target’s response to the viral tweet was basically that this is the way things are and that the store was just trying to let consumers know that they actually do carry building sets that are made specifically with girls in mind.
“We know families are tight on time and looking for inspiration. Therefore, we continually explore how to organize our stores and website in ways that will be convenient, appealing and helpful to our guests,” Target spokeswoman Molly Snyder told CNN in an e-mail. “Additionally, on Target.com, when guests shop for toys, they most often begin their search by sorting toys by brand, age and gender.”
So Target is using the retail default response, they’re giving the customer “what they want.” Still, Bechtel (anyone else seeing this Bechdel similarity?) believes that Target (and all retailers) should be giving us, and the children we shop for, more. To be fair Target also tweeted at Bechtel hinting that change might be on the horizon.
“I hope that Target and other retailers will pay attention to this conversation and consider removing gender from the way they market their toys. I think that the overwhelming response to my tweet is a good indication that there are a lot of consumers who would welcome that change,” Bechtel told CNN.
Here’s the bottom line: We love shopping at Target and we just want them to do away with the trends of toy gender bias. We want Target, to find a way to communicate with customers clearly and effectively, while simultaneously promoting gender equality and not antiquated gender distinctions.