Point-Counterpoint: Not even a debate worth having

Story by Madison Wilder, Managing Intern
Photo courtesy of Youtube

Recently, Target has made the move to phase out gender labels from the childrens bedding and toy sections of their stores. The move was made not long after a woman tweeted a picture of a toy aisle sign reading, “Building Sets, Girls Building Sets,” with the comment, “don’t do this, @target.” The sign was suggesting to shoppers that the building sets were only for boys, and girls were offered alternative options should they wish to play with building sets.

An article by The Washington Post suggests that all of these moves were for the betterment of shopping, and I agree. As stated in the article, “toys used to be sold to kids in broad categories and organized by type, not by who would use them, according to Elizabeth Sweet, a sociologist and lecturer at the University of California at Davis who has researched how the gendered marketing of children’s products has evolved since 1905.”

Target has chosen to remove gender specific backdrops as well as labels from stores such as pink in the “girls sections” and blue or yellow in the “boys sections.” After learning how toys were previously categorized and sold, I am curious as to why gender specific toys have made an appearance at all. The stigma today around the gender debate and the rising demand for gender equality appears to me as something that should have never become an issue.

The move for stores to remove gender specific labels applies only to the children. Married couples are not ever headed to the “wife bedroom decor” section or the “Mens kitchen utensil” section. In afterthought, why did stores ever have a “boys building set and “girls building sets” section in their stocks rather than just “children’s.”

Labeling only children’s bedding and toys as gender specific was a trend like many others that is now shifting to something of the past and will hopefully be laid to rest for good in the near future. Debating over what children can and cannot play with or have printed on their bedspreads is a debate not worth arguing over. My bedspread is a patternless white duvet. If I wanted that as a child, what section would I have had to shop in? Boys neutrals or girls?

About the Writer…

IMG_4061 copyMadison Wilder is a first-year student from Grand Haven, Michigan. Her interest and hobbies include swimming, reading, being outside, and reading/editing newspapers.

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