Last week, Target announced on their website that they will start moving away from using gendered advertising in their stores for some items. No one has to tell you that advertising has been problematic for decades, especially when it comes to how children are easily divided by told what’s “appropriate” to play with because of their gender (such as “Frozen” dolls for girls and “Jurassic World” dinosaurs for boys).
While Target mentioned sorting by brand, age, and gender can sometimes help customers find gifts for people they don’t know well, they admitted that many of the gendered signs in their stores are unnecessary and archaic, particularly for children’s toys. In their press release, they stated,
“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.”
While Target’s announcement is definitely a milestone for advertising, it is still a long way from removing the structural stigma associated when it comes to marketing toys for boys and girls. Hopefully, this will set a precedent for manufacturers, such as Mattel, so the gendered attitude of what boys and girls enjoy will eventually fade into obscurity.
Because, at the end of the day, let’s just allow our kids to have fun and learn, instead of providing barriers before they can even walk.