Free Kids’ Play and Imagination and Remove the Pink and Blue Aisles
Target is a fun place to shop for toys. But Target divides their toys aisles into pink and blue with toys meant for girls only or boys only. And the toys in those aisles show the worst and most limiting stereotypes. Building, engineering and robotics toys are found in the blue aisles, with stuffed animals, dolls, art and design toys in the pink aisles.
As girls, we think this is just wrong. It’s narrow-minded to think that kids today should pick toys by old stereotypes. We don’t want to be told who we are by the toys we like. We’re on the Girls Editorial Board of New Moon Girls and we and our members want the pink vs. blue segregation to stop now.
Molly Culhane, 14: “In preschool and kindergarten, I was what some people call a 'girly-girl.' I loved My Little Pony, princesses, and absolutely thought in terms of boys vs. girls. Now I see how ridiculous that is, and how much my thinking was influenced by toys segregated into pink and blue categories. I think all kids should have the opportunity to be themselves, without outside pressure sending the message that the only way to be is to fit into the category of pink or blue, boy or girl. Segregating toy store aisles into 'boy' and 'girl' aisles hurts kids' ability to be themselves, and absolutely sends the message that they have to be a certain way in order to fit in or be accepted, or even be 'good' at all
Phoebe Hughes, 14: “Gender divided aisles make me feel insecure with myself when I'm drawn to mechanical toys and toys that aren't preparing me to be a mom. I think boys would be more sensitive and respectful to girls if they weren't made to feel weak or homosexual for wanting to play with dolls. When the aisles are divided it divides boys and girls into specific roles which divides society and makes fighting for equality that much more difficult.
Autumn Lukomski-LaPolice, 14: “I used to love playing with trains. I would build elaborate routes, add stations along the tracks, and make up stories about all of it. Although the target market of these toys appeared to be boys, I never felt as if I should be playing with Barbie instead. I believe that is because my family has always encouraged me to defy these stereotypes. I didn't like all of the pink, glittery items that seemed to be rampant throughout toy aisles. If I received that sort of thing as a gift, I felt annoyed. Many people assume that purely because of your gender, you will like certain things. From a young age, marketers of these toys bombard us with advertisements and commercials. Subconsciously, when children see other kids of their gender playing with certain toys, they begin to associate these items to girls or boys. Ads and people alike reinforce these messages. These stereotypes need to end, and banishing toy aisle segregation is a step in the right direction.
Color-coding toys by gender stereotypes gives kids (and parents and grandparents) the idea that they should limit the toys they pick to the pink aisles for girls and the blue aisles for boys. Girls and boys already get too much pressure to live up to other people’s ideas of who we should be. We need the creativity to try out all kinds of toys and not feel judged for picking the wrong thing – that includes girls who enjoy science and building and superhero toys and boys who want to make art and play with stuffed animals and dolls.
We want to grow up in a world where both girls and boys have the freedom to choose our own interests and play with the toys we want, without stores trying to force us into narrow categories. Target does a lot for schools already that helps girls and boys equally. We don’t think they should be segregating girls from boys in their toy aisles.
It’s a very simple thing for Target to change. Just take down the pink & blue aisle walls and make them all the same color, or a rainbow of colors – then kids and parents won’t feel stuck in limited categories of what toys to play with. Girls who love science and boys who love art won’t feel judged or limited.
Please sign our petition to Target calling on them to free the toy aisles from harmful stereotypes.