08 August 2015

Moving Away from Gender-Based Signs

Yaaaaaaaaasssssssssss!!!!!!!! Down with gender-based stereotypes; there's no reason to have labels such as "Girls' Toys" and "Boys' Toys"

There's long been a reason I've much preferred Target over Walmart as the "big box discount store." Descriptive labels such as "Dolls" or "Toy Cars" and "Stuffed Aminiminals" not only alleviate some of the anxiety and pressure kids face to fit into antiquated gender roles but are so much more helpful to the shopper!

Adults often force certain toys on kids based on perceived gender stereotypes. I played with dolls as a child, as well as trucks and cars, as did my sister. We played with each other's toys and we never thought anything wrong with or bad about that. Thankfully, our grandparents understood we were playing together as brother and sister, and there wasn't anything wrong with my playing house just as there wasn't anything wrong with my sister playing with cars, trucks, etc.

Another way to think of this is as follows: most of the chefs in the USA are men. However, most of the kitchen toys -- where a child can play-pretend at cooking and use their imagination to create new food dishes -- would be found in the "Girl's Toys" section. How would a boy who has expressed interest in the culinary arts feel about shopping for toys to play with in the "Girl's Toys" section? What if his classmates saw him shopping for a new kitchen playset in the "Girl's Toys" section and began teasing him?

For far too long society has indoctrinated us -- from a very, very early age, as to what is "gender-appropriate." Little girls only do this, little boys only do that. I'm all for erasing gender-based stereotypes, including choice of clothing. Epic and groundbreaking women began breaking down the walls of inequality when they started wearing "men's clothing" (pants and pant suits) many, many decades ago yet it's still taboo for a men to wear "women's clothing" (skirts and dresses). Who came up with such ridiculous ideas?

People in eastern Asian nations often wear the same clothes, and we've discovered that traditional tribal nations of many different cultures shared similar customs. It's time to put an end -- once and for all -- of this nonsense that keeps women from even attempting to do a "man's job" and also is the basis for the disparity between pay among the genders. Enough is enough, let's focus on what really matters about a person instead of judging them by such trivial notions as what type of clothing they choose to wear or the color of their outfits.

Would you want your daughter to EVER be told that she can't do something because "girls/women don't do that?" Gender-based stereotypes are how women were kept oppressed for centures. "Oh we're sorry but you can't do this, you're a woman, and women aren't allowed to do that."

This line of thinking is what leads to gender-based pay inequality. In other words, the REASON that women earn 78% of what men earn overall and why Black women earn a staggering 67% of what men earn FOR THE SAME JOB!

Getting rid of gender-based stereotypes is a step in the right direction and will help with closing the pay gap between men and women.

A super BRAVO to Target for recognizing this and implementing these changes!