Recently Target decided to just have a ‘toy section’ instead of ‘boys toys’ and ‘girls toys’. Good for you Target. This has caused a huge uproar with some Target shoppers, which I cannot understand whatsoever. Their reasoning for doing so was to stop pre-defining what children can play with based on their gender.
Of course, in the UK we don’t have a Target store here, but we have TK Maxx which has the same scenario. I’ve never given it a second thought when we’ve visited it, I’ve never realised until now, that they have no clear separation of boys and girls toys. It’s never affected how we shop, it’s never put us off shopping there. We have a boy and girl and we have always managed to find a toy, any toy, appropriate for them.
Children will never walk into a shop and ask ‘where is the [insert gender] toys’, they will make an instant dash for toys. They will have their preference of what they prefer to play with, but that decision is theirs and theirs alone. We can’t influence what are children want to play with. We can only buy for them, what we assume they will enjoy. For example, my son loves and I mean LOVES, to push things, hoovers, chairs, lawnmowers (childrens of course) and strollers. So, we bought him a little dolls stroller. It was pink. [cue gasps] He absolutely loves it! I was a complete rockstar in his eyes once I pulled it out. When he was learning to stand I also bought him a pink walker. Through no other reason than it cost pennies, the blue one cost around thirty pounds (exact same brand, so it truly was a bargain and I love a bargain).
Along with these toys, which could be considered girls toys, he still has his train sets, his cars, his action, noisy, flashy toys (which hurt like hell when they are used in combat). He’s also taken an interest in his friends dolls house and I have no problem whatsoever with him having one. I think this we will save as a joint gift for both of them at Christmas, since his sister will probably want to join in the fun.
A childs imagination doesn’t stop at toys ‘assigned’ to their gender, their imagination goes far beyond. My son doesn’t see a pink stroller, only for girls to use and dollys to sit in. He sees something to push and race around the house, something to ram into my legs for a laugh, something his teddy will enjoy being in, something he can sit in and be pushed around in. He doesn’t see a dolls house for girls. He sees a house with doors to open, little characters to walk around that house and his own house, somewhere to hide something he doesn’t want his sister to have. Our daughter won’t see a light saber as something only her brother will play with. She will see a long flashy stick, something to beat her brother with when he doesn’t share, something to use in gaming mode when playing with her brother, something that makes cool noises.
Toys are toys and children are children. All toys are made for the use of all children. Many do advertise only one gender playing with them, but if you decide to go against the grain and call a spade a spade, then good for you. There shouldn’t be a pressure or a shaming (including saying ‘oh, is that his?’) for parents to only stick with toys assigned to the gender of their child, they enjoy playing with what suits them.
Let toys be toys!
Also if you’re looking for something funny to read, have a look online at the Target responses to people trolling their Facebook page (it of course wasn’t a genuine member of staff, but someone with a bloody good sense of humour).