Target Cashes In On Gender-Neutral Fad

target-logoCommentary by Susan Brinkmann, OCDS

Target is one of the first major retails to start cashing in on the new “gender-neutral” craze for children by introducing a line of bedding that can be used for either boys or girls. is reporting on the new line called “Pillowfort” which is the next step in appeasing the thought police on Twitter who had a hissy-fit last year over the store’s signage which indicated boys or girls toys. Not only did the retailer change the signs to be “gender neutral”, but now they’ve launched a new home décor line for kids that resists the typical pink or blue designs.

According to Fortune, the new line, which is being introduced on Feb. 21, is “part of CEO Brian Cornell’s efforts to rejuvenate the retailer’s offerings in areas like home goods and inject more style.”

A spokesman for the company told Fortune the new line would help double Target’s sales of kids’ home good within three years.

pillowfort 1Pillowfort isn’t to blame, however. It was Target who “developed the line” to fit the needs of “progressive” parents who claim their children are somehow being harmed by stereotypes even though their children don’t even know what a stereotype is.

“It gets back to listening to mom, understanding what she’s looking for from Target and making sure we’re delivering the products and the content that’s going to be right,” Chief Executive Brian Cornell told the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

A press release from the company claims their modern design team spent time with parents and children to assess what “makes them tick” – which led to the introduction of the rather drab designs.

The whole gender-neutral rage is really not about the children- it’s all about their parents and the new “gender-neutral parenting” craze that has gripped the world. Just google the term and you get more than one million hits.

So what impact does it have on children? According to, that all depends on who you ask.

“A major pro to raising a gender-neutral baby is that you will be allowing your child to develop without the artificially created limitations that society has placed around gender,” says Israel Martinez, a licensed clinical social worker. “As human beings, we crave to make life simpler and new information easier to digest. So we naturally want to establish categories, or boxes, that everything needs to fit into.”

pillowfort 2Some say we should just let them be whoever they want to be, regardless of biology, such as Jane Ward, an associate professor of Women’s Studies at the University of California, Riverside, who let her son pick his own gender.

“Raising a child under these strict gender guidelines is denying them an entire world of colors–they become tracked into the characteristics of their biological sex,” Ward says.

This sounds more like something a professor would say than a child.

As a result, Ward’s son grew up wearing jeans and dresses and has since decided that although he identifies with being a boy, he still wants to dress like a girl when he feels like it – a choice that might not go over so well for him in an adult world.

Thankfully, there are still some experts who are not afraid to say just how damaging it can be to introduce this kind of confusion to children.

“Every boy and girl child must make a strong identification as a male or female person,” Fran Walfish, Psy.D., a psychotherapist based in Beverly Hills, California. “Without it, the child feels lost and confused about [his or her] own identity. Gender and sexuality are only aspects of a person’s identification. The goal is for clarity. Without male or female gender clarity the child is not a full person.”

Pope Francis called modern gender-theory to be a “new sin committed against God the Creator.”

He was especially harsh when it came to the idea of schools (or anyone else for that matter) demanding that children be introduced to the idea of gender neutrality, saying this was “comparable to the educational policies of Hitler and the destructive possibilities of the nuclear arms race.”

Target might be making money off this new trend, but they are doing so at the expense of our children’s well-being.


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