Why Children’s Toys Don’t Need To Be Gendered

Last week, huge USA discount chain store Target committed the heinous crime of ‘de-gendering’ their kids toys/bedding sections, along with any blue/pink themed décor which would usually be used to indicate the intended gender.

Understandably, many have hit out at the company over social media. Imagine the horror when your young daughter picks up BOY Lego and wants you to buy it for her, because like the utter barbarian that all small children are, she doesn’t give a damn and just wants to build cool stuff. The consequences are unthinkable. Without novelty items adorned in pretty pink and purple, she may never realise the gender that was assigned to her at birth and live in trauma for the rest of her life! Wow, way to go Target! And now your ‘loyal customers’ will ‘never shop there again’! (Yes you will, you spoons.)

Not too long ago, I was out shopping when I noticed a mother and her two young children choosing their school pencil cases. The boy wanted one of those plastic see-through pink ones, which were very popular in the 90s over here in the UK. His mother protested ‘But that’s a girl’s pencil case’.  His sister proceeded to choose one with a pirate skull. ‘And don’t you start’, moaned Mother of The Year, ‘you know that one is for boys’. Since when, lady? See-through pencil cases and pirates are some of the best things when you’re a kid. And that’s what they are, kids. Can we not let them enjoy their innocence a little longer before they’re eventually forced into some form of gender conformity, somewhere down the line?

As a whole, I do think we’re starting to see gender more for what it is – a social construct. We’re slowly but surely opening up to the idea that people don’t necessarily always identify as the gender they were ‘born into’, for lack of a better phrase, yet there are still parents who will claim to love their kids unconditionally, but as it later turns out, are all too ready to disown them over gender roles. ‘I didn’t raise a little boy/girl!’ However, I can assure you, that the toys they play with has nothing to do with this. I should know, because I was always stealing and playing with my older brother’s K’nex, toy cars and football games as a child, yet here I am – cisgender and heterosexual. Shocking!

Here are some of the most hilarious(ly tragic) overreactions to Target’s decision for your amusement:

1.  ‘If it’s just toys and bedding, why cater to a few? Is there more to come? Sharing fitting rooms? Restrooms? Where does it end?’
Ahh yes, those ‘few’ kids that live in America are always given such absurd privileges. How many are there, like 5, maybe 6? You’re right, screw that tiny future generation. It’s not like they’re ever going to grow up into millions of adults, who could either turn out aggressive and bigoted or secure and tolerant. Is there more to come? Genderless CHEESE?!

2. ‘I guess now it’s “wrong” to be a boy or girl…you have to be neutral. Never heard of a doctor saying “Congratulations it’s a neutral”.
You may be aware that it’s not overly common to be born with ‘neutral’ genitalia. When the doctor announces the ‘gender’ of the child, he’s talking about what they have been assigned biologically. It may come as a shock to you that children’s toys and bedding are not catered for their genitalia. However, if you feel I’m wrong on this, please do turn yourself in to your local law enforcement agency.

3. ‘Target, Fire the Gender Neutrality Engineer.’
Clearly not a real job title. Who are you trying to fool? Captain, Set Phasers To /Facepalm.

4. ‘Unliked. And I will get rid of my Target card and remove the App. Signed by A Boy.’
Thank you for confirming your gender, Frank. I’ve always thought the font used on Facebook is just too neutral and politically correct. Perhaps you could request a more ‘masculine’ font for your posts to avoid any confusion and give them that extra edge.


… Nope, still looks like a dumb comment to me.

5. ‘Some liberal tree hugging employee who is transgender must have come up with this’.
Wrong. I recall seeing various blogs and forum posts over unnecessary ‘gendering’ of childrens’ toys for at least the past two years. Target were actually called out on it by concerned customers over Twitter. Check out Let Toys Be Toys if you’re still struggling to understand the reasoning behind it all!

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