10 Questions for Target Critics Regarding “Boys’ Toys” and “Girls’ Toys”


by Rachel Held Evans Read Distraction Free

As you may have heard, Target recently decided to do away with signage in their children’s toys and bedding departments designating certain merchandise for boys and certain merchandise for girls. 

Legos and dolls and singing teapots, it seems, are reportedly enjoyed by children of all genders.

This may seem like an unremarkable turn of events, but according to Grant Castleberry of the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (flagship organization for the complementarianism movement, which advocates hierarchal gender roles in the home, church, and society), it represents a severe “cultural capitulation” which, “instead of helping guide children towards embracing who they actually are, blurs reality,” “confuses them,” and “drags them through the dark labyrinths” of their parents’ gender-based delusions. 

 Dark labyrinths indeed. 

So in light of the fact that Dan and I are now parents-to-be and will be making big decisions regarding bedding and toys that will apparently fix the course of our child’s future, I have ten questions for Mr. Castleberry and the CBMW:

1. Can you tell me exactly where I am to check to determine the gender of a given toy?

2. Do you recommend disciplining a little girl who plays with Legos and blocks (as they may tempt her to become an engineer) or a little boy who plays with dolls (as they may tempt him to become... a father)?

3. You say, “The Bible teaches that men are wired by God to protect and to pursue...” Where? Where does the Bible say this?

4. You say, “The Bible teaches that...women, on the other hand, are wired by God to nurture and be pursued…”  Where? Where does the Bible say this?

5. Is it possible that Sarah, Rachel, Ruth, Deborah, Jael, Esther, Martha, Mary Magdalene, Mary of Nazareth, Lydia, Priscilla, and other biblical women who exhibited initiative, leadership, and valor were corrupted by the gender neutral toy aisles of ancient Near Eastern markets? Might their parents have painted their nurseries an unbiblical shade of blue?

6. I am a good leader and also a woman. And I enjoy football. Do you know of a place where I can get my faulty “wiring” checked? (Note: My father and I loved to play with blocks and toy cars/trucks together when I was little. Might this be his fault?) Similarly, my husband is incredibly nurturing, especially with animals and children.  Do you know a place where he can get his faulty “wiring” checked?

7. Are you aware that at the turn of the century, it was often recommended that boys wear pink and girls wear blue? How did that society depart from clear biblical gender norms?! 

8. Will you also be advocating for additional signs for the entertainment section of Target indicating which movies, music and books are appropriate for adult women vs. adult men? Will you push for the kitchenware section to be painted pink and the power tools section to be painted blue?  How can grown adults be expected to make purchasing decisions without clear, unambiguous signs telling them what they want based on their gender? 

9. How can Christian families avoid “cultural capitulation” by ensuring that our boys are aggressive, violent, and unemotional and our girls are quiet, unobtrusive, and bad at math?

10. Is there any way you could also deem all further merchandising of “Frozen” unbiblical? Please?

I’m sure you have questions for the CBMW too. Feel free to leave them in the comment section.

See also: 

The Absurd Legalism of Gender Roles 

The Absurd Legalism of Gender Roles, Exhibit B: Guys and Dolls

The Absurd Legalism of Gender Roles, Exhibit C: “As Long as I Can’t See Her” 

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