“Targeting” Fear

What the heck just happened with the world, in respect to Target?

I’m reading about the (non)issue, and I just don’t get it.

In the TOY section, Target is going to stop labeling their products as either BOY toys or GIRL toys.

I didn’t read that Target is going to gut the toy department, remove every single item that looks like it might be fun, and replace them with gender-neutral toys. They just aren’t going to LABEL the toys. They aren’t going to send the message to little girls that they shouldn’t want race car sets or Ninja Turtles or whatever is supposed to be a masculine toy. Similarly, they aren’t telling little boys it’s wrong to want an EZ Bake Oven or a Barbie or whatever else is deemed a feminine toy.

When I was younger, I was told I shouldn’t read “boy comics.” My response was the 1973 equivalent of “Bugger off.” I didn’t stop reading them. Because Sgt. Rock was blowing shit up and rescuing people, while Betty and Veronica were arguing about clothes and boys. (Again, talking 1973, not today. I haven’t kept up with comics like I should have.)

And the bedding. For crying out loud, Target wants to stop dictating that girls must have frilly pink bedding and boys should have masculine navy blue bedding. They’re removing the signs. They’re not getting rid of all the colorful, Disney-inspired character sheets and replacing them with only beige sheets.

The people who ask how will they know what to buy their child?

Here’s a radical idea. Ask them.

Why is it important to close off avenues of creativity and expression in the name of being “gender specific?” Is there something inherently dangerous in a little boy wanting a sparkly pink lava lamp? Or in a little girl wanting boxing gloves instead of a Barbie? Or in what color towels they use to dry behind the ears they didn’t wash?

Are these same people angry at Starbucks because the drinks aren’t clearly delineated as being designed for men or for women? I would ask if they’re offended by bookstores not selling Men’s Books and Women’s Books, except I don’t think the people who are up in arms spend too much of their time in bookstores.

The way I see it, by removing the labels, Target is trying to give people more freedom of choice, not take anything away.

When did that become a bad thing?


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