California requires gender-neutral displays for toys and childcare items at large stores

Posted 5 days ago

From WWW.CBSNEWS.COM

California became the first state to say large department stores must display products like toys and toothbrushes in gender-neutral ways, a win for LGBT advocates who say the pink and blue hues of traditional marketing methods pressure children to conform to gender stereotypes.

The new law, signed by Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom on Saturday, does not outlaw traditional boys and girls sections at department stores. Instead, it says large stores must also have a gender-neutral section to display "a reasonable selection" of items "regardless of whether they have been traditionally marketed for either girls or for boys."

That does not include clothes. The law only applies to toys and "childcare items," which include hygiene and teething products. And it only applies to stores with at least 500 employees, meaning small businesses are exempt.

"If you want to develop children's physical, cognitive, academic, musical and artistic skills, toys that are not strongly gender-typed are more likely to do this."Judith Elaine Blakemore, a professor of psychology and associate dean of Arts and Sciences for Faculty Development at Indiana University−Purdue University in Fort Wayne, Indiana, said in an interview with the National Association for the Education of Young Children, earlier this year.

Blakemore's research found that "in general, the toys most associated with boys were related to fighting or aggression — wrestlers, soldiers, guns, etc. — and the toys most associated with girls were rela... (Read more)