In the scheme of things, it may seem rather trivial that Target Stores will stop gendering its toy section.
They decided, apparently after their displays went viral, to stop providing gendered signs to divide the "girls" toys from "boys" toys.
Ok, much to say here.
Celebrating the Feminine v Feminism
Firstly, I do not consider myself a feminist, though I deeply appreciate all the tremendous work feminists have done to make room for the contributions of women like myself. I know I stand on their shoulders.
That said, I am also not for the neutralization of gender. In other words, I have been convinced through my own life experience, especially my few years in Paris, and through much reading that women need NOT become like men in order to flourish.
The goal isn't, in my opinion, to put women into suits or get us to play violent video games or to think like a man in order to have influence and freedom.
The ideal, is to be able to be totally feminine and free to prosper being so.
In spite of these views, I am still celebrating the de-gendering of Target toy aisles and here is why.
My Boy Toys
As a kid, I loved G.I. Joe! I loved those action figures, their jeeps, planes and bases. They were so much more fun - to me - than Barbie. They fought for justice, traveled the world and got dirty. I never knew what to do with Barbie's high heels. Beyond this I loved anything I could build with, soccer equipment, archery equipment, dirt bikes and anything that would help me move and experience the physical world.
Now, in order to acquire these awesome tools, toys, and gagets, I would always have to go to the boys section. I remember vividly one children's birthday party where the kids could pull a toy from the "Girl" bay or the "Boy" bag. I was deeply humiliated to say this, but I really wanted to pick from the boy bag. So, I asked.
They let me and I got this cool G.I. Joe with a silver head (forgot his name). While I did get the toy I wanted, I felt deeply ashamed to have to leave my "girls" to grab it.
So I suspect other kids, maybe boys who like dolls, also feel uncomfortable loving what they love.
My toys were practice; I like the justice-seeking action figures perhaps they served as practice for the conflict resolution PhD I just received, focusing on transitional justice.
I do not want to be a boy just because I love action-- I also love nail polish, high tea, shopping, and long hot baths with aroma candles.
Old divisions of gender do not serve -- even though masculine and feminine energies do! The polarity between them is delicious. The masculine energy that sweats and builds and the feminine that flows/ We can celebrate these different energies through -- tea party sets and lego castles in a way that doesn't make kids feel embarrassed about what they love.