- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 13, 2015

Target has announced it will begin phasing out gender-based descriptions for children’s toys and other sections following customer complaints.

“Right now, our teams are working across the store to identify areas where we can phase out gender-based signage to help strike a better balance,” Target  said in a statement Friday.

“For example, in the kids’ Bedding area, signs will no longer feature suggestions for boys or girls, just kids,” the statement said. “In the Toys aisles, we’ll also remove reference to gender, including the use of pink, blue, yellow or green paper on the back walls of our shelves. You’ll see these changes start to happen over the next few months.”

The push for more gender neutral advertising at Target gained steam in June after Ohio mother Abi Bechtel posted a photo on social media that showed an aisle designated for “Building Sets” and “Girls’ Building Sets,” Fox News reported.

“Don’t do this, @Target,” Ms. Bechtel wrote in a tweet that went viral.

Target’s statement didn’t mention Ms. Bechtel, but thanked customers for “challenging us to get better at what we do.”

“Over the past year, guests have raised important questions about a handful of signs in our stores that offer product suggestions based on gender,” the statement said. “In some cases, like apparel, where there are fit and sizing differences, it makes sense. In others, it may not. Historically, guests have told us that sometimes — for example, when shopping for someone they don’t know well — signs that sort by brand, age or gender help them get ideas and find things faster. But we know that shopping preferences and needs change and, as guests have pointed out, in some departments like Toys, Home or Entertainment, suggesting products by gender is unnecessary.”

The change isn’t going over well with some.

Franklin Graham, son of famed preacher Billy Graham, tweeted Tuesday: “Target may be forgetting who made their stores strong. It’s working families, fathers, mothers, boys, girls-not gender-neutral. #OffTarget.”

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