Gender neutral signage isn't the end of the world. Really. I survived, and so will everyone else if we stop being so gender obsessed.
Humor Life Politics/Community

I Survived Without Gender Signs, and You Can, Too

Gender neutral signage isn't the end of the world. Really. I survived, and so will everyone else if we stop being so gender obsessed.

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Recently, Target elected to remove all gender-based signage, leaving its helpless patrons to aimlessly wander their way through the toy aisles, seemingly lost somewhere in the gender neutral abyss.

To put it lightly, people were PO-ed. They took to the Twitterverse and all but condemned the retail giant to fiery gates of hell.

Wait, no, someone did that too, I think.

I guess it’s understandable. I mean, navigating through the toy aisle does require a certain amount of mental capability, doesn’t it? How will they ever again be able to properly decipher the Barbies from the Hot Wheels? The Nerf guns from the tutus? The Tonka trucks from the Easy Bake Ovens, or the tiaras from the light sabers?

Just the THOUGHT of such confusion is causing me to hyperventilate!

I’ve got news for you — if you are unable to distinguish a baby doll from a transformer, Target’s new policy is the least of your narrow-minded worries.

Also, if you believe that girls are only to dance around in their tutus and learn to bake cookies instead of playing with dinosaurs and mega blocks and that boys are to remain within the confines of basketball courts and football fields instead of learning how to assemble their own sandwiches and have opinions about their own attire, you need to wake the eff up.

It’s 2015.

No longer is it expected that women slave away in a kitchen all day, preparing five course meals while ironing khakis and mixing the perfect “welcome home” drink in preparation for their husbands’ arrivals home from work.

We don’t have to raise our hands before speaking or offer apologies for our less than popular opinions. If we have something to say, we say it. And if you are offended by our perspectives, that’s really not a concern of ours. If we want to stay at home with our kids, we will. If we wish to work a 9-5, we’ll do that too.

It’s our choice.

The same can be said for men. No longer is it required of them to be the primary bread winners with tough guy attitudes and biceps to match. They don’t have to build engines or hunt grizzly bears to prove their manliness, and their testosterone levels are not defined by their ability to quote Sports Center.

They’re able to order salads without shame, stay at home with their kids judgment-free, and use fabric softener without their masculinity ever once coming into question.

It’s their choice.

This is a modern America that we live in. Whatever roles men and women choose to play is up to them and only them, not societal standards.

Let me tell you a little story.

When I was a kid, I played with dinosaurs and mega blocks. I participated in every sport and came home covered in dirt on a regular basis. I could name every quarterback in the NFL and grill a steak before I was even 15.

I didn’t wear pink. I didn’t own a curling iron, and I considered glitter to be hazardous to my health.

Sure, for a girl, my choices were atypical, but they didn’t make me any less of a girl.

My mom passed away when I was ten, so for most of my adolescent life, I was raised by my dad. He became my mother and my father.

He cooked many delicious, homemade meals and folded many mountains of laundry. He scrubbed bathroom floors and took me shopping for makeup. He bought me prom dresses and sunless tanner and never once questioned the hormones that morphed me into a psychotic teenager once every month.

Him living his life in the trenches with a teenage girl didn’t make him any less of a man.

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I continued to play sports throughout high school and part of college, and I never got to a point that I wore pink dresses or high heels. I never rushed for any sororities, and I have never once had the desire to watch a makeup tutorial.

But despite all of my gender-bending characteristics, I grew up into a fully functional, heterosexual woman. I’m married to a wonderful man, and together we have two pretty awesome little boys.

Recently, after Target had initiated their new gender neutral policy, my boys and I paid them a visit. We made our way directly to the toy section, where my two-year-old easily found his coveted Hot Wheels within seconds of our arrival. Maybe it was his McGyver-like ability to sniff out toy cars that got him there so quickly, but he had little need for big, bright blue arrows to tell him which toys our society feels are best for boys.

Hey society, I have an idea. How about instead of telling little girls that they should dress in pink and learn to bake and little boys that they should play with trucks and build things out of Legos, we encourage our kids to explore their creativity? We allow them to play with whatever toys they find entertaining at that particular moment and welcome them to be who they want to be?

How about we teach our girls that they don’t need a knight in shining armor to rescue them in their pink, plastic castles? How about we teach our boys that they don’t have to drive fast cars and flex their muscles to assert themselves?

Let’s teach our children how to respect others. Let’s teach them to be accepting of differences. Let’s teach them to love everyone.

Let’s teach them about equality.

After years of feeling like I wasn’t woman enough to fit a particular mold, I have learned to love what makes me different. I don’t need to cook meals in four-inch wedges and a cocktail dress to make me feel like any more of a woman, and I certainly don’t need our society’s expired standards telling me that I’m any less of one because of that.

Girls can still be girls without baking fake brownies. Boys can still be boys without a miniature garage full of footballs.

Touche, Target, for breaking the mold.

My loyalty to you remains unscathed. It’s going to take more than a couple of absent labels to keep me from frequenting your stores and overspending on candles and linens for which I have no actual need.