Between the endless news stories involving Caitlyn Jenner and the Target toy department controversy, gender and the ideas of gender are currently very hot topics in the media. I have a hard time dredging up any strong feelings on either side of the very divided issues. I couldn’t care less whether Caitlyn/ Bruce Jenner associates as a woman or a man. It makes no difference whatsoever in my daily life. I also don’t care how Target chooses to label their toy department. I’m still going to shop there, I’m still going to go into their store for a package of paper towels and somehow leave with $219 less in my bank account and a cart full of cardigan sweaters, over the shoulder handbags, and multiple colors of ballet flats that I didn’t know I needed.
My favorite part of the Target “story” was reading how irate some people became about Target’s decision to no longer label toys based on gender. Some people were actually livid. Incensed. To me, a lot of strong emotions were wasted on something pretty ridiculous. A lot of religious rhetoric was spouted as well. I am pretty sure that God just wants children to be happy playing. Do people really think that their little boy is going to walk into a Target store and head straight for the pink baby doll and become gay just because the doll wasn’t appropriately labeled as a “girl” toy?
No. That is ludicrous. A- pink baby dolls are not “girl” toys. They are toys. B- there is absolutely no empirical evidence to show that playing with baby dolls will “turn” someone gay. And C- if a child wants a baby doll, they are going to find a baby doll in the aisles of Target whether the aisles are labeled or not. I would venture to guess that if 2 and 3 year olds can successfully find toys without gender labels in the aisles, educated adults should surely be able to as well.
My other favorite part of the Target story was the person posing as a Target help desk employee on Facebook. That shit cracked me up. I just wish I would have thought of it first. Here is a sample in case you missed it:
Last week was Little Man’s first day of preschool. As a celebration, he got to pick somewhere to go for lunch. To my chagrin he picked McDonald’s.
“Oh, McDonald’s is…… nice. OR….. we could go to Panera?”
“Suuuure. Or would you like to go to Subway???”
We went to McDonald’s, but I insisted on going through the drive through so we could eat at home and not have to risk getting ebola in the sticky, disgusting “PlayLand”.
I ordered a salad for myself and a chicken mcnuggets Happy Meal for Little Man.
“Four piece or six?” the drive through speaker asked.
“Soda, juice, or milk?”
“Chocolate milk, please.”
“Apples or yogurt?”
“Hello Kitty or Monster Jam?”
“I, um. What?”
“For the toy. Would you like Hello Kitty or Monster Jam?”
“Oh, uh, Monster Jam?”
It struck me that they no longer asked if I wanted a girl or boy toy. Sneaky, McDonald’s! They are following in Target’s footsteps and removing gender labels. Only they are being quiet about it. Instead of announcing their plans to the world like Target did, they just made the change. Like it’s a non issue. Because, guess what?? It is a NON-ISSUE.
I, for one, am thrilled about the change. We don’t go to McDonald’s for Happy Meals too often, but when we do, my kids covet those crappy toys. Many times my daughter has gotten some stupid little doll while my son has gotten an awesome Transformer or car that actually drives and then she has been upset because his toy is cooler. I’m sure the opposite has also occurred and one of my sons wished he got the “girl toy”. I honestly don’t pay too much attention because I know the toys are going to end up in the trash the second my kids leave for school anyway. And I’m sure if I really had cared, I could have looked at the sign to see what the toys were to be able to know. But I didn’t care, and I didn’t look, and I automatically replied “boy” or “girl” depending on who was with me, and the ones that did care weren’t always happy with the results.
My point is, I love that now my kids can choose the toy they want. I can yell in the back seat “yogurt or apples? Monster Jam or Hello Kitty toy?” And they get to choose. And they get to play for a day until the toy has gone mysteriously “missing”. No labels means the world has opened up for them. One Happy Meal toy at a time. How did it take us so long to get here?
Little Man with his two new tattoos…. Splinter from TNMT, and a pink sparkly butterfly. He loves them both equally. Oh, and a kitten and rainbow sticker. Peace and Love, y’all.