Target is in the news once again, but once again the retailer is on the cutting edge of society’s wishes. Just weeks ago, Target was in the news for being so progressive when it came to the store’s breastfeeding policy. Now Target is in the news for removing the gender labels from toys, baby items and home items after a social media outcry.

Target Called Out for Labeling Genders

Earlier this summer, a Target shopper expressed her displeasure with Target’s current labeling system on her Twitter account. Abi Bechtel tweeted “Don’t do this, @Target” along with a picture of a toy aisle labeled “Building Sets; Girls’ Building Sets”.

The post went viral and became something of a sounding board for society’s latest battle – overzealous gender identification. Why can’t we just have building sets? Why do they have to be marked differently according to gender?

Apparently Target agrees.

Target announced this week that they will begin using gender neutral signage in many areas of their store.

Gender-Free Shopping

Aisles that carry toys, bedding, books and home items have been labeled according to gender, either outright, or by using colorful wallpaper behind the shelves carrying the items. Pink walls marked the dolls and “girl” toys, and blue marked the “boy” ones.

But no more!

Target announced that over the next few months, the retailer will replace gender-specific signs with labels that no longer segregate children by gender, but instead speak to them (and their parents) as a group. All gender advertising in toys, home and entertainment will be removed in response to the requests by customers (and critics.)

Target claims, “We heard you, and we agree. 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.”

While gender warriors await these changes with great anticipation, Target reassures parents that some things won’t be modernized quite so quickly. Apparently clothing will retain labels for boys and girls to ensure that shoppers can distinguish between sizing and fit as clothing items do, in fact, vary by gender.

Target knows what it’s doing – replacing a few signs and bits of wallpaper to placate some will only spin into positive marketing to its most important (and financially stable) demographic: parents.


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