Story by Kirsten Fedorowicz, Reporter
Photo courtesy of Flickr / Mike Mozart
Target has just released a gender-neutral line of baby bedding, and it’s been subject to a surprising amount of discussion. The Superstore has been working to release multiple gender-neutral items, from toys to gardening gloves. Many see the releases as a political move that works towards debunking traditional gender roles. Many believe that the pink-vs.-blue bedding that is bought for children is teaching them how they’re supposed to act from the beginning. Sweden in particular has caught media attention for its movement towards gender-neutrality, including a Toys “R” Us catalog featuring girls playing with dragons and boys brushing a blonde Barbie’s hair. These movements seek to ease the labels children face in their toy choice, and try to normalize the idea that items belong to whoever picks them up, and are not defined not by their color or amount of glitter. All this is, of course, incredibly important. It’s just not everything.
Out of curiosity, I googled the gender-neutral bedding in question, ending up in the baby section. I was overwhelmed, but found that an entire crib set of bedding would cost the upwards of $70. That’s not just Target, but seems to be a fairly regular price at stores like Meijer or Kohl’s.
When I was two and a half, my little sister Autumn was born. The small age difference between us led to everything mine becoming hers. Looking back through baby pictures, I often find a picture of a 1998 one-year old me in a cute watermelon onesie, and a 2000 one-year old Autumn in the exact same outfit. It was easier and cheaper for our Mother to save her favorite items, from tiny bedding to miniature shoes. After the first child, baby showers are very rare. Baby items are expensive, and children are notorious for growing ridiculously fast and outgrowing whatever item bought.
If my sister Autumn had been born an Adam, it would have been harder for the hand-me down process. A brother could still use my pink crib sheets, but because the gender-neutral movement hasn’t succeeded yet, it would be seen as weird or socially inappropriate.
The gender-neutral sheets only seek to make life a little easier and more cost effective for moms. Target will continue to sell cute blue and pink sheets in traditional styles, alongside the adorable gender-neutral bedding. What the SuperStore is trying to do is bring better choices into the business. The bedding includes zoo-themed beiges and green oceans, as well as some cute Lorax-themed sheets. What’s more adorable than a baby wrapped up in trying to change the world?