Amazon Dumps Gender Categories for Toys; Will There be a Ripple Effect?

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I find it really intriguing to see what comes next when large companies make socially oriented changes.  Due to their sheer scale, these big businesses have the ability to create a ripple effect.  I think that is what we are going to see as a reaction to Amazon’s decision to end gender designations for toys.

As Caroline Bologna pointed out in her Huffington Post article, “Amazon Removes Boys and Girls from Toy Categories”: “…if you look at the category sidebar on the Toys & Games section of Amazon, you'll notice that the option to sort toys by gender is no longer there — while a cached view of the site shows it previously included "boys" and "girls."  Bologna goes on to point out that gender designations still pop up in some parts of the site but it is believed that they will eventually be eliminated as well.

The ripple effect could recently be seen in McDonald's recent announcement that it would cease serving chicken that has been treated with human antibiotics.  Within weeks, Tyson Foods announced that they would cease using human antibiotics with their chickens as well.

In February, Wal-Mart increased its minimum wage to $9 per hour for full-time employees.  In March, Target matched the increase as did TJ Maxx and Marshall’s.   

I checked toysrus.com; target.com and walmart.com to see their status and all three still allow you to search by gender.  Will retailers follow Amazon’s lead?  I think it’s a reasonable bet.

What do you think of Amazon’s decision?

For more on this subject see:

 "Sweden Goes Gender Neutral."

"Big Story: Hamley’s, the world’s biggest toy Store, goes gender neutral" 

"…and the Gender Walls Came Tumbling Down; Harrods Department Store Mixes Up the Toys"  

Thanks to the worlds best sons, Matt Gottlieb and Andrew Gottlieb, for bringing this article to my attention.

One thought

  1. Richard,
    Ripple effect or no, this latest move does not perform a service to the Amazon customer. Those of us who have developed and marketed toys to kids over the years know that little boys and girls are wired differently. There is no doubt that there are toys that appeal equally, but there are so many more that are dominated by boys or girls, and the foolishness of attempting political correctness does a disservice to the consumer.
    I can’t tell you how many times in focus groups and conversation with Moms I have heard the story that their sons would pick up a stick and begin using it as a gun…despite the fact that Mom was so careful to keep junior from seeing violence of any kind in the media. Little girls don’t do that.
    It’s great that LEGO and others finally acknowledged what many of us have known for decades…little girls like LEGOs too. Any parent who had to learn that via advertising or in-store merchandising hasn’t been paying attention. LEGO is following, not leading, on this issue. Just ask my 30-year-old daughter, who grew up with LEGOs.
    Creating gender-neutral designations for toys will not change the challenges we face in balancing out participation in occupations driven by math and the sciences. The current focus of the industry and consumer on STEM products and activities will go so much further in that regard.
    I hope Amazon reconsiders their initiative and ignores the uninformed media and special interests who would like to see everything blended into an amorphous clutter. Boys and girls are not, and were not meant to be, the same.

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