When I was pregnant with The Boy I had ideas. Ideas about how I was going to raise him outside of gender stereotypes and expectations. My son would not embrace violent games, super heroes or guns. He would play with dolls and cars with the same passion. And although I had no intentions of dressing him in traditionally feminine colors, I had no plans of limiting his wardrobe based upon colors. I was sure that my son would grow up without becoming the stereotypical American boy. Unfortunately, my son had no plans of following his momma’s ideas of what makes a boy. I figured The Boy was a lost cause, but my girls were not. I refused to over-pink their wardrobe and room, an almost impossibility in the early 2000s. I informed family that Barbie and Disney were banned in our house. I refused to buy anything that was too “girly”. But then my daughter saw those darn princess shoes in Target and fell instantly in love. She had to wear them everywhere. I found myself the mother of a girl intent on being as “girly” as she could be. Over the years my son fixated on big trucks, golf, dinosaurs, elephants and military. Despite my best intentions, my girls gravitated to princess dress-up, shoes and nail polish to go with their light sabers. I never let my kids limit their toys because they were “boy’s toys” or “girl’s toys”. They shared the dolls, the construction tools, the legos and the kitchen. They didn’t share light sabers which is why we bought one for each kid. As I look back on my 17 years of parenting I don’t remember ever limiting a child to purchase an item based upon it being a boy or girl item…other than clothing.
Recently Target announced they would move away from gender-based signs in certain departments like toys, entertainment and bedding. My first initial reaction was something like, “Are you serious?” before I moved on to something more important. I was not surprised to find that the announcement offended people. To sum it up, Target is forcing gender-neutrality on unsuspecting American families or making a courageous move depending on who is talking.
Here’s Target’s official announcement:
Over the past year, guests have raised important questions about a handful of signs in our stores that offer product suggestions based on gender. In some cases, like apparel, where there are fit and sizing differences, it makes sense. In others, it may not. Historically, guests have told us that sometimes—for example, when shopping for someone they don’t know well—signs that sort by brand, age or gender help them get ideas and find things faster. But we know that shopping preferences and needs change and, as guests have pointed out, in some departments like Toys, Home or Entertainment, suggesting products by gender is unnecessary.
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. For example, in the kids’ Bedding area, signs will no longer feature suggestions for boys or girls, just kids. In the Toys aisles, we’ll also remove reference to gender, including the use of pink, blue, yellow or green paper on the back walls of our shelves. You’ll see these changes start to happen over the next few months.
I’m still trying to figure out why this is so offensive. Other than ONE reported incident, most parents raise their children the sex or gender they are born. I don’t see this changing…ever. If we raise children without the stereotypical ideas about men and women is it possible that we will raise adults who embrace their masculinity and femininity with even more passion than today?
If you are offended by Target’s decision can I make a suggestion? Stop. It’s not worth being upset over. It’s not an indicator of our society going to hell in a handbasket. This is a business decision made by a corporation that listens to guests’ input on how to lay out a store. It’s not a political statement. It’s not an assault on religion. It’s not even a push for the end of gender. I’m not saying those things haven’t happened. But THIS decision, by Target, is NOT any of those things.
It’s good to defend what God had designed. But, we need to be sure we are defending God’s design and not men’s design. Just my two cents.