Target announced on Friday that it will be discontinuing the practice of dividing toy sections into “boys” and “girls” toys, instead calling these sections “kids.” Target will also stop separating other children’s items, such as bedding, into gendered categories.
The push for this move has largely come from frustrated customers who want to see the store represent the many varying interests of their children. “Over the past year, guests have raised important questions about a handful of signs in our stores that offer suggestions based on gender,” Target remarked. “As guests have pointed out, in some departments like toys, home or entertainment, suggesting products by gender is unnecessary.”
The decision has largely been met with praise. Abi Bechtel of Ohio, one of the many parents who took to social media to express their concern with gendered toys, called “color-coded” marketing “regressive and harmful.” Bechtel lauded the company’s shift in marketing and for listening to consumers.
Mental health experts have noted that gender-neutral playtime has many positive impacts for kids. “Toys are a form of self-expression, so if you can increase that repertoire, you’re really saying ‘You’re OK,’ and as a result our mental health will be far better,” said psychiatrist Dr. Sue Varma.
Target says these changes will be implemented over the next few months.
Media Resources: Target News 8/7/15; Today Show Reporting 8/10/15