Target Removing Gender-based Signs From Stores and Displays

Toys, home products and more will no longer be labeled by gender

Target removing gender specific signs
Target announced in a statement they will no longer separate out toys, household items, video games, movies, and books by gender. Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Looking to buy a doll for the preschooler in your life? What about some race car tracks? If you are headed to Target, you'll need to just simply head to the toy department and look around for the toy you would like, rather than depend on pink or blue signs or shelves to direct you where to go.

In a recent statement, Target announced they will no longer separate out toys; household items (such as bedding); and other things such as video games, movies, and books by gender.

Previously Target had grouped items together into "boys" and "girls" categories, with specific colors for shelves and signs assigned to each. Now all references to gender will be removed, with products instead being labeled simply for "kids."

"We heard you, and we agree," the company said in the statement which was posted to their website. "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 the move has likely been the works for a while now, Target came under fire on social media in June for the use of gender specific signs when mom to three, Abi Bechtel, tweeted a photo  of a display inside a Target store.

On an aisle, the sign read "Building Sets" and "Girls' Building Sets." "Don't do this, @Target" Bechtel wrote. Her original tweet has been retweeted nearly 3,000 times.  

"As my kids got old enough to notice that there was a distinction, my boys didn't want to go down the girly aisles,” Bechtel told ABC News.

“We would have these conversations about, it's really okay for kids to play with any toys they want to.”

"Over the past year, guests have raised important questions about a handful of signs in our stores that offer product suggestions based on gender," Target's statement said. "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."

Target said that currently, stores are organized to help people find what they are looking for, quickly. But that would mean certain items would fall into stereotypical gender roles -- toys such as play kitchens and dolls were placed in the girls section, where the boys section is where you would find cars and superhero toys.

"To help guests navigate our stores, we put a lot of thought into how things are organized," the statement read. "As part of that, we use signs and displays specially designed to help guests get through the store efficiently while pointing the way to more inspiration and great products."

Clothing displays will not be affected by the change, as there are sizing and fit differences between boys and girls clothing that needs to be considered.

"We never want guests or their families to feel frustrated or limited by the way things are presented," the press release said.

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