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In the 1990s, parents shopping for their children were the focus of a new ploy devised by marketers: gender-based marketing. Companies came to the realization that parents with children of both sexes could be convinced to purchase double what they would otherwise if kids' products were segregated by gender.
Since the implementation of this tactic, separate toys, clothes, and bedding for boys and girls have become the norm. However, in August, Target made headlines and waves when the company announced its decision to move away from gender-based signs. Target's decision came after pushes from shoppers and parent-led organizations pushed the corporation to realize that gender-based toy aisles are unnecessary. Target has begun phasing out gender references in areas such as bedding and toys. Rather than organize products by gender, they can now be found separated by interests and themes.
Supporters of non-gendered children's shopping argue that gender-segregated children's products needlessly shame children for what are seen as non-standard interests, while those in opposition claim that it hinders the ease of their shopping experience.
Praise and support have outweighed the criticism for Target's decision and the corporation has remained committed to this change. Target's announcement followed in the footsteps of European stores and brands which have steadily been decreasing their use of gendered signage. As we approach a new year and gender neutrality continues to be a topical subject, it is expected that major retailers will continue moving in this direction.