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Target will no longer sell ‘toys for boys’ and ‘toys for girls’

Target has listened to its customers and has now taken the bold move to makeover some of their store sections — namely, the kids’ toys and bedding. It turns out that not everyone is wild about the rigid “boy” and “girl” sections in parts of their stores.

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The move comes after mom Abi Bechtel’s viral tweet in June about Target’s weird toy signage. While her tweet was not the first complaint on the issue, it definitely got a lot of attention, and for good reason:

These types of signs are terrible because toys are for kids, and stores don’t need to draw a line in the sand to designate which are suitable for girls and which are suitable for boys. For example, if your daughter wants a Star Wars LEGO set, she shouldn’t be put off by a sign saying that maybe she should check out LEGO’s Friends line instead — and her parents shouldn’t be, either.

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Target’s announcement tells how the corporation will change, and it’s pretty uplifting:

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. For example, in the kids’ Bedding area, signs will no longer feature suggestions for boys or girls, just kids. In the Toys aisles, we’ll also remove reference to gender, including the use of pink, blue, yellow or green paper on the back walls of our shelves. You’ll see these changes start to happen over the next few months.

Gendered toys have caused an issue for parents and their kids for generations. Some parents believe that playing with a “girly” toy will diminish the masculinity of their sons, for example, or that girls who prefer action figures are tomboys. The truth is, though, that many boys like to play with dolls, ponies or other “girly” toys, and many girls like to play with heavy-duty action figures or other “boy” toys. But letting a child simply like what he or she likes and play how he or she wants to play won’t make your kid gay or an outcast. It just means letting them be a kid.

For a refresher, here’s how to decide if a toy is suitable for a boy or a girl.

As for Target, while most kids won’t notice a change in the stores, older kids might, and they may wonder why it happened. If your child notices and you’re not sure how to explain the changes, it’s pretty easy, and fortunately you don’t have to overthink it: Simply tell your child that Target has decided that toys are for all kids, and boys and girls can decide to play with what they want.

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Hopefully, other corporations will follow suit, particularly restaurants who hand out toys based on a child’s gender. However, change also needs to begin at home, and telling a little boy that he can’t even look at, touch or think about a “girly” toy is something that needs to stop. And girls don’t need to avoid pink and princesses, but they don’t need to be pigeonholed into those types of toys, either.

Good job, Target. Change is often slow to come, but when it comes, we notice.

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