When I was little I had Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle tennis shoes and went home crying because I was teased for my “boy shoes.” My brother played with figurines he called “his guys,” sadly the other little boys called them “his dolls.” He was teased to the point that he started hiding when he played, they even convinced him he would be gay or a girl when he grew up because of his toy choice. That’s just an example that not all experiences are the same, and I’m sure we weren’t isolated incidents.
There is literally no need to say what is a “boy toy” versus a “girl toy,” a toy should just be able to be a toy. I don’t understand why some people are in such an uproar at losing the toy labels, which currently only perpetuate stereotypical gender roles.
That is simply not true. Studies have found that children around ages four - five possess a very strong understanding of gender norms, which includes what toys are geared towards which gender. Just as an example, I had a brother who played with what he called “guys,” but the other little boys called them “his dolls” and mercilessly made fun of him. At one point they even convinced him he was either going to be gay or turn into a girl and he was so scared he couldn’t sleep. He ended up hiding whenever he played to make sure no one would see him. This all happened before he started first grade. It was heartbreaking to see, but given that these little boys had been raised with the idea that dolls are solely for girls there was no stopping it.
I just don’t understand why we need to specify “boy toys” and “girl toys.” What really makes a home kitchen set more “girly,” and a firetruck more “masculine” other than society’s idea of what men and women should do as adults? Why say “little boys who play with dolls are just being girly, but that is okay!” What is the point? If you don’t want to enforce gender norms, wouldn’t you rather remove them at this formative stage and tell kids to play with what you want because these are just toys - exactly what Target is trying to do?