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NY Times: Sweeping Away Gender-Specific Toys and Labels


By Hunter Wallace

Earlier this summer, I wrote about how Target was ditching gender binaries in all their stores and how androgony was the hip new trend in menswear. Now, The New York Times has a new story on how gendered Halloween costumes and toys for boys and girls are little more than an insidious form of Jim Crow segregation in the aisles of your local Toys “R” Us:

“Aliceana Belling marched past the rows of pink princess dresses at her local Walmart last month and headed straight to the superhero outfits.

She mulled the options for Halloween. Iron Man? Spider-Man? The Hulk?

Then she saw the Captain America suit, shiny shield and all.

“I can fly in the air outside!” Aliceana, 3, said from her home in Fond du Lac, Wis., where she plans to go trick-or-treating as the Marvel Comics superhero this Halloween. “I’m going to save dogs!” …”

And despite the recent changes, a stroll through the toy section at a Target or a Toys “R” Us is still a gender-specific experience. At a Target store in Brooklyn, there were the “Frozen” princess dresses, My Little Pony figurines, and the convertible-driving, glitter-haired Barbie dolls in one half of the children’s section. Then there were the separate aisles of Roboraptor robot dinosaurs, Star Wars spaceships and Nerf guns.

Segregation along gender lines in the toy category had worsened over the past decades before the recent pushback, said Elizabeth V. Sweet, a lecturer in sociology at the University of California, Davis who has written extensively on gender stereotypes in children’s toys. She puts much of the blame on the dismantling, in 1984, of restrictions on television programming aimed at children.”

Absurd, you say?

You’re just one of the great unwashed masses of bigots out there in flyover country who can stroll through a Toys “R” Us or a Wal-Mart without being offended by the gender-specific merchandise on display. Perhaps you can even use a gender segregated restroom without even feeling the slightest tinge of guilt. Once again, the normal and the deviant are switching sides in front of our eyes in this perverse society.