Toys arent just “boys'” or “girls'”


Ruby Dennis, Staff Writer

No matter how much you try to reject traditional gender roles, it’s hard not to look at a pink-filled aisle of Barbie dolls and cooking sets and think, “oh, that’s the Girl section.”

And every single drop of that misconception comes from gender-based advertising. When you’re walking through Target, they want the girls to run towards pink, the boys towards blue, and the kids who don’t feel like either can just buy a book or something.

The same feeling can come from TV ads, magazine spreads, movie posters, cereal boxes, fast food toys… you name it! McDonald’s employees often ask Happy Meal purchasers, “do you want a girl toy or a boy toy?” The Girl toys are probably Bratz dolls or My Little Ponies, and the Boy toys range from action figures to cars. (Probably one of my defining childhood memories is making sure to ask for a boy toy for my sister, who always wanted the Spiderman figurines.)

But really? There’s good reason to this separation. Toys won’t sell any better if they’re in a certain section. Girls only ask for pink things because they’re told they aren’t allowed to do anything else.

Forcing small children into gender roles before they even know how to count is a steep slope toward influencing them to have negative feelings about their gender.

If a child is transgender, chances are they’re going to be bullied for playing with toys or wearing clothes that don’t fit their assigned gender. And it’s just wrong that marketing encourages this behavior.

Plus, there’s actually no point to it!

There’s nothing inherent that makes a doll “for girls” or a basketball “for boys.” Literally nothing.

Seriously, I dare you to give me a reason for this that can’t be explained by society’s enforcing of false gender roles.

What Target, Toys ‘R’ Us and every place that sells Legos needs to learn is this: don’t separate your toys by gender. And not putting specific signs up won’t fool me, either. We all know why the walls are painted pink in one section and blue in another (such a phenomenon easily observed at Lake St. Target). Paint them white or red like every other aisle in the store.

Because honestly… there’s no reason to make the distinction.