Boycotting Target Won’t Make Your Child’s Toys Gender-Specific

I do not believe that a single person will wind up lost in the toy aisle.

Dear person who wants to boycott Target for removing gender-specific toy labels,

I see through you. Your protests are not about what you say they are.

No, you aren’t asking Target to keep its gender labels for your convenience. You aren’t going to be confused without them. I don’t buy that for a second. I might sometimes be gullible but I just cannot believe that a bunch of adults who are so strict about traditional gender roles will be lost without Target’s guidance. You were raised on these gender roles. You’ve had them reinforced for decades and yet you still need a store to tell you which toys are for which kids? I really cannot believe that no matter how hard I try.

And I honestly don’t think you even believe it yourself. Your reaction is entirely fear-based. But it’s not the fear that you’ll get lost in the toy department, you’re afraid of what will happen if society doesn’t reinforce the way you are teaching your kids to understand gender.

And that tells me something super important about you and that is:

You know all this gender-specific crap is all bullshit.

I mean seriously what does it say that you think there needs to be a sign for your kids to know what toys are for the gender you assigned them at birth? Sounds like someone isn’t very secure in their belief that sex is linked to gender, and that gender determines our likes and dislikes.

All the arguments about how our society’s gender roles are natural like, “boys just naturally like cars, and girls naturally like dolls,” are bullshit. If these ideas about what girl’s toys are were only a reflection of nature, you wouldn’t need a pink backdrop and GIRLS spelt out in huge lettering to reinforce them for you.

The truth is, you’re scared that your boys might actually want to play with dolls.  You’re scared of what will happen if you stop limiting your kids via arbitrary gender roles. You’re scared your kids will be free to explore all options and decide what they like,  because you know, if given that freedom many children will not adhere to traditional gender roles and identities.  You know that gender as we know it was constructed by us, and not whatever god you believe in, or the laws of nature, and thus it will all fall apart once we stop holding it together.  You are afraid of what is natural. You are afraid of the one thing you claim is great about America. You are afraid of freedom.

And you can go ahead and argue that you don’t want anyone else telling your child what to believe about gender. That you should be free to tell your child that trucks are for boys, and kitchen sets are for girls. But no one is taking that from you. You can still limit your kids to the toys that you believe are appropriate for the gender you assigned them, but you can no longer expect that society will continue to reinforce your beliefs at the expense of everyone else.

It’s funny how neutralizing things, or making them inclusive, makes you so defensive. Why are you so afraid of your child seeing or hearing another perspective? Aren’t your beliefs solid enough to withstand differences?

Is your child, upon hearing that all toys can be for anyone, going to go pick up *gasp* the wrong toy and *gasp again* play with it? Are your ideas about gender so wobbly that giving children options will blur the lines between “boys” and “girls” so much that children everywhere will stop adhering to the “natural order” of things?

I mean, seriously, either you believe all this crap about there being natural divide between boy’s toys and girl’s toys, and thus have nothing to worry about because your kids will just naturally adhere to your traditional ideas.

Or, you have to admit that there is really no such thing as a boy’s toy, that it’s all been made up by us, and we’ve been limiting children unnecessarily for a really long time.


Navarre Overton is the founder of Raising Revolution. She is a stay-at-home mom, feminist, freelance writer, and student. You can reach her on Twitter, or email her at

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2 thoughts on “Boycotting Target Won’t Make Your Child’s Toys Gender-Specific

  • canadianrainbow

    Amazing and well said with the right amount of ire. Boys should play with dolls, girls with Lego. A female engineer…we need more of those. An empathetic hands on dad? Definitely need more of those.
    My 18 month old plays with his pink stroller and doll and nobody says a thing.

  • Anonymous

    I think boys should play with dolls so they can learn how to take care and love there kids closer when there older. And girls should play with tools and cars so they can be more independent when there older. Know more need to push our kids into what we were raised as but to let them choose for themselves! I have been saying this since i was a kid and now i have kids and it’s there turn to change the world.