Let's All Just Keep Laughing, Jeremy!
August 13, 2015 8:34 PM   Subscribe

"Brands can't be as honest as they might like in dealing with haters on Facebook. But sometimes others can do it for them. That dynamic played out in particularly rogue fashion on Target's Facebook page this week. As the retailer received a steady stream of nasty comments from people upset about its move toward gender-neutral labeling of children's products in its stores, Mike Melgaard came to Target's defense—in a most provocative way."
posted by mannequito (129 comments total) 58 users marked this as a favorite
 
Brilliant!
posted by Samizdata at 8:41 PM on August 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


Judy Alley Carter: I read you also condoning Shiria [sic] law in Michigan. Shame on you, this is America.

Ask ForHelp: Judy, we at Target would just like to say one thing: Allahu Akbar.
Pretty sure sharia itself isn't compatible with abandoning gender roles... At least not the kind Judy is afraid of.
posted by Rangi at 8:48 PM on August 13, 2015 [11 favorites]


I've had the worst day today, what with the endless barrage of racial and sexist commentary at work. This helped.
posted by Marinara at 8:50 PM on August 13, 2015 [7 favorites]


I enjoy this, as I enjoy most Bugs Bunnyesque-Gonzo-activism kinds of things. At the same time I am kind of shocked that people cared enough to respond. I mean...they know that Target and other corporate stores weren't always insanely gender-segregated, right? I mean, I'm a little bit of an old, but not that much of an old, and I can recall the Searses and Wards and KMarts where the toy section was pretty much just a toy section, without a pink and a blue aisle. People are talking about this like it's some sort of attack on...whatever...but it's, like, a recent phenomenon that we got so simplistically gendered in the first place, it's not like it was our time-honored American tradition. Most of the people complaining are certainly old enough to remember that - right?

I don't understand. At this point I shouldn't be shocked at all what ignoramus Americans think, but I'm still shaking my head that this would inspire anyone's outrage or spur their virtuous "consumer activismtm".
posted by Miko at 8:53 PM on August 13, 2015 [58 favorites]


Target's corporate announcement has this footer:
Subscribe to our bi weekly newsletter and get the top stories from A Bullseye View delivered straight to your inbox!
"bi weekly"? "bi weekly"? The LGBT conspiracy goes even deeper than those Facebook commenters suspected!
posted by Rangi at 8:54 PM on August 13, 2015 [32 favorites]


So many people posting so much idiocy under their real names!

> People are talking about this like it's some sort of attack on...whatever...

It's the same kind of people who insist there's a war on Christmas. What I really love are the ones who accuse people in favor of a non-segregated toy aisle of being too thin-skinned....as they flounce off to shop somewhere else because apparently not have pink bikes "for girls" is beyond the pale. Oy. People.
posted by rtha at 8:56 PM on August 13, 2015 [32 favorites]


The Target post that's now on fb: Remember when Trolls were the kings of the world? Woo hoo! They're back and only at Target stores. [picture of troll dolls, you know, the ones with the hair]

I am not making this up.
posted by rtha at 9:02 PM on August 13, 2015 [114 favorites]


Goddamn, but those are some ignorant, bigoted people.

Why are so they so invested in strictly segregated gender roles? What do they think will happen if Target doesn't label toys for specific genders?
CUSTOMER: Hey, I'm looking for the toy section.

17 YEAR OLD TARGET EMPLOYEE: Hello, sir. Yes, it's Aisle 3, over there.

CUSTOMER: Oh, no, sorry, I meant the girls' toy section.

17 YEAR OLD TARGET EMPLOYEE: YOU HAVE GIRL-CHILD?! FEMALE GIRL-CHILD?!

[17 YEAR OLD TARGET EMPLOYEE swiftly draws a wicked-looking switchblade from their pocket, snaps it open in a practised gesture, and presses it to CUSTOMER'S THROAT]

17 YEAR OLD TARGET EMPLOYEE: YOU WILL BUY THIS TONKA TRUCK. AND THIS DINOSAUR. AND THIS MANUAL FOR MAKING GIRL-CHILD BUTCH-LESBIAN-ATHEIST-SATANIST. YOU MUST GIVE TO GIRL-CHILD. THE HOMOLORDS COMMAND. RESISTANCE IS FUTILE.

CUSTOMER: [Weeping] Please, no, don't hurt me! I have a daughter...

17 YEAR OLD TARGET EMPLOYEE: YOU HAVE GIRL CHILD?!

...etc.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 9:07 PM on August 13, 2015 [128 favorites]


It's also interesting how many cite "catering to a few" or "most Americans believe..." as if they really believe they are in the massive majority.

And how did everybody misunderstand that this was about separating clothes? I mean, nowhere did it ever say that.

So many of these responses made me laugh out loud. They're varied - he's no one trick pony.

Join MeFi, AskForHelp.
posted by Miko at 9:07 PM on August 13, 2015 [22 favorites]


I don't understand. At this point I shouldn't be shocked at all what ignoramus Americans think, but I'm still shaking my head that this would inspire anyone's outrage or spur their virtuous "consumer activismtm".

I don't think it's about the actual decision by Target at all for these people. They just see it as another thing that is changing and they're scared. They're probably unhappy about their state in life, look back on the past with rose-colored glasses and think things used to be better in some nebulous other time, and think that if they could just get back to that imagined past things would be simpler and they might be happier.

And so even knowing the logical reality of things and that in a lot of ways that past wasn't so great after all, they fight against anything they see as part of that change. I can't help but pity someone like that since no one wants to be unhappy. But it's pointless to argue the facts with such a person because they've got so much invested in it.
posted by downtohisturtles at 9:09 PM on August 13, 2015 [32 favorites]


Excellent troll, and damn, the comments he is responding to seem to come from a universe completely parallel to mine.

Admittedly, I live in a bit of a radical queer bubble. Like, the kind of bubble where I know enough genderqueer people that I occasionally forget that "they" is plural more often than not. But if this is representative of what the world outside my bubble looks like, I'm gonna have to start reinforcing the walls right now.
posted by ActionPopulated at 9:11 PM on August 13, 2015 [10 favorites]


Oh man. Very funny and I applaud this man. But, wow, people in America are embarrassing and small-minded. The grandmother somehow made me the most irritated because it is precisely her demographic which had made this gender essentialist marketing so successful. Lazy grandparents who neither take the time to learn what interests their grandchild really has or to consider what yet another rote, pink, frilly thing says to a little girl about who they are. Or yet another war toy says to a little boy about his purpose in life. Break. Hurt. Look pretty! Be helpless!
posted by amanda at 9:12 PM on August 13, 2015 [39 favorites]


Oh, I get it. I just don't really understand at an empathic level. I don't understand being that freaking scared and that unable to identify the causes of my fear. I also think some people do like to be unhappy, in that they do revel or find comfort in a sense of beleagured victimhood, perennially on the defensive, the underdog on the side of right always being attacked by barbarians.

It's also comic to me that people think their consumer protest statement (which will probably be forgotten the next time they run out of milk or need one of those weird light bulbs for the stove hood) means anything. I loved the AskForHelp response about how much Target would miss one guys "annual $120." Some perspective, folks.

I think this is cool, though. This guy is kind of fighting Target's battle while giving them plenty of cover, and they have total deniability while coming out looking relatively cool.
posted by Miko at 9:13 PM on August 13, 2015 [10 favorites]


Oh so funny. Excellent and righteous trolling -- who knew there was such an oxymoron?

Also, good for Target for making this move toward gender neutral clothes labeling .
posted by bearwife at 9:13 PM on August 13, 2015


Jesus Christ what do all these fucking idiot people do when there are no signs to tell them?

I'm imagining these idiot peoples' idiot children going over to play at a friend's house and standing, slack jawed, in front of an open toy chest, unable to select something to play with because it's not labeled "boy" or "girl."

Or, similarly, I'm picturing this brave new world of a Target that has removed many of its gender specific signs, and in my mind's eye I see a man with three days' growth standing in front of a display of t-shirts, unable to purchase one that he likes because it is not accompanied by a sign that says "Men."
posted by MoonOrb at 9:16 PM on August 13, 2015 [13 favorites]


Sometime in the past this ad busting art terrorist group bought a bunch of talking Barbies and GI Joes and switched the voice boxes and then reversed shoplifted them back into the store. There was this video of a young boy who got a GI Joe for Christmas that kept saying "let's go shopping!" He said it wasn't exactly what he expected but he still liked it and planned to keep it. Gendered toys cheat both boys and girls.
posted by njohnson23 at 9:18 PM on August 13, 2015 [65 favorites]


On the Target post advertising troll dolls, commenters are also pointing out that apparently Target is kinda behind the curve on this - Walmart and KMart and etc. have already dropped the gender-segregated sections of a bunch of kid things. Where oh where will these people shop?!
posted by rtha at 9:19 PM on August 13, 2015 [7 favorites]


HusbandandWife Lastname > Target
I want to say that I am totally against Target doing away with gender based bedding etc for children. We will no longer be shopping at your store.
Ask ForHelp: And we at Target just want to say that we are totally against couples having one Facebook account. It is ridiculous and just wrong. We will now be adding you to the "can not shop here" list.
Real talk.
posted by triggerfinger at 9:20 PM on August 13, 2015 [97 favorites]


A favorite comment from the Target FB page:

"By the ridiculous reactions on here, you would think that Target announced that they were doing away with shelves and departments and everything will just be in one giant bin and we all have to fight it out for what we need in the bin...oh and you have to be gay to even get in the bin."
posted by Miko at 9:21 PM on August 13, 2015 [90 favorites]


File under: how do these people survive from one day to the next
posted by Brocktoon at 9:22 PM on August 13, 2015 [15 favorites]


Wow, just wow.

Normally this Target announcement would come out and all of us Mefites would be like "too little too late, they're not even trying very hard," but all of the ridiculous exaggerated parodies of american humanity (I don't mean Mike's, I mean the people he responded to) make me just want to say "Go Target! I'm glad I shopped there today!"
posted by mmoncur at 9:28 PM on August 13, 2015 [2 favorites]


Also, the guy who kept taking screenshots for "forwarding to Corp", and then was like, "I'm on the phone with Corp in Minnesota right now". That was for sure a highlight.
posted by triggerfinger at 9:34 PM on August 13, 2015 [19 favorites]


i'm just glad that soon I won't need to go down two aisles to look at all the legos.
posted by Mizu at 9:35 PM on August 13, 2015 [10 favorites]


I wish I could find this guy and buy him a drink. Wow.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 9:36 PM on August 13, 2015 [5 favorites]


i'm so glad target is dropping these labels. the thing that i feel is getting lost in this change, the thing that to me is the bigger issue, is that the original complaint was a sign that said "building sets" and "girls' building sets" - it's that the boys were seen as unmarked and the girls were some sort of special group. removing the gender labels all together solves the immediate issue, but i wish we had a bigger national conversation about how prominent that idea is, that women don't make up just around 50% of the population and are instead some sort of fringe group.
posted by nadawi at 9:36 PM on August 13, 2015 [73 favorites]


As a seven-year veteran of Target, a "guest" saying they'll "never set foot in this store again" almost always translates to "I'll see you next week!"
posted by daninnj at 9:41 PM on August 13, 2015 [80 favorites]


I liked the guy who said he was already boycotting Walmart but luckily there were lots of other stores. Where does he live? Here, if I boycotted Walmart and Target I'd pretty much have to go exploring in the dense jungles of the Amazon if I wanted to buy anything.
posted by mmoncur at 9:43 PM on August 13, 2015 [4 favorites]


as a resident of northwest arkansas, i hear that, mmoncur! the idea of boycotting walmart is ridiculous enough here (especially if you extend that to 'things walmart/the waltons have given money to'). i frankly feel lucky that we have a target.
posted by nadawi at 9:45 PM on August 13, 2015


As a seven-year veteran to Target, a "guest" saying they'll "never set foot in this store again" almost always translates to "I'll see you next week!"

This is pretty much my experience with every customer-facing workplace, along with 'how dare you treat me like this, I'm a long-time customer!' from people who have maybe been to your establishment twice in the last fifteen years.
posted by winna at 9:45 PM on August 13, 2015 [7 favorites]


every time i hear the customer go on and on about boycotting, especially over stupid shit, i think of this steam group dedicated to boycotting modern warfare 2.
posted by nadawi at 9:48 PM on August 13, 2015 [7 favorites]


How come no one threatens to shop at KMart? Does Walmart really suck less than KMart?

Are these morons really willing to either pay more or be inconvenienced because Target is going to save some money on some cardboard signs?

(I can't believe that woman admitted to wearing a Pittsburgh Penguins uniform!)
posted by AugustWest at 9:51 PM on August 13, 2015


Looks like the image of the Allahu Akbar comment got broken. Hmm.

Let me know if I'm wrong.
posted by wallabear at 9:51 PM on August 13, 2015


Oh, Target, fine. I was gonna get all up in you pretty soon for paper towels and dish soap and toilet bowl cleaner, but now I'll also totally buy salt and pepper dispensing hedgehogs or some home decor item emblazoned to hell and back with chevrons and maybe (probably) more of my beloved boxer briefs. Because I love you. I just love you, Target, and I don't care who knows.
posted by palomar at 9:53 PM on August 13, 2015 [16 favorites]


It's not like the manufacturers are halting production of pink versions of every conceivable toy, so I'm not sure what these idiots are so scared of. Your precious princess can still play in a cocoon of pink blocks and pink dolls and pink trucks, you'll just have to find those things on the block, doll, and truck aisles, respectively. Oh, wait, that's what they do now, but with a sign that says "blocks and girl blocks", and now it will just say "blocks". WHAT IS THIS POLITICALLY CORRECT HELLSCAPE?
posted by gatorae at 9:53 PM on August 13, 2015 [17 favorites]


"The Predator Queers" is totally going to be my new band name.
posted by brecc at 9:55 PM on August 13, 2015 [14 favorites]


Why are so they so invested in strictly segregated gender roles? What do they think will happen if Target doesn't label toys for specific genders?

They're scared their kids will become gay if they play with toys of the wrong gender. That's why there's such a strong reaction.
posted by scalefree at 9:57 PM on August 13, 2015 [40 favorites]


Oh, god. I started reading the comments on a Parents magazine Facebook post about it... worst idea ever. Holy god most of those people are so stupid I am genuinely afraid for the children they are raising.
posted by palomar at 9:59 PM on August 13, 2015 [12 favorites]


@wallabear: "Allahu Ackbar" one is working for me, but another one is broken. Something's funky with these servers.
posted by brecc at 10:01 PM on August 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


They're scared their kids will become gay if they play with toys of the wrong gender. That's why there's such a strong reaction.

...and this is all part of, what, the secret gay agenda to trick them into buying toys of the "wrong gender" so that their kids become gay? That's literally insane.

I mean, I know you're right. But, wow.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 10:04 PM on August 13, 2015 [7 favorites]


We highly doubt you spend enough at our stores to make us go, "Oh no! We clearly have lost business from Bob Clark!"

Having worked in sales for 20 years now, this dude is now officially my hero. I can't tell you how many times I've wanted to give a response like this to one of my customers.
posted by The Gooch at 10:07 PM on August 13, 2015 [42 favorites]


Bad news, Kevin Smith: Looks like somebody already made Clerks III.
posted by aaronetc at 10:09 PM on August 13, 2015 [13 favorites]


Great flowchart graphic From palomar's Parents Mag link.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 10:17 PM on August 13, 2015 [32 favorites]


I started reading the comments on a Parents magazine Facebook post about it... worst idea ever.

If you want the real dregs of society, go over to the FOX News posting. Reading it may cause both your IQ and general patience for humanity's bullshit to drop at least 25-50 points.
posted by a lungful of dragon at 10:41 PM on August 13, 2015


These people are so full of shit it's just stupid. Remember this? When Target had the ad with the two gay dads last year? Yeah, all these chucklefucks were going to boycott Target forever then too. Clearly they didn't, since NOW they're going to boycott because Target is taking out signs that say "boy clothes" and "girl clothes."

They're full of hate, they're willingly, deliberately ignorant, and proud of it, they don't practice what they preach, and they are so weak-willed that they'll never stick to their guns about this stuff. They're just crappy people.
posted by nushustu at 10:52 PM on August 13, 2015 [14 favorites]


since NOW they're going to boycott because Target is taking out signs that say "boy clothes" and "girl clothes."

It's not even that bad. They're going to take out the signs that say "boy blankets" and "girl blankets", and the ones that say "Legos" and "girls' Legos"!
posted by leahwrenn at 10:57 PM on August 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


As the social media manager for a media/news org, this man's hilarious trolling made me laugh with joy and also worry it might happen to me. Some of his replies were so freaking perfect.
posted by davidmsc at 10:57 PM on August 13, 2015 [5 favorites]


It's breathtaking, how proudly they spew their hatred and loathing of people who are trans*.
posted by cybercoitus interruptus at 11:10 PM on August 13, 2015 [5 favorites]


So we know this guy's real name? I suspect that not all the people who he has trolled are simple Target shoppers, and if ANY of them have affiliations with the GameyGators or SickPuppies, he can expect a full mobilization of his local police department around his house in 3... 2...
posted by oneswellfoop at 11:14 PM on August 13, 2015


What wonderful advertising for Target. Somebody must be thrilled about all this free publicity.
posted by crazy with stars at 11:16 PM on August 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


Was there shrieking like this when Hamsleys went gender neutral?
posted by brujita at 12:52 AM on August 14, 2015


Target should have just said getting rid of gender specific aisles saves them a couple million bucks a year in signage and manpower costs and all the right wingers would be forced to praise them instead for looking after their shareholders.
posted by PenDevil at 12:58 AM on August 14, 2015 [21 favorites]


Ah, this is great. Truly, it brought a smile to my face. I wish I could experience the kind of enormous satisfaction this guy must have felt while gleefully sassing all these hateful people.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 1:06 AM on August 14, 2015 [4 favorites]


everybody stop josh taylor is on the phone to corp in minnesota right now and he noted the date and time
posted by obiwanwasabi at 1:35 AM on August 14, 2015 [36 favorites]


Target has been the scene of many, many disheartening experiences for me when it comes to parents vilifying their children for wanting a toy coded for the opposite gender. Just a few weeks ago I caught a mom ridiculing her 5 year old son for wanting a MLP doll because it was sparkly. And I mean he really, really wanted it -- he had it clutched to him like it was the most precious thing in the world and was giving it covetous looks.

"Gross! Gross, you don't want that. How could you want that? That's for girls only. What is wrong with you?! Put it back now!"

So you know what the kid did? He chucked the doll at his 3-4 year old sister and yelled, "Girl toys are gross! You're gross! Bleh!" Immediately! With the saddest, most confused look on his face. So upsetting.

Normally I just sigh and leave stuff like this alone but this time I couldn't help myself. I walked by and told the woman she was a disgusting and shameful parent who didn't deserve children because of what she had just done. She was so shocked that she couldn't say anything which was good because I was hightailing it out of there after my sudden stint as a Bold Person and didn't have a follow up plan that would have defined my actions had she gotten mad at me.
posted by Hermione Granger at 1:36 AM on August 14, 2015 [220 favorites]


The only ray of light in this for me is that (unless my memories of using facebook have faded), the "target" comments were generally getting thumbs up from people I assume must be "friends" of the idgits.

And the Josh character...Jeebus. I'm sure he's well-known to all of the local authorities as the person constantly registering official complaints about every rule infraction he ever sees. The homeowner's association board member writ large.

I'm so tired of a world full of him.
posted by maxwelton at 2:02 AM on August 14, 2015 [2 favorites]


Taking this to the next level would probably involve some form of pamphlet with instructions on gender and toys.
posted by mikurski at 2:10 AM on August 14, 2015 [2 favorites]


They're scared their kids will become gay if they play with toys of the wrong gender. That's why there's such a strong reaction.

Miko had a great point up thread about how the hyper-explicit gendering of kids toys and everything else is a fairly recent phenomenon. And I think there are a couple different factors in play, apart from just simple bigotry (though absolutely there's that ingredient in the brew, too): 1) The shift from mass to niche marketing, that the adoption of Internet advertising tech and media industry trends have sped along; and 2) the increasing rate of flow of new information in people's lives due to the more connected, information rich character of contemporary life. Both of these factors introduce more frequent and vigorous challenges to people's mental constructs of their own personal identity, because the sense of personal identity originates in a combination of social narratives, personal narratives, and biological tendencies. Niche marketing tries to fit people into socially constructed narratives that may challenge people's own personal narratives and biological tendencies, and the more rapid flow of information can also put pressure on and destabilize the socially and personally constructed narratives that contribute to a person's sense of self. When people feel that who they think they are is under attack, they tend to become belligerent and defensive, and to retreat to like-minded groups to get more reinforcement for their preferred social narratives. tl; dr: Good on Target for doing their part to help reverse the trend. I think the trend toward uber-gendering everything is related to a broader social/cultural trend toward neurotic preoccupation with personal identity that's stirring up all kinds of natural but potentially nasty in/out group tensions in society. (Sorry to take such an abstract, impersonal view of it, but I think there is something interesting going on at that level of the problem.)
posted by saulgoodman at 4:17 AM on August 14, 2015 [16 favorites]


Normally I just sigh and leave stuff like this alone but this time I couldn't help myself. I walked by and told the woman she was a disgusting and shameful parent who didn't deserve children because of what she had just done. She was so shocked that she couldn't say anything which was good because I was hightailing it out of there after my sudden stint as a Bold Person and didn't have a follow up plan that would have defined my actions had she gotten mad at me.

Hermione Granger, you are my hero.
posted by winna at 4:50 AM on August 14, 2015 [24 favorites]


THOUGHTS WHILE SHOPPING AT TARGET, OFFICIAL RETAILER OF LIBERAL PC NONSENSE

I am furious about Target taking down gender labels on the toy aisles. How will I find appropriate toys for my children? Am I supposed to talk to them and find out what they like? Talking to children is women's work. Ridiculous!

...

Also: there are not separate men's and women's luggage aisles, and I need a new suitcase. Which ones are the man ones? How can I ever figure this out? What do I like? Who am I really? Kind of having an existential crisis here.

...

Have a few more school supplies to grab and I cannot find boy and girl pencils, just this unbiblical gender-neutral yellow nonsense.

...

Argh! No gender labels in the grocery section. Where is the boy food? Where is the girl food?

...

My daughter has a headache and I can't figure out which is the girl medicine. Can I risk giving her gender-neutral acetaminophen? I hope it doesn't damage her delicate girl brains.

...

Almost done shopping in Satan's own retail store. I don't know which check-out aisle to use. Where is the men's line? Is it even numbers? Prime numbers? So confusing. Why can't they just have blue and pink signs so I know where to go?
posted by Pater Aletheias at 4:53 AM on August 14, 2015 [178 favorites]


^ So good it should be in The Onion. ^

Kudos to you, Father.
posted by Trifling at 4:56 AM on August 14, 2015 [3 favorites]


I award bonus points to Elena Gormley for asking "How much RAM does the uber liberal PC have?"
posted by Faint of Butt at 5:14 AM on August 14, 2015 [26 favorites]


Hermione Granger, you are a bad ass. High five.
posted by sutel at 5:15 AM on August 14, 2015 [3 favorites]


My first reaction is always to laugh at the stupidity and wilful ignorance of people, but that's because I am actually horrified (but not surprised) by their blatant bigotry and hate, and the thought of any children but particularly the queer, questioning, trans or agender kids growing up under the boot of parents like that breaks my heart.
posted by moody cow at 5:16 AM on August 14, 2015 [7 favorites]


This gender thing must be hell on a colorblind zealot in the toy aisle...
posted by jim in austin at 5:17 AM on August 14, 2015


I'm guessing the AM talk radio types got hold of this...August is typically a slow topic month and this is low-hanging (and withered) fruit.
posted by Jessica Savitch's Coke Spoon at 5:38 AM on August 14, 2015


I went and looked up Deuteronomy 23 and he is right. It says nothing about boys playing with Barbies. It says you can't be a member of their religion if you "have been wounded in the stones, or hath his privy member cut off", or if you are an Ammonite. Why the bible is against long extinct sea creatures I have no idea, but there is a lot of nonsensical stuff in that book.

I need to get some school clothes for my daughter this weekend. I'll make sure we hit Target. Sounds like it won't be too crowded.
posted by TedW at 5:49 AM on August 14, 2015 [8 favorites]


this is low-hanging (and withered) fruit.

And yet here you are. Would a gift card be of any help?

Thanks for your continued loyalty!
posted by Wolof at 5:50 AM on August 14, 2015


Oh dear...women in the Parents magazine thread complaining that she'll have such a hard time in the birthday aisle finding appropriate gifts and favors:
My eldest is nine, and when she goes to nine year old boy parties they don't like the same thing as my four year old son. I would specifically go to Target for the help, but that won't happen anymore.
When challenged that even without the signs her kids can probably tell the difference between the Spiderman toys and the Disney Princess toys, she doubles down:
nine year old girls don't really play with Barbie dolls, and nine year old boys don't really play with GI Joe either. They have more complicated toys, and Target is no longer sorting by ages. They are sorting by toy type. Maybe you should read up on it before commenting. They have been trying to elaborate in several different news releases. Building toys together, which can include anything from large toddler size logos, to Lincoln Logs, to k'nex, etc. All "action figures, so Barbie (is now considered an action figure) will be with GI Joe's, little people etc... kids who play with little people aren't interested in Barbie.
Figures with figures? Blocks with blocks? THIS IS CHAOS

Of course, the reason it's a problem is not gay cooties or girl cooties, of course. It's being a "busy mom of four" with a job, swim practice, and "all my charity work." C

I really try to love America and be hopeful, but there many days...
posted by Miko at 6:19 AM on August 14, 2015 [12 favorites]


that lady knows that toys pretty much all have age ranges printed right inw the box yeah? and that blocks have been with blocks since pretty much forever? this makes my head hurt.
posted by nadawi at 6:29 AM on August 14, 2015 [3 favorites]


She doesn't even consider the possibility of GI Barbie.
posted by adept256 at 6:36 AM on August 14, 2015 [13 favorites]


How come no one threatens to shop at KMart? Does Walmart really suck less than KMart?

First you have to find a Kmart that is still open.
posted by Strange Interlude at 6:40 AM on August 14, 2015 [3 favorites]


I think my favorite is:
"We invite you to come separate the toys yourself. We just personally can't keep doing it anymore. It's a lot of work."
posted by The Underpants Monster at 6:53 AM on August 14, 2015 [34 favorites]


Comedy gold indeed. Count me among Mike Melgaard's loyal fans.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:58 AM on August 14, 2015 [1 favorite]


They're scared their kids will become gay if they play with toys of the wrong gender. That's why there's such a strong reaction.

Yeah, there is a metric ton of this. I worked with a woman who FLIPPED. THE. F***. OUT. when her son was getting his first toddler bed and wanted a Dora the Explorer one. I mean, her face was turning red just talking about it at work the next day; I can't imagine what her reaction must have been in the store.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 7:01 AM on August 14, 2015 [6 favorites]


I worked with a woman who FLIPPED. THE. F***. OUT. when her son was getting his first toddler bed and wanted a Dora the Explorer one.

I totally see where she's coming from. Not only would a bed like that make her son gay, but it would turn him into an illegal immigrant as well.
posted by TedW at 7:06 AM on August 14, 2015 [73 favorites]


... it would have never occurred to me that dora is for girls, rather than being a girl character that is for everyone.
posted by nadawi at 7:08 AM on August 14, 2015 [27 favorites]


I work across the street from target HQ; I'm having a good time looking over at it today and imagining the conversations this is sparking.

Sadly, my skyway-eavesdropping experience tells me that 99% of Target conversations are about some jerk in another department taking undue credit for quarterly growth in some niche metric.
posted by the phlegmatic king at 7:17 AM on August 14, 2015 [4 favorites]


... it would have never occurred to me that dora is for girls, rather than being a girl character that is for everyone.

Me, neither. But then again, you and I aren't misogynists.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 7:23 AM on August 14, 2015 [10 favorites]


For a number of reasons I am totally fascinated by the home shopping channels on TV, especially the peek into the world outside my very blue bubble.

One thing that is so weird to me is the insanely gendered way products are presented and sold. No matter what the item, if it comes in multiple colors there is always a color (black, blue, grey) for "the men." If the "manly" colors sell out it's so weird to watch the hosts twist themselves into a knot rationalizing why your man or your son might be able to live with a red or purple laptop or set of sheets--maybe it's school colors? Team colors? Of course, there are often options with lots of bling because LL Cool Bling I guess, unless they're "wild" in which case there are plenty of animal prints usually available, too. There are a million examples, but it's really so bad that they actually talk about how some items/colors are "gender-friendly." (I think the term gender-friendly was probably uttered by one host and all the rest just ran with it. They obviously mean "gender-neutral" but it's interesting that it's framed as being "friendly.")

(And thanks to the Emotional Labor thread, I have much more insight into the "Ladies, it's so easy your husband can do it!" sales pitch. Fascinating.)
posted by Room 641-A at 7:26 AM on August 14, 2015 [10 favorites]


I'm fascinated by the comments on the Parents magazine post from people who strongly defend the idea that any kid can enjoy playing with any toy, and yet are furious that Target pulled the gender labels. Examples:

If you need Target to tell you it's ok to buy your daughter a Transformer or a Barbie for your son with their signs, you're an idiot that doesn't deserve kids!! If your daughter wants a Tonka Truck you buy it for her even if it's in the "Boys" department and if your son wants a baby doll you walk to the "Girl" department and grab it! Grandparents and kid-free friends appreciate the signs so they know where to look for presents. Target is just trying to jump on the PC bandwagon and it pisses me off.

(This woman believes her parents and her friends are idiots. Who am I to disagree?)

A person need only use their own brain and discretion when selecting toys for kids, based on their interest. Just because it SAYS it's something a girl might like doesn't mean that a boy can't play with it. Signage doesn't dictate that it's strictly for a boy/girl - it's merely a GUIDE. I don't think any girl has suffered long-term psychological damage by only being given "Lego Friends" from the "girls building sets" section of Target. Likewise, if a boy also received a set from the same "girls building sets" section. The kids likely had a BLAST playing with them, regardless of the "label" or where specifically the toy was located (in the "girls section"). This "de-gendering" of society is SICKENING! Use your own freakin' brains and don't dumb down society any more than it already is!

I mean, I can't figure this person out at all. She's completely okay with boys playing with "girl" toys and vice versa, but SICKENED at the thought that Target has pulled the labels from toys she has already acknowledged are neutral. No one is harmed if a boy gets a toy coded for girls, but society ends if we make the label neutral.

Obviously as a parent you know that your kids play with all sorts of toys, no boundaries. My son and daughter play with each other's toys. Its no biggie. I don't need Target to remove the pink and blue signs to make it easier. Neither do a lot of parents. There is a bigger picture here, a bigger agenda going on. Its not as black and white as pink vs blue and whats cheaper for the store as far as signage. Target knows that. Now its offensive to be female and offensive to be male. Its not about if Sally wants to play with GI Joe or if little Michaels loves barbies. Its simply about gender neutrality, what appeals to the masses and what will make them more popular...to those masses.

Now we get to the heart of it, I guess. It isn't just that Target realized toys were neutral and had been needlessly gendered, reinforcing unhelpful stereotypes. No, Target hates it when people identify as male or female. They will not rest until everyone is gender fluid. It's not about helping girls feel good about buying trucks and boys feel good about wanting dolls. Target is actually out to erase the concepts of male and female. First, it's taking labels off the aisles, next will be required de-sexing surgery. Just you wait!
posted by Pater Aletheias at 7:40 AM on August 14, 2015 [15 favorites]


As funny as this is, I keep thinking how sad it is that most of the people complaining appear to have children. Not because of some ill-formed concept of gene pool pollution or whatever, but because their kids are going to grow up in an environment where that sort of ignorant shit is not just the norm, but a moral imperative.
posted by Mooski at 7:42 AM on August 14, 2015 [13 favorites]


Grandparents who don't know what to give their grandkids should just give them money. This is my plan for being a grandma, because I was always so relieved when my grandma ignored her urge to buy me terrible things that no kid could ever possibly like and just gave me money instead.

Or you could give them a Target gift card and let them figure out if they want sparkly pink princess ponies or giant manly fake guns or maybe just a nice painting set.

My nephew recently requested a trip to Ikea for his birthday, he wants a videogaming chair and other stuff for his room. He's 8, he doesn't want more toys, but he is fascinated by the idea of a giant furniture store you can wander through. Kids are a lot weirder and more interesting than we give them credit for.
posted by emjaybee at 7:43 AM on August 14, 2015 [39 favorites]


emjaybee, just wait until your nephew discovers Swedish meatballs.
posted by Faint of Butt at 7:49 AM on August 14, 2015 [9 favorites]


Have a few more school supplies to grab and I cannot find boy and girl pencils, just this unbiblical gender-neutral yellow nonsense.
Wanna know how I know you haven't shopped for school supplies recently?
posted by Hizonner at 8:20 AM on August 14, 2015 [28 favorites]


Wait until these people realize that Transformers are truly more than meets the eye.
posted by nathan_teske at 8:23 AM on August 14, 2015 [1 favorite]


God forbid grandparents and aunts and uncles should have to call parents and ask, "So what's little Suzy into these days?"
posted by sutel at 8:37 AM on August 14, 2015 [6 favorites]


This kind of over the top reaction reminds me that conservatives do not embrace change and believe above all in the order of the family unit and traditional gender roles to feel safe. It also reminds me of the time my friend told me about how her (very conservative) husband cried in his car and flipped out after hearing Obama's plan to have volunteering be a required part of high school education. According to her he literally said "No child of mine is going to volunteer because Obama makes her!". As if volunteering were some horrible corruption of his daughters. It represented this enormous threat to his family, and I guess his dominion over it? So bizarre.

I can only imagine this is how the other side must feel when "the liberals" get swept up with some "PC nonsense" (like boycotting Target for donating to anti-choice and anti-gay operations). They think that Target has caved to liberals, who insist on making things safe for "the LGBT world" who are obviously trying to make their kids gay. So it's just like, a huge threat they can't ignore because it's happening in places like Target, the department store that OPENLY donated to anti-choice and anti-gay causes and politicians. They thought Target was one of them. Hell, it's RED. And it's a TARGET, which like, guns. But also, they don't let you have guns. And they want your kid to be gay. So forget them.
posted by SassHat at 8:41 AM on August 14, 2015 [6 favorites]


next will be required de-sexing surgery

That won't happen until Target finishes rolling out it's walk-in clinics in all 50 states. Patience will be rewarded, and patients will be reassigned.
posted by snottydick at 8:42 AM on August 14, 2015 [3 favorites]


Target should have just said getting rid of gender specific aisles saves them a couple million bucks a year in signage and manpower costs and all the right wingers would be forced to praise them instead for looking after their shareholders.

Aww, that expectation you have of consistent thinking from these people is adorable.
posted by straight at 8:47 AM on August 14, 2015 [2 favorites]


TGT's former CEO was a tea bagger and making toy aisles gender neutral wouldn't have happened under his watch.
posted by brujita at 8:55 AM on August 14, 2015


I think honestly more of it has to do with the feeling of being "surrounded", as though even supposedly neutral stores had "gone over to the enemy". I can't believe anyone seriously believes it's going to inconvenience them to walk through four toy aisles rather than two to find what they need. I think it's about feeling betrayed by the world overall and wanting to strike back in some way.
posted by corb at 9:03 AM on August 14, 2015 [4 favorites]


Tiny anecdote: we took my daughter to a local Japanese grocery store to buy gifts for some upcoming birthdays. (Her friends are all turning 5.) They have a ton of Hello Kitty stuff which was our target. They also had all the cool stuff like puffy stickers, pencils and erasers. We had a blast picking things out. I noticed that she picked out a little football eraser and I asked who it was for and she said, "Ellie! She loves football!" Which is true! Because Ellie likes to watch games with her parents. And I love that she knows that about her. But my daughter is very wrapped up in what is girl and what is boy. I guarantee you that if that eraser was in a "boy-coded" area that she would not have even looked at it and would have been very suspicious of picking something out for her girlfriend there.

We talk about these things quite a bit. I try to keep it casual but we did recently have a discussion about how sometimes someone will be born a boy but feel more like a girl and they will live that way and vice-versa. It is more complicated to teach to the grey areas. Embrace a little nuance, red-state parents!
posted by amanda at 9:06 AM on August 14, 2015 [11 favorites]


this thread has awesomed up my day something fierce
posted by psoas at 9:07 AM on August 14, 2015 [3 favorites]


> TGT's former CEO was a tea bagger and making toy aisles gender neutral wouldn't have happened under his watch.

I thought I remembered something along these lines, like them giving money to anti-same sex marriage groups. I guess those days are over with, which is nice because they just opened up a Target in my neighborhood!
posted by benito.strauss at 9:11 AM on August 14, 2015


I've been avoiding Target since the whole "our prerogative to refuse to fill birth control prescriptions" thing. I take it that was part and parcel of the old teabagging CEO as well?
posted by Navelgazer at 9:15 AM on August 14, 2015


I mean, I can't figure this person out at all. She's completely okay with boys playing with "girl" toys and vice versa,

weirdly, no - she's actually only ok with boys playing with girls toys, not vice versa (at least going by her writeup there) which is a fascinating reversal of the trope.

also i 'd like to tell that woman about how i wasn't allowed to have an erector set because they were for boys and the way that buried a seed in me that girls didn't or shouldn't care about stuff like engineering and how i let that idea give me an out when science got hard, because women aren't scientists so whatever might was well double down in english class.
posted by nadawi at 9:27 AM on August 14, 2015 [9 favorites]


Here is a taxonomist's take on the situation.

I don't totally agree with the conclusion because to me "any attempt to politicize the issue" isn't a framing that makes sense--there's no attempting, the issue is already inherently political. But taxonomies are my nerd jam so it was cool to read a brief analysis.
posted by clavicle at 9:29 AM on August 14, 2015 [5 favorites]


I would just like to brag that my two boys haven't yet figured out that stories with girls for them are not for them to enjoy, and sometimes pick out pink items. Three and five. I am proud.
posted by bq at 10:27 AM on August 14, 2015 [2 favorites]


I think honestly more of it has to do with the feeling of being "surrounded", as though even supposedly neutral stores had "gone over to the enemy". I can't believe anyone seriously believes it's going to inconvenience them to walk through four toy aisles rather than two to find what they need. I think it's about feeling betrayed by the world overall and wanting to strike back in some way.

Yeah, 99% of the negative responses I've read go something like:
  • I'm totally fine with boys and girls playing with any toys they want and having any bedding they want
  • My own children don't always use the products marketed to their sex and gender
  • I grew up not always using products marketed to my sex and gender
  • My children and I would have no problem finding the products we wanted without gender-specific signage and marketing
  • BUT REMOVING THE GENDER SPECIFIC SIGNAGE IS HORRIBLE AND STUPID BECAUSE THE REASON IT MIGHT HAVE BEEN DONE COULD HAVE BEEN TO MAKE THINGS EASIER FOR LGBT PEOPLE WHO ARE A MINORITY!!!!!!!!!!!!!
posted by The Underpants Monster at 10:44 AM on August 14, 2015 [4 favorites]


I think honestly more of it has to do with the feeling of being "surrounded", as though even supposedly neutral stores had "gone over to the enemy". I can't believe anyone seriously believes it's going to inconvenience them to walk through four toy aisles rather than two to find what they need. I think it's about feeling betrayed by the world overall and wanting to strike back in some way.

There's also the phenomenon in which people start from an assumption that the folks around them, insofar as they look/sound/act/dress/shop similarly, basically operate on the same social, political, and moral philosophies. (Hence the tendency to think it's "safe" to make a racist comment when you're a white person surrounded by white people, etc.)

Target making a decision like this reminds you that when you're just out and about, amongst your fellow red staters, buying Legos, you might actually be surrounded by people who don't think like you do at all. And you have no easy way of knowing! The world used to have the illusion of agreement and safety and now it does not. How will you know when it's safe to be a horrible parent, like the woman in Hermione Granger's story? YOU WILL NEVER KNOW AGAIN.
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 11:15 AM on August 14, 2015 [22 favorites]


Not sure a lot of boycotting happening here--my assistant just staggered back from Target saying, "It was like Christmas eve in there!" That Target is across the street from a Walmart.
posted by Nosey Mrs. Rat at 11:45 AM on August 14, 2015 [3 favorites]


Here, if I boycotted Walmart and Target I'd pretty much have to go exploring in the dense jungles of the Amazon if I wanted to buy anything.
You knew this was coming: http://www.amazon.com/s?field-keywords=toys+for+girls
posted by sjswitzer at 12:07 PM on August 14, 2015


God forbid grandparents and aunts and uncles should have to call parents and ask, "So what's little Suzy into these days?"

You'd think this would be simple, but then when Mom says to Grandma "Toby would like a Bleeper-Blapper 5000, not the 5000X-1, and only in red," Grandma will do one of four things:

1. Scour stores for the exact right Bleeper-Blapper, never mind her aching feet and the six other grandkids she has to shop for and her limited budget. Oh and if she finds it, someone else will already have gotten it for him.
2. Get the wrong Bleeper-Blapper, or possibly the knockoff Zeeper-Zapper; feel grandchild's frustration on Christmas Day.
3. Decide that Kids These Days are stupid and pick up some toy she recognizes from her childhood, like a BB gun or Parcheesi or lawn darts.
4. Give him a gift card and let him go look for his goddamn red Bleeper-Blapper 5000 himself.
posted by emjaybee at 12:17 PM on August 14, 2015 [6 favorites]


--God forbid grandparents and aunts and uncles should have to call parents and ask, "So what's little Suzy into these days?"

-You'd think this would be simple, but then when Mom says to Grandma "Toby would like a Bleeper-Blapper 5000, not the 5000X-1, and only in red," Grandma will do one of four things:

1. Scour stores for the exact right Bleeper-Blapper, never mind her aching feet and the six other grandkids she has to shop for and her limited budget. Oh and if she finds it, someone else will already have gotten it for him.
2. Get the wrong Bleeper-Blapper, or possibly the knockoff Zeeper-Zapper; feel grandchild's frustration on Christmas Day.
3. Decide that Kids These Days are stupid and pick up some toy she recognizes from her childhood, like a BB gun or Parcheesi or lawn darts.
4. Give him a gift card and let him go look for his goddamn red Bleeper-Blapper 5000 himself.


Meh. Grandmonster had it all figured out years ago. Homemade afghans for the children of all her kids that she liked; and for the rest of us, a dozen pencils with our initials stamped on them and a half-used crossword book with the completed puzzles erased.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 12:20 PM on August 14, 2015 [7 favorites]


(Grandma Underpants was cool, though. Identical unisox for all at Christmas, but on your birthday, you got to go up to her bedroom closet, close your eyes, and stick your hand in the big mystery box of crazy stuff she collected all year just for that purpose.)
posted by The Underpants Monster at 12:29 PM on August 14, 2015 [6 favorites]


Reminds me of when a distant relative feels compelled to buy me a gift for some special occasion, but they don't know me well enough to know what I want and they don't ask. So they think "She is a woman. She will want woman things." So I receive makeup and fancy bath items, which I end up handing off to all my male friends.

(Also cards that have stereotypical womanly things--you know, the ones with cartoon women drinking fruity drinks and making jokes to each other about getting old and clothes or whatever.)
posted by picklenickle at 12:35 PM on August 14, 2015 [4 favorites]


I am getting really hung up on that taxonomy article. I had never heard of the profession "taxonomy consultant" before this moment, but I have a feeling one of them must be responsible for the grocery-aisle designation "New Age Teas," and I'd really like a word with them. So grating.

He goes off on Kohl's aisle listings, grousing "That’s nine different organizing methodologies for 14 different categories," and yet it is completely easy to understand their categories. We don't need a unifying organizing principle to tell the difference between "For the Home" and "Bed and Bath," we just need shopping experience and the ability to read English. Also, Juniors is both age and gender - there are no boys' clothes in "Juniors." Instead you usually get some stupid-named young mens' section like "MaXX" or "UrbanVibe." It looks like there's a recent rise in "Guys" sections too.

a dozen pencils with our initials stamped on them

You just brought back so many memories.

"She is a woman. She will want woman things."

Similarly, the depressing piles of "Gifts for Dad!" you see at Christmas and Father's Day....executive desk toys. Car windshield safety hammers. Insulated beverage holder. Needlessly complicated wine openers. Universal phone chargers. Crappy digital watches. Collapsible shovels. It's like the marketers can only envision Dads who are golf-playing, bored executives with a survivalist streak.
posted by Miko at 1:42 PM on August 14, 2015 [18 favorites]


.. it would have never occurred to me that dora is for girls, rather than being a girl character that is for everyone.

This actually never occurred to my either until right now. My nephew and friends (both genders) were obsessed with Dora as toddlers. He loved it so much that at age 2 1/2 I made a 15 min video with him as the star going on an adventure just like Dora. I edited in the Dora intro, music and things like the map scene. It took an entire day to film his part and he was so into it. He watched that video as much as the show.

(Now he's completely mortified by it. He's 12. I did tell him that he might want to put pants on and not run around in his diaper because when he got older.....but hey kids just don't listen these days. )
posted by Jalliah at 1:53 PM on August 14, 2015 [8 favorites]


I was just at Target and they really are bringing Troll dolls back. It's way more threatening than any of their toy labeling.
posted by maryr at 3:10 PM on August 14, 2015 [1 favorite]


Similarly, the depressing piles of "Gifts for Dad!" you see at Christmas and Father's Day.

Corollary: T.J. Maxx and Ross both put their electronic gadget displays deep in the men's department because apparently only men need or buy cheap ear buds. Just put them by the luggage or in housewares; why should I have to zig-zag through the chonies just to get a phone charger?

And for the people freaking out about the slippery slope and the day they accidentally buy their son "girl's" clothing, a reminder that in a literal All-American fantasy world, boys and girls clothes are often interchangeable.
posted by Room 641-A at 3:23 PM on August 14, 2015 [4 favorites]


I was just at Target and they really are bringing Troll dolls back. It's way more threatening than any of their toy labeling.

The Troll brand was bought by DreamWorks a few years ago. There's even gonna be a Trolls movie next year!
posted by daninnj at 3:35 PM on August 14, 2015


In the Toys aisles, we’ll also remove reference to gender, including the use of pink, blue, yellow or green paper on the back walls of our shelves

I'd like to think this is my doing. I like Target OK for certain things--small appliances, small rugs, children's night lights, etc.--but last year I wrote them a long in-store comment feedback form that said I would never shop there again unless they stopped the blue and pink toy shelves.

I check back occasionally (went back a few weeks ago), and they are still pink and blue. I'll check next week.

people in America are embarrassing and small-minded

Damn so. Enough to make one want to leave the country if it wasn't completely impossible for the non-rich.

What do they think will happen if Target doesn't label toys for specific genders?

Duh. The queers win.
posted by mrgrimm at 3:49 PM on August 14, 2015


And here's the problem with the blue and pink toy shelves. Your child comes in with you and wants a cool toy for her birthday {with a gift certificate from her grandma or something} but it's on a blue shelf and she's a girl, so she doesn't want it anymore.

Kids are way too sensitive to gender issues already {example: after watching some of an NCAA basketball game with me, my 5 y.o. daughter said "only men can wear glasses" [which is pretty much the case on TV] ... and yet her mom wears glasses. !!} ... adults should know better.

I'd like to think this is my doing.

Also, I am obviously kidding here.

posted by mrgrimm at 3:53 PM on August 14, 2015 [1 favorite]


obiwanwasabi: "everybody stop josh taylor is on the phone to corp in minnesota right now and he noted the date and time"

I really doubt Josh is bright enough to dial that many numbers. HEAR THAT, JOSH!
posted by Samizdata at 7:45 PM on August 14, 2015


TedW: "I worked with a woman who FLIPPED. THE. F***. OUT. when her son was getting his first toddler bed and wanted a Dora the Explorer one.

I totally see where she's coming from. Not only would a bed like that make her son gay, but it would turn him into an illegal immigrant as well.
"

Who will steal our jobs, but be completely fierce and fabulous doing so.
posted by Samizdata at 7:48 PM on August 14, 2015 [1 favorite]


Pater Aletheias: "Now we get to the heart of it, I guess. It isn't just that Target realized toys were neutral and had been needlessly gendered, reinforcing unhelpful stereotypes. No, Target hates it when people identify as male or female. They will not rest until everyone is gender fluid. It's not about helping girls feel good about buying trucks and boys feel good about wanting dolls. Target is actually out to erase the concepts of male and female. First, it's taking labels off the aisles, next will be required de-sexing surgery. Just you wait!"

Aaaaaaah, naaaaaaaah. I like effortlessly peeing while standing up. It's...so...liberating. So, now they are coming for our guns (don't own one) then our dongs?

(Before anyone asks, yeah, I'm an outie.)
posted by Samizdata at 7:51 PM on August 14, 2015


Faint of Butt: "emjaybee, just wait until your nephew discovers Swedish meatballs."

As he looks at your with guileless eyes and a gravy stained collar...

"What IKEA gift card?"
posted by Samizdata at 7:53 PM on August 14, 2015 [1 favorite]


How to tell if toy is for boys or girls: a guide (source)
Do you operate the toy with your genitals?
N: this is for either boys or girls
Y: this toy is not for children
posted by filthy light thief at 8:50 AM on August 15, 2015 [5 favorites]


---I worked with a woman who FLIPPED. THE. F***. OUT. when her son was getting his first toddler bed and wanted a Dora the Explorer one.

--I totally see where she's coming from. Not only would a bed like that make her son gay, but it would turn him into an illegal immigrant as well."

-Who will steal our jobs, but be completely fierce and fabulous doing so.


And then she'll have to go to court to defend her business. (Possibly NSFW SLYT)
posted by The Underpants Monster at 11:14 AM on August 15, 2015


From one of my favorite Twitter accounts, WomanAgainstFeminism (@NoToFeminism):

I don’t need fimem Target removed gender signs on toys & I’ve been wandering the aisles for days, scared & confused. Ate play-doh to survive
posted by Miko at 2:10 PM on August 15, 2015 [4 favorites]


The woman whose tweet "started" this "controversy", Abi Bechtel, is a former classmate of mine. She has been pretty badly harrassed over social media.

Here's an article that she wrote for Time on the subject.
posted by DRoll at 2:18 PM on August 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


Did they eliminate the purse section?
posted by zarq at 2:24 PM on August 15, 2015


Did they eliminate the purse section?

Hah, we went back-to-school shopping for our son yesterday, and we happened to go to Target for an unrelated reason (we needed a sleep mat for pre-k, and everyone was apparently out, but we had heard that Target had some in stock - no such luck). Our son picked these out: a "Trans by Jansport" fuzzy leopard print backpack, a pink pencil box and a purple water bottle, selected because the backpack was so fuzzy and looked like an animal, and pink and purple are still good colors (his first favorite colors, but now his favorites vary from day to day). I swear this wasn't a social experiment with our son as the catalyst for interesting discussions.
posted by filthy light thief at 4:27 PM on August 15, 2015 [3 favorites]


From that Time piece.

Masculinity, it seems, is so fragile that proximity to pink can taint it.
posted by Miko at 4:38 PM on August 15, 2015 [4 favorites]


he is fascinated by the idea of a giant furniture store you can wander through. Kids are a lot weirder and more interesting than we give them credit for.

I'm a grown ass man, and I still experience a childlike sense of wonder and amazement when I step into an Ikea. I can't even fathom how my 8-year-old self would have reacted to that same thing.
posted by schmod at 6:09 AM on August 17, 2015 [2 favorites]


I swear this wasn't a social experiment with our son as the catalyst for interesting discussions.

It's fun watching them figure out for themselves what they like. These days my son would probably reject that bag as "for girls." But three years ago he would have wanted it for the exact same reason as yours: it's soft, fuzzy and looked like a cool animal.

Years ago my 3-4 year old daughter was given a box filled with Disney princess dresses. She wore them until she was bursting out of them, à la Merida in Brave. Watching her play with them one day, my son (same age) grabbed a bright yellow one and started putting it on. An argument began. My daughter objected that they were hers. He told her that the [house] rule is they have to share their toys. She objected that they were clothes, not toys and that a result, she didn't have to share. He replied that she was wearing one of his shirts so he should get to wear her clothes. Stymied, she told him that they were only for princesses, and since he wasn't a princess he couldn't wear them.

So he announced he was a "handsome prince," put on the ensemble's skirt and wore that outfit for hours until he got tired of it. And they had a fun afternoon together, playing prince and princess.

Personally, I think kids should get to be kids, without having adult preconceptions imposed on them where possible.
posted by zarq at 7:42 AM on August 17, 2015 [11 favorites]


Your kids sound awesome, zarq.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 8:31 AM on August 17, 2015 [1 favorite]


:)
posted by zarq at 12:24 PM on August 17, 2015


So, I ended up at Target twice this weekend (I am not the target Target customer as I have not shopped there in six months). First time through I didn't end up seeing the toy aisle but I was looking for some baby shower gifts. I was looking for the cute cups and plates they (usually) have and had to ponder my options – a clear cup decorated with zany but cute green monsters and its counterpart with woodland creatures. I was about to drop several of the woodland creatures in my basket when I noticed that the deer on the cup were decorated with pink bows. Looking at the tags on the shelf I noticed that it was "girls cup" and "boys cup." Then I had to ponder whether any of these parents would feel like they could not give their baby boy a cup with a deer with a bow on it. And why the fuck does the cute woodland creatures set have to be gendered anyway?

I tell my daughter that nearly every animal character or magical character is a "girl." And then if there's a character where you can tell they are hinting it is a girl (usually the presence of some eyelashes) then I call that one a boy. Bows, though...bows are pretty much 99.8% of the time for girls. And I'm pretty sure a wild deer wouldn't wear a bow anyway. That's just crazy. And if it was a wild deer and some jerk put a bow on its head it's just as likely to be a boy deer in that situation because deer have no agency in regards to social clothing constructs and the whims of humans.

And then I got a headache and threw in three green monsters cups and left the woodland creatures behind. Creating gift baskets for un-born babies of unknown gender should not feel like a political act, but there you go.

--

Then again today I had the occasion to be near another Target and specifically went on a hunt for the toy section. It was...not a change you could notice. There was definitely a theming thing going on – figures toys, building toys – which was great. I really liked that. It made the experience more interesting for me. And given that I'm the one with the wallet, that seems like a good thing. But if I didn't know that they were previous party to this whole "Building Sets / Girls Building Sets" shenanigans, I would have just thought that the toys were well organized. And then I found the Power Ponies figurines and OMG, take all my money!! I believe these might be going for the Brony market but I don't care, they are cool.
posted by amanda at 2:41 PM on August 17, 2015 [2 favorites]


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