Target hits the bull's-eye by announcing an end to gender-based signs in sections of its stores.

Sweeping changes are coming to an American retail giant.

And they really hit the bull's-eye ... if you'll pardon my pun.

It's not so much about what you will see browsing the aisles of your local Target but rather what you won't.


Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images.

In several sections of its stores, Target is removing signs that suggests products are for people of a particular gender.

In a blog post published Aug. 7, 2015, Target explained why it's phasing out men/women and boy/girl references in certain shopping areas.

In some sections, "suggesting products by gender is unnecessary," Target explained, and it's not what today's customers are looking for in a shopping experience.

"How we all shopped five years ago or 10 years ago looks different to how we shop today," Molly Snyder, a spokesperson for Target, told Upworthy.

Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images.

However, "in some cases, like apparel, where there are fit and sizing differences, [referencing gender] makes sense," the company said.

But in sections like entertainment, kids' bedding, and toys, customers will stop seeing gender-specific labels or pinks, blues, yellows, or greens used to imply a product is only for one gender.

"Why would we tell a kid they can't like cars or pirates or fairies or pink? Go for it, kid."

Target — which hasn't had the best track record when it comes to gender stereotyping (Remember these sexist superhero baby pajamas? Or when an Ohio store thought it needed to point out the difference between "building sets" and "girls' building sets"?) — said guest feedback prompted the change: "We heard you, and we agree."

The changes are rolling out nationwide now, Snyder said, so guests can expect to see differences in certain sections throughout the next several months.

It's a bold move that will probably bode well for Target.

Parents are increasingly on the lookout for a more respectful approach to shopping for their children, according to industry expert Melissa Atkins Wardy.

Wardy, who created the apparel line Pigtail Pals & Ballcap Buddies in part to fight back against stereotypes often associated with children's clothing, applauded the retailer for being more gender-inclusive.

"There is no 'boy side' or 'girl side' to childhood," she told Upworthy, noting gender stereotypes can hinder a child's development by limiting their experiences. "Why would we tell a kid they can't like cars or pirates or fairies or pink? Go for it, kid."

Photo by Joe Corrigan/Getty Images for Disney.

Having talked to thousands of parents throughout the years on the topic of children's retail, she expects customers will be "thrilled" about the change.

Unfortunately, gender stereotyping is still the norm when it comes to toys.

Although Wardy acknowledged a shift in the way Americans view gender in regards to parenting, that shift hasn't necessarily been reflected in the toy industry's tactics, according to Elizabeth Sweet.

Sweet, who wrote for the The Atlantic in 2014 about her experiences researching toy advertising, explained how America has in many ways regressed when it comes to gender-stereotyped toys for children.

Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images.

"The princess role that's ubiquitous in girls' toys today was exceedingly rare prior to the 1990s," Sweet wrote. "And the marketing of toys is more gendered now than even 50 years ago, when gender discrimination and sexism were the norm."

That's why the move by Target — America's fourth-largest retailer with millions of customers throughout the country — is a pretty big deal.

We have a long way to go, but Target's big announcement is a sign we're headed in the right direction.

"When the idea that 'kids are awesome little people' is mainstream and they are free to be as they please," Hardy said, "it will be a happy day."

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Often, parents of children with special needs struggle to find Halloween costumes that will accommodate medical equipment or provide a proper fit. And figuring out how to make one? Yikes.

There's good news; shopDisney has added new ensembles to their already impressive line of adaptive play costumes. And from 8/30 - 9/26, there's a 20% off sale for all costume and costume accessory orders of $75+ with code Spooky.

When looking for the right costume, kids with unique needs have a lot of extra factors to consider: wheelchair wheels get tangled up in too-long material, feeding tubes could get twisted the wrong way, and children with sensory processing disorders struggle with the wrong kind of fabric, seams, or tags. There are a lot of different obstacles that can come between a kid and the ability to wear the costume of their choice, which is why it's so awesome that more and more companies are recognizing the need for inclusive creations that make it easy for everyone to enjoy the magic of make-believe.

Created with inclusivity in mind, the adaptive line is designed to discreetly accommodate tubes or wires from the front or the back, with lots of stretch, extra length and roomier cut, and self-stick fabric closures to make getting dressed hassle-free. The online shop provides details on sizing and breaks down the magical elements of each outfit and accessory, taking the guesswork out of selecting the perfect costume for the whole family.

Your child will be able to defeat Emperor Zurg in comfort with the Buzz Lightyear costume featuring a discreet flap opening at the front for easy tube access, with self-stick fabric closure. There is also an opening at the rear for wheelchair-friendly wear, and longer-length inseams to accommodate seated guests. To infinity and beyond!

An added bonus: many of the costumes offer a coordinating wheelchair cover set to add a major boost of fun. Kids can give their ride a total makeover—all covers are made to fit standard size chairs with 24" wheels—to transform it into anything from The Mandalorian's Razor Crest ship to Cinderella's Coach. Some options even come equipped with sounds and lights!

From babies to adults and adaptive to the group, shopDisney's expansive variety of Halloween costumes and accessories are inclusive of all.

Don't forget about your furry companions! Everyone loves to see a costumed pet trotting around, regardless of the occasion. You can literally dress your four-legged friend to look like Sven from Frozen, which might not sound like something you need in your life but...you totally do. CUTENESS OVERLOAD.

This year has been tough for everyone, so when a child gets that look of unfettered joy that comes from finally getting to wear the costume of their dreams, it's extra rewarding. Don't wait until the last minute to start looking for the right ensemble!


*Upworthy may earn a portion of sales revenue from purchases made through affiliate links on our site.

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Photo courtesy of Macy's
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The answer lies in Girls Inc., a national nonprofit serving girls ages 5-18 in more than 350 cities across North America. Since first forming in 1864 to serve girls and young women who were experiencing upheaval in the aftermath of the Civil War, they've been on a mission to inspire girls to kick butt and step into leadership roles — today and in the future.

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Photo courtesy of Macy's

Within her first year in the organization, she bravely took on speaking opportunities and participated in several summer programs focused on advocacy, leadership, and STEM (science, technology, engineering and math). "The women that I met each have a story that inspires me to become a better person than I was yesterday," said St. Victor. She credits her time at Girls Inc. with making her stronger and more comfortable in her own skin — confidence that directly translates to high achievement in education and the workforce.

In 2020, Macy's helped raise $1.3 million in support of their STEM and college and career readiness programming for more than 26,000 girls. In fact, according to a recent study, Girls Inc. girls are significantly more likely than their peers to enjoy math and science, to be interested in STEM careers, and to perform better on standardized math tests.

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