Target made headlines last year when it announced that its stores would no longer post signs to direct customers to buy certain 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 creates 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.
Preston Eubanks, 10
Toy stores should continue to separate toys aimed at boys from those aimed at girls. Having separate aisles makes a store a lot more organized, so it's easier to find what you are looking for. For example, if you're looking for superhero toys, you would know not to look in the doll section. Even if the aisles are separate, boys and girls can still get whatever toy they want. For example, 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.
Phèdre Perkins, 10
Foster City, California
Toy stores should not separate toys by gender. 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's not healthy for kids to grow up trying to fit a stereotype. Every kid should try different toys. If kids aren't exposed to everything, they might miss out on a hobby, an interest, or even a future career. Let's allow all children to be themselves.