Target Removes Gender-Based Signs From Its Stores Amid Social Media Backlash

According to a blog post on its website, big-box store Target will be removing all gender-based signs from its stores after receiving several complaints, and controversy caused by consumers on popular social media sites.

Backlash hit Target this summer after Ohio mother Abi Bechtel tweeted out a picture of a sign in one of Target’s toy departments that listed two sections for building toys, “Building Sets” and “Girls’ Building Sets.” The caption under her tweet simply read “don’t do this, Target,” and it didn’t take long before the picture was retweeted 2,000 times, and a debate emerged regarding who was to blame for gender-based toys and signs: toy makers or toy buyers?

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The blog post on the Target website regarding gender-based signs explains that while the company uses signs in their stores to help consumers navigate the aisles, they “never want guests or their families to feel frustrated or limited by the way things are presented,” and, after receiving many suggestions by Target shoppers, they’ve opted to change their gender-based sign policies — at least where the sections for toys, home, and entertainment are concerned.

“Over the past year, guests have raised important questions about a handful of signs in our stores that offer product suggestions based on gender. [W]e know that shopping preferences and needs change and, as guests have pointed out, in some departments like Toys, Home or Entertainment, suggesting products by gender is unnecessary.”

Although some have criticized Target for the removal of gender-based signs, many are applauding the company for hearing the concerns of their shoppers, and complying with their wishes. Commenter Jacqui Mason praised Target for the move.

“Great move, Target! There is no reason a girl can’t play with transformers and boys with Barbie. The world is changing and I love a corporation that stands behind it’s consumers and community. Thank you Target for recognizing change.”

Bechtel, the mother who was one of those who started the conversation on gender-based stereotyping in stores, lauded Target for their progressiveness.

“Kids pick up cues about what society thinks of gender from so many places, and I’m glad that the Target toy aisle is no longer going to be one of the places they’re bombarded with ideas about what’s appropriate for kids of any gender to play with.”

It will take a few months time, Target’s blog posts says, to see the changes across all stores, but, they said of phasing out gender-based signs, “we heard you, and we agree.”

What do you think about Target removing gender-based signs from their stores?

[Image Credit: Scott Olson/Getty Images]