Sunday, March 30, 2014

Letter to Target

I like Target. It might be a bit of a guilty pleasure in the super hippie, buy-local, boycott-corporations part of society that I tend to hang out in, but all the same, I like it. The clothes are comfortable (if a bit limited in color palate), the people are really nice, the stores are clean, and they usually have whatever it is I'm looking for.

But today, I really noticed for the first time just how gendered their toy aisles are. I've seen it before, but usually while rushing the kiddo past so he doesn't notice that there are piles of things he might want, like a princess outfit or a drum or a bike or cars or a doll or a new ball or any of the other fun looking stuff that's there. Today I was on my own, and perusing to see if they had a kid-proof digital camera. We're planning to give the kiddo one when his new baby cousin arrives to help him feel involved. "Take pictures, E!"

Anyways, the aisles with the "girl" stuff in them are not only filled solely with toys marketed to girls, but the shelves themselves were painted hot pink. Same thing for the boy aisles, but replace pink with blue. No dolls to be found in any gender-neutral way, no lego sets that aren't "girly" in the girl section...just a message of "These are the toys boys can like and these are the toys girls can like. The end." The only non-gendered stuff was the sports and swimming stuff, but even that has clearly been influenced - lots of black and blue and tan baseball gloves, but no pink ones. Swim stuff was available in all sorts of gender neutral colors, which means blue is an option for everyone, but pink is not. Ugh. I'm so sick of it.

So I wrote to Target Corporate. And I'm gonna Tweet them and Facebook them and hopefully, maybe, if they as cool of a company as I hope they are, they'll make some easy changes to their store setup, and not contribute anymore to making kids feel like they have to be a certain way. Cause kids definitely don't. I should have taken a picture today...I will next time I'm there.

Here's my letter. Fingers crossed.
I'm a regular Target customer, and I really like your stores a lot. But I hate the way your toys section is set up. It's awful. The "girl" toys are in shelves that are painted pink and the "boy" toys in shelves painted blue and the things that are supposedly gendered don't have to be that way. Why are all the Legos for boys? Why is all the dress up stuff only for girls? I get that you have to market things to a target (ha!) audience, but you don't have to play into it THAT much. I would be so much happier as a supporter of your stores if you sent down a directive to remove a significant amount of the pink/blue gendering of toys. Girls like legos, and cars. My son likes horses and crowns. And bikes, and sports stuff, and basically all the toys. But soon, he'll learn from society that some of those things aren't "for him." And it would be so easy for you, as a corporation, to not be part of that stupid message that makes kids feel awkward and inferior for liking things they aren't supposed to. Thanks for your time, and I hope to hear back from you, and see some changes soon.

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