We’re missing the mark on Target’s gender neutral labeling

Something that bugs me about the Target labels: This should have been done because of a conversation, it shouldn’t have been the start of one.

A little background…Target is taking away labels where labels aren’t necessary. It mostly seems to be in terms of changing things like the kids’ section. For instance, it will now say “Kids Bedding” instead of labeling it Boys or Girls. And, like all things, there was backlash….

First off, lets looks at their corporate page: https://corporate.target.com/article/2015/08/gender-based-signs-corporate

Secondly, lets look at a highlight from Buzzfeed: http://www.buzzfeed.com/javiermoreno/a-guy-posed-as-a-target-customer-service-rep-on-facebook-to#.fxo94jmb9

Okay, they haven’t actually moved anything around. I understand the fear that this will make the store harder to navigate and that it’s too politically correct, but to boycott a store that is taking away labels where labels aren’t needed in the first place…? Really? What we are failing to open our eyes to, is an issue bigger than the label.
People are so afraid of some one being different. A little girl wants Star Wars sheets for her bed and her brother wants to wear golden glitter shoes and people lose their fucking minds! But half the time I hear about kids being supportive about this stuff. And if they aren’t…
It seems that adults can’t possibly understand why a BOY would want golden glitter shoes. (Because they are totally rad-duh!) So while a kid might think that something like that is really cool, they’ve got their parents-people they look up to-trashing it. They are hearing all of these negative words associated with it and it becomes something negative.

I’m a twin. I have a twin brother and because we couldn’t have friends over all of the time we would often take turns playing with each others toys. In Elementary School everyone knew that I preferred GI Joe’s over my Barbie Dolls and none of the other kids seemed to care that it was a “boys toy”. Unfortunately, labels in the store don’t promote that same thinking. I remember being very shy about even walking through the boy aisles in Toys R Us because it was supposed to be for dudes. Not girls. I felt like I wasn’t supposed to be there. No kid should feel like that just because they want to explore something new.
Toys are a big part of a kids life. Having labels on everything takes the opportunity away from them to find themselves and what they like. This leads to other aspects of their lives.

So maybe the focus shouldn’t be on Target removing labels but the fact that those labels aren’t really needed in the first place. And (maybe) we should teach our kids acceptance, what bullying it, why it’s wrong, and why judging a person is the wrong thing to do. Children should be taught that everyone is different and comes from a different place then them and that’s okay. And some boys like Barbies and some girls like G.I. Joe and that’s okay. It’s brave to explore something different.
In fact, we should start exploring a little more. Don’t limit yourselves. Step out of your box a little and explore-even something small. In order for us to feel comfortable doing that (because tbh it’s the scariest thing sometimes because of what other people will say or do) we need to stop judging other people that are.