Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Target goes gender-neutral and customers respond

This post was written by Sanah Jivani, introductory sociology student, and recently appeared in The Sociological Cinema.  An earlier version appeared in SoUnequal under the title Target hopes to change the norms

This local newscast covers a recent Target store's removal of the "boys" and "girls" sections to go gender-neutral. They note the store is changing the symbolic pink and blue background colors to neutral colors. While in the past, girls played with Barbies and boys played with action figures, Target is transcending these distinctions to enable different toys,electronics, and bedding goods to appeal across gender boundaries. They note their decision to go gender-neutral is based on "customer feedback" and that separate girls and boys sections are "not necessary." Some customers reacted negatively to the switch,stating "Can you say publicity stunt?", "RIDICULOUS!!!", and "No longer a fan or opper of Target." In effect, these customers are policing the gender binary. One of the news shows' interns praises Target for the move toward "gender equality" and enabling children to "create their own person and not have to choose one thing because that's what they're supposed to choose" For related videos, viewers may want to check out similar debates about a J. Crew advertisement, a 5-year old boy who loves to wear dresses, efforts to make gender-neutral LegosFox news analysts that mock gender-neutral bathrooms, and peer sex educator that breaks down the gender binary.