In early August, Target Corporation announced that gender will no longer influence its marketing decisions or labels. Wallpapers that suggest one gender will soon come down, as will signs marked “Girls’ Bedding,” or “Boys’ Toys.” The Target decision prompted a debate regarding the importance of gender inretail stores and in society.
The eliminations of labels that include gender will apply to certain sections of Target stores including boys’ and girls’ toys, entertainment or electronics, and decoration. These changes are set to be in place by Fall 2015.
Many Liberals posit that the Target decision makes sense, as it allows people who may not fit or believe in typical gender roles to buy whatever pleases them, and not what society expects them to buy. It sounds simple, but is it?
The labeling in retail stores merely represents words behind societal standards. Removing the words does not remove the societal expectations about gender engrained in us for centuries.
Sure, no problem ensues if a little boy picks out a Barbie Doll. Buying it in a neutrally labeled aisle, however, will not spare him the torment that comes with buying it in an aisle labeled “Girls.” Society currently associates Barbies with girls; if the boy’s friends see he has a doll associated with girlhood when he is a boy, they might question or tease him about his decision. So, while removing gender from marketing and labels may comfort shoppers, it does not necessarily make certain choices any more acceptable in modern society.
Customers frequently intend to run quickly in-and-out of stores like Target to pick up a gift for someone whom they may not know well. To do this efficiently, they often allow gender-based signs to guide them to an ideal department. Here, they can grab something that most boys, girls, men, or women enjoy at a certain age. Fox News commented that now, due to less specificity about what certain groups of people typically enjoy, and the task of scanning more items in the aisles before making a decision, this process will move more slowly. Though people with different tastes exist, the soon-to-be-absent labels help the majority shop for one another.
The far left aspires to create a practically genderless society, where traditional views of men and women do not exist. The Target decision makes for just part of this. Though it may seem to promote more choice and acceptance, changing departmental labeling in retail stores will not change the way society works, or the judgment that results from it. Societal standards have been around for decades and will not change overnight. Some of these standards regard differences between men and women, and often these differences are something not to eliminate but to celebrate.