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Anna B.

United States

Starting from the Top

March 18, 2016

We’ve all seen it before. You walk into any big brand department store, and there it is, right before your eyes.  Rows of pretty pink barbies and dresses, all labeled “girl’s toys”. Then our eyes shift, to the blue policeman costumes and GI Joe action figures, marked with the irritating sign of “boy’s toys”. It may not seem like it, but gender-labeled products have been around us since birth.
“Oh, what a lovely pink outfit. What’s your daughter’s name going to be?”
“Oh dear, you’ve bought all blue clothes. What happens if your baby is a girl?”
Parents these days have certainly lightened up on the whole colors issue, tending to choose whatever color they see fit for their child, but companies have not. They continue to push, using pink all over their girl’s products, and blue for the boy’s games, toys and more. Companies need to stop enforcing gender-labeled products. They are the leaders of everything we see as normal in the world, and they need to take charge and lead the world to believing that gender-labeled products are a thing of the past.
If companies became more gender neutral, their customers may start to accept the fact that we shouldn't be using gender to separate sections of toys and clothes. One example of this is the store Target, who recently eliminated all gender labels on their toys and bedding products. Their personal statement on why they took the gender-less initiative was “We never want guests or their families to feel frustrated or limited by the way things are presented.”
Target has shown a growth in satisfied customers since this change in late 2015, a Target spokesperson told BuzzFeed on June 12. “In those stores, our guest research showed us that guests preferred having a variety of toys for their children, and they didn’t feel restricted anymore.” (Buzzfeed)
But there are more steps that need to be taken as far as eliminating gender labels in stores. Although many people argue that kids will fit in more if they play with "normal" toys, the fact that toys have gender at all shouldn't be normal. Companies need to take a new direction in their advertising that shows people that it should be normal for kids to play with and/or wear things that they like, no matter the color. For example, when companies say “Dresses for her, pants for him” in TV advertisements. TV advertisers also only use women and girls in ads for dolls, makeup, while they use boys for more “masculine” toy commercials. “A report from the TBAKN Inc. revealed that 37 percent of television viewers make purchase decisions after watching advertisements on television.” (White, Houston Chronicle) This stat shows that parents are affected by the gender of the advertisers on TV. Advertising companies, it is clear to see that how you advertise products can lead to how normal their beauty standard is. Reader, start petitioning for less gender labelled products and advertising. After all, if we want to make changes in society, we have to start from the top.
Derespina, Cody. "Target Going Gender Neutral in Some Sections | Fox News." Fox News. FOX News Network, 13 Aug. 2015. Web. 10 Mar. 2016.
Gonchar, Michael. "Should Toys Be More Gender-Neutral?" Should Toys Be More Gender Neutral Comments. Time: The Learning Network, 14 Apr. 2015. Web. 10 Mar. 2016.

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