Should Stores Separate Toys by Gender?

November 4, 2016
MICK TSIKAS—REUTERS

Target made headlines last year when it announced that its stores would no longer post signs to direct customers to buy some toys for girls and others for boys. Much of the push to separate toys by gender has come from toymakers, advertisers, and stores. Using stereotypes—or fixed, oversimplified ideas—makes selling easier. Plus, if a sister and brother in the same house don't share toys, that can create twice as much business.

People who agree with Target's decision say children should not be told what to like, how to act, and what to play with. They say it is healthy for kids to experiment with different toys and interests.

Here, two kids weigh in.

TERRY EUBANKS

YES!

Preston Eubanks, 10

Syracuse, Utah

Toy stores should separate toys aimed at boys from those aimed at girls. It makes a store a lot more organized. It is easier to find what you are looking for. For example, if you want superhero toys, you would know not to look in the doll section. Even if the aisles are separate, kids can still get whatever toy they want. If a girl is looking for a Hot Wheels set, she will know where to find it. No one is telling her not to play with it.

COURTESY PHEDRE PERKINS

NO!

Phèdre Perkins, 10

Foster City, California

A toy is a toy! A girl might want to play with a "boy" toy. Who cares? It's just a toy! Companies don't care about you. They care about making money. Sometimes, kids pretend to like something just to fit into a mold. It is not healthy. Every kid should try different toys. If kids aren't given the option to try everything, they might miss out on a hobby or an interest they would enjoy. Let's allow all kids to be themselves.