Target just announced that later this month, they're going to roll out an extensive new home goods line for kids under the name Pillowfort. This is always happy news, right? We moms love Target, and with 400 items set to appear on the store shelves and the rest of the 1,200 item collection to appear online, we're sure to be dazzled by what they have come up with. But for some reason, this news has got some people clutching their pearls, and I don't get it.
The reason? The line is not targeted at boys, and it's not targeted at girls. It's meant for all kids, and this means that, by design, it's gender-neutral.
People get so bent out of shape whenever steps are taken to reduce or eliminate gender lines, especially for kids. There are folks who are so firmly in the camp of, "Pink is for girls, and blue is for boys" that any attempt to acknowledge that sometimes boys like "girly" things and sometimes girls like "boyish" things is too over-the-top and an attempt to pander to the minority (yes, I read a comment on Facebook saying as much earlier today.) There is also a really, really strange fear that encouraging kids to like whatever they want, even if it means something that is traditionally from another gender, will turn them gay.
While it may seem like everyone is trying to eliminate genders entirely, it's simply not the case.
While it may seem like everyone is trying to eliminate genders entirely, it's simply not the case. We're just more aware that pigeonholing kids into predetermined gender roles isn't necessary, and it can lead to less comfort when a child strays outside of these arbitrary, society-driven lines. This means kids may be less inclined to seek out designs and activities (and later down the road, employment) that have been "assigned" to the opposite gender.
Yes, of course, kids can mosey into the other aisle and pick out bedsheets that align with his or her likes, but they may be less apt to do so if the aisle itself is pretty clearly marked by gender. Gender-based marketing also means that parents may be more inclined to prevent their little boy from getting a girly thing, or vice versa.
And this stuff isn't all tan, yellow and green, like you instantly think of when you hear the term gender-neutral. It draws from all colors, from turquoise to orange to red to blue to black to white (and yes, some pink) and everything in between. Their designs are inspired by happy patterns, space, sports, animals, and nature. You know, things kids like.
The Target Corporation spent time studying what kids and their families really liked, and they claim it was customer feedback that inspired them to create the line in the first place—in other words, it wasn't an internal agenda to upset everyone by eliminating gender roles in children's bedrooms.