The fight against gender stereotyping has moved a step in the right direction thanks to popular retailer Target.
The retailer officially announced its commitment to ditching all signage and product grouping in stores that designates a gender. In other words, no more "Girls" or "Boys" [insert product here] and most importantly, good riddance to those pink and blue-washed aisles.
Target explained in their statement posted to their website last Friday:
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.
Because of that, teams have been working to recognize gender-based signage to phase them out from stores.
"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," it wrote. "You'll see these changes start to happen over the next few months."
The change-in-motion comes a little over two months after Ohio native Abi Bechtel snapped a photo of a gender-based sign in June, tweeting at Target to "don't do this."
It went viral, with more than 2,900 retweets. But she's not the first one to acknowledge this problem. While girls and boys should be able to play with whatever toy they want, labeling toys based on gender has a negative effect.
According to Lori Day, an educational consultant and psychologist in Newburyport and author of Her Next Chapter: How Mother-Daughter Book Clubs Can Help Girls Navigate Malicious Media, Risky Relationships, Girl Gossip, and So Much More:
"Boys and girls stop playing together at a much younger age than was developmentally typical until this recent gender segmentation. The resulting rigidly stereotyped gender roles are unhealthy for both males and females, who are actually more alike than different," she told the Boston Globe. "This kind of marketing has normalized the idea that boys and girls are fundamentally and markedly different from one another and this very idea lies at the core of many of our social processes of inequality."
In other words, brands are subtly assuming and therefore shaping girls' and boys' likes and interests without giving them a chance to develop them on their own. And it shows.