+
More

Parents wanted more gender-neutral kids stuff. Target listened.

Target hits the bull's-eye, once again.

Late last summer, Target made waves by axing gendered signage in many of its store sections.

Like in the toy aisle, for instance: Who's to say what's a boy's toy and what's a girl's toy? The retail giant decided to leave that question up to kids and their parents, and many customers applauded the move (although, even in 2015, not everyone was on board with this).


Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images.

Now, Target has taken another progressive step forward when it comes to breaking down gender stereotypes at its stores.

Target's new kids' home line, Pillowfort, is giving parents plenty more non-gender specific options.

The line — which includes 1,200 pieces of bedding, decor, furniture, and more — debuted online and in stores last month. One difference customers might spot with the brand is the number of items in the collection that aren't designed with a specific gender stereotype in mind.

Photo courtesy of Target, used with permission.

“One thing that we heard from parents is that they really wanted more universal pieces," Amy Goetz, spokesperson for Target, told Upworthy. "[Parents wanted pieces] that they could mix and match between their kids' rooms, whether they’re a boy or girl.”


Photo courtesy of Target, used with permission.

Goetz pointed out Pillowfort isn't completely gender-neutral — customers can still find the blue and pink pieces that have traditionally been designed with a gender-binary in mind — but there is a notable expansion of items that don't fit under an obvious "girl" or "boy" label.

Photo courtesy of Target, used with permission.

Many stereotypically gendered items, such as basketballs for boys and hearts for girls, are also available in more gender-neutral colors, like white, black, and yellow, The Star Tribune reported. This way, kids and their parents can pick out whichever items they want, without feeling as though they're breaking the gender rules, so to speak.

It may seem obvious, but it's worth noting that, no, girls don't naturally like pink anymore than boys do. Color association with gender is learned from a very young age, studies have found, and the toys marketed toward boys and girls can play a much bigger role in a kids' life than we might realize.

Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images.

“Play with masculine toys is associated with large motor development and spatial skills, and play with feminine toys is associated with fine motor development, language development, and social skills,” Megan Fulcher, associate professor of psychology at Washington and Lee University, told The New York Times. “Children may then extend this perspective from toys and clothes into future roles, occupations, and characteristics."

Limiting a child's play to toys that stereotypically align with their gender hinders their creativity and affects how they see themselves in the larger world. That hurts boys and girls.

Target's move isn't just progressive for the sake of being progressive — it will probably be good for business.

As a 2015 study by NPD Group found, millennials are significantly more likely than older age groups to think the toy industry "perpetuates gender stereotyping" and that all toys should be marketed to both girls and boys. As more millennials become new parents, it makes sense that retailers are reacting to this changing perspective.

Photo courtesy of Target, used with permission.

Those survey results fall in line with what Melissa Atkins Wardy is seeing and hearing from parents too. Wardy created the apparel line Pigtail Pals & Ballcap Buddies to change gender stereotypes associated with children's clothing, and she thought Target's move last year to get rid of "boy" and "girl" signs in toy sections was a smart one.

"There is no 'boy side' or 'girl side' to childhood,"she told Upworthy last August. "Why would we tell a kid they can't like cars or pirates or fairies or pink? Go for it, kid."


Photo courtesy of Target, used with permission.

It's great that retailers like Target are bringing about change when it comes to gender stereotyping, but we've still got a long way to go.

Toys and bedding didn't always use to be this way. In fact, in the 1970s, most toys didn't fit into a gender category; many bucked the stereotypes on purpose (i.e., boys playing with kitchen sets or girls driving toy cars). It wasn't until more recent decades that a stark divide between "toys for girls" and "toys for boys" began to form, Elizabeth Sweet wrote for The New York Times in 2012.

Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images.

The good news? In the last few years, more retailers — including giants like Walmart and Toys R Us — have begun waking up to the backward ways marketers approach selling toys. Target is one of them.

"You know what? Girls like rockets and basketball, and boys like ponies," Julie Guggemos, the retailer's senior vice president of design and product development, told The Star Tribune of Target's revamped approach with Pillowfort. "Who are we to say what a child’s individual expression is?"

Let's hope more retailers follow suit.

All illustrations are provided by Soosh and used with permission.

I have plenty of space.

This article originally appeared on 04.09.16


It's hard to truly describe the amazing bond between dads and their daughters.

Being a dad is an amazing job no matter the gender of the tiny humans we're raising. But there's something unique about the bond between fathers and daughters.

Most dads know what it's like to struggle with braiding hair, but we also know that bonding time provides immense value to our daughters. In fact, studies have shown that women with actively involved fathers are more confident and more successful in school and business.

Keep ReadingShow less
Identity

This blind chef wore a body cam to show how she prepares dazzling dishes.

How do blind people cook? This "Masterchef" winner leans into her senses.

Image pulled from YouTube video.

Christine Ha competes on "Masterchef."

This article originally appeared on 05.26.17


There is one question chef Christine Ha fields more than any other.

But it's got nothing to do with being a "Masterchef" champion, New York Times bestselling author, and acclaimed TV host and cooking instructor.

The question: "How do you cook while blind?"

Keep ReadingShow less
The Prince Charles Cinema/Youtube

Brendan Fraser dressed as Rick O'Connell.

Brendan Fraser might be making the greatest career comeback ever, racking up accolades and award nominations for his dramatic, transformative role in “The Whale." But the OG Fraser fans (the ones who watch “Doom Patrol” solely to hear his voice and proudly pronounce his last name as Fray-zure, for this is the proper pronunciation) have known of his remarkable talent since the 90s, when he embodied the ultimate charming, dashing—and slightly goofball—Hollywood action lead.

Let us not forget his arguably most well known and beloved 90s character—Rick O’Connell from the “Mummy” franchise. Between his quippy one-liners, Indiana Jones-like adventuring skills and fabulous hair, what’s not to like?

During a double feature of “The Mummy” and “The Mummy Returns” in London, moviegoers got the ultimate surprise when who should walk in but Brendan Fraser himself, completely decked out in Rick O’Connell attire. The brown leather jacket. The scarf. Everything.

Keep ReadingShow less

Gordon Ramsay at play... work.

This article originally appeared on 04.22.15


Gordon Ramsay is not exactly known for being nice.

Or patient.

Or nurturing.

On his competition show "Hell's Kitchen," he belittles cooks who can't keep up. If people come to him with their problems, he berates them. If someone is struggling to get something right in the kitchen, he curses them out.

Keep ReadingShow less

This article originally appeared on 01.27.20


From 1940 to 1945, an estimated 1.3 million people were deported to Auschwitz, the largest complex of Nazi concentration camps. More than four out of five of those people—at least 1.1 million people—were murdered there.

On January 27, 1945, Soviet forces liberated the final prisoners from these camps—7,000 people, most of whom were sick or dying. Those of us with a decent public education are familiar with at least a few names of Nazi extermination facilities—Auschwitz, Dachau, Bergen-Belsen—but these are merely a few of the thousands (yes, thousands) of concentration camps, sub camps, and ghettos spread across Europe where Jews and other targets of Hitler's regime were persecuted, tortured, and killed by the millions.

Keep ReadingShow less
Health

What I realized about feminism after my male friend was disgusted by tampons at a party.

"After all these years, my friend has probably forgotten, but I never have."

Photo by Josefin on Unsplash

It’s okay men. You don’t have to be afraid.

This article originally appeared on 08.12.16


Years ago, a friend went to a party, and something bothered him enough to rant to me about it later.

And it bothered me that he was so incensed about it, but I couldn't put my finger on why. It seemed so petty for him to be upset, and even more so for me to be annoyed with him.

Recently, something reminded me of that scenario, and it made more sense. I'll explain.

Keep ReadingShow less