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Toy Story

Many toy stores, like this one, separate toys made for boys from those made for girls. MICK TSIKAS—REUTERS

Step into a toy store. On your left, there are action figures and toy cars. On your right, you see craft kits and dolls.

Many stores put “boy” toys in one place. They put “girl” toys in another. They do this based on stereotypes. A stereotype is an untrue belief about people or things. Stereotypes are often unfair. For example, someone might say toy cars are only for boys. They might say dolls are only for girls. These are stereotypes about gender. They are not facts.

Taking Sides

Many people are taking a stand against gender stereotypes in toys. In 2015, Target made headlines. The company said its stores would no longer direct people to buy some toys for girls and others for boys. Target said in a statement that it did not want shoppers “to feel frustrated or limited by the way things are presented.”

Many people support Target’s move to mix up toys. They say kids should not be told to like one toy or another. Instead, they say kids should be able to choose what they want to play with. It is healthy for kids to play with many types of things.

Others think toys should still be sorted by gender. They say that makes choosing toys easier. It is good for toymakers and toy stores. It can bring them more business. They can make and sell the same toy in two different colors. For example, a sister and brother might not share their toys. Then their parents would buy them twice as many toys. So toy companies would earn more money.

What do you think? Should toys on store shelves be separated into girl toys and boy toys?