After complaints from customers, Target is removing the gender lines separating bedding and toys for boys and girls.
The retailer says it will leave such labels for clothing because of fit issues.
The move is a response to a social media firestorm this summer, that happened amid increasing criticism in the wider culture that certain toys shouldn’t be designed for just girls, as though the default user of any toy is a boy.
Although it’s most often girls, their parents, and feminist advocates who complain about unnecessarily delineation of toys being just for girls or just for boys, many also sometimes complain that boys should be free to, say, wear pink.
Earlier this summer, a mother in Ohio Abi Bechtel sparked a backlash on Twitter that Target had signs for “Girls’ Building Sets” next to regular “Building Sets” and other shoppers joined her in calling for change.
“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 option,” Bechtel told CNN.
With gender blurring becoming more open and acceptable, selling a toy as only for a girl or a boy is indeed beginning to seem overly limited and sexist, even unhealthy.
That Target is making changes in areas beyond toys suggest that it's willing to take a bold step here, although it’s the kind of change that will likely go unnoticed by most customers.
And for now the change is limited to toys and bedding. Still, look some day for even mainstream retailers to find ways to make it easier for girls and boys to shop for some of the same clothing as well.