Letters to the Editor: California doesn’t need a law on labeling toys by gender

Target store
Target is one large retailer that stopped sorting the toys it sells based on gender.
(Associated Press)

To the editor: Our state legislators must not have much to do if they are trying to pass a bill forbidding large stores from having separate boys’ and girls’ sections in the toy department. Even the bill’s sponsors concede that stores are already displaying toys in a more gender-neutral way.

Family members do most of the buying, and they are probably also the ones who are giving the message that boys play with this and girls play with that.

I am a woman in her 70s who went to elementary school when girls wore dresses and skirts to class, yet I played with Lincoln Logs, I had an electric train, I played mad scientist and cops and robbers, I had dolls, and I loved jigsaw puzzles. This was because my parents provided me a variety of playthings.


California does not need this law. It’s an utter waste of time and effort.

Ruth Silveira, Los Angeles


To the editor: I was very happy to read about the bill to emliminate the gender-based labeling of toy sections in large stores. I was shocked in 2019 when I went shopping at Target for gifts for a friend’s grandchildren and saw that toys were divided by color and aisles.

The article states that some companies, including Target, don’t label their toy sections by gender anymore. That may be literally true, but go to the toy section in your local Target and you will see that some aisles are strictly pink, purple and pastels, while other aisles are black and red. I think you can guess at whom those aisles are directed.

Just taking the designations off the signage doesn’t go far enough. Toy manufacturers and stores have figured out how to get around that. Separate aisles and traditional boy and girl colors on toys and their packaging make it clear that there has been very little progress in this area.

While the proposed bill might be a start, we need legislation that goes further.

Eileen Mann, Newhall


To the editor: Nice to see our legislators hard at work tackling California’s most pressing problems. What this state really needs right now is a law telling toy stores how to organize their shelves.


Michael Grossman, San Dimas