There is no gender separation, only Zuul.

This is a great idea.

As someone who doesn’t currently have kids, I rarely shop for kids’ toys or bedding at Target. However, as someone who wants to have kids someday, and someone who once was a kid, I’m really glad to hear Target is announcing plans to phase out gender-based signage.

There are two main arguments I can see against a move like this. The first, the argument that gender division in things like toys and bedding is more a product of nature than socialization, that dolls and princesses aren’t for boys and trucks and superheroes aren’t for girls and children will somehow have their psyches damaged if they play with the wrong gender’s toys, is an argument I don’t intend to dignify with more than one paragraph.

The second potential argument, which I see as a bit more reasonable, is the argument that a step like this isn’t necessary. That as it stands, there’s nothing but the attitude of the shopper keeping anyone from grabbing a toy from the “boy” aisle to give to a girl or vice versa, and that this is just another move by the PC police to keep us all wrapped in cotton wool so our delicate feelings don’t get hurt, or something to that effect.

Which…yeah, sure. Gender-based signage in a store is not some kind of impenetrable wall that can’t be crossed. I grew up in a household with one girl and one boy, and while my brother and I were often given gender-specific toys, there was nothing stopping us from playing with each other’s toys; we could, and did. And I would imagine there are also families with only girls or only boys who don’t let signage stop them from buying the toys their children want, whichever aisle they fall on.

But do you think that gender-based signage, packaging, and marketing doesn’t still have an impact on children? And while kids are capable of handling that impact–I did, other children do–is there any good reason not to remove that impact, if we can?

As I said, I played with a lot of “boy” toys growing up; nothing stopped me. But I was always aware that I was a girl playing with boy toys. That even though I was allowed to ply with them, they had been bought for and given to my brother. That on some level they weren’t for me in the same way they were for him.

It wasn’t anything I couldn’t deal with, but it was something I had to deal with. And if/when I have kids of my own, I don’t want them to experience that. Whatever their gender, whatever they’re into, I want them to just be kids playing with toys. And I’m in support of any act by a corporation that helps make that easier.

Oh, right, I have a blog.

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Bedtime Stories.”

So I haven’t written anything here in…a while. Can I blame that on grad school even though some people manage to go to grad school and blog at the same time? I’m totally going to blame it on grad school.

Anyway, yes, grad school! That was a thing that I did! A thing that would theoretically make a good subject for a blog post! But that is not the blog post I am going to write today. Today I am taking WordPress’s daily prompt as my impetus to write something here, so we’re going to talk about BOOKS.

What was your favorite book as a child? Did it influence the person you are now?

Unsurprisingly, this is a subject I could talk about a LOT, although all that talking would not necessarily reveal a single favorite because I have far too many beloved childhood books to pick.

I was raised with a love of books and reading, and a lot of the books of my early childhood are still some of my most beloved ones. Some that stand out in my memory:

  • The Wuggie Norple Story, a tale of a kitten who keeps getting bigger and a bunch of pets with increasingly ridiculous names. Someday, if no one stops me, I will name a dog Freckleface Chilibean.
  • A Time to Keep: The Tasha Tudor Book of Holidays is the kind of book that makes you nostalgic for a time you weren’t actually alive during. It’s full of absolutely gorgeous illustrations, which is a big part of what makes it stand out in my mind.
  • The Patchwork Cat–I had a lot of beloved childhood books about cats, raise your hand if you’re surprised.
  • Each Peach Pear Plum–If I try to talk about this book I’ll probably just end up quoting the whole thing from memory, so I’ll just leave this here.
  • The works of Lewis Carroll–I have to give a shout-out to Alice, of course, and to Carroll’s other works. I don’t know if the linked collection is the same one we had, but in any case, my mom read Alice’s Adventure in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass to me and my brother from a book that also had a lot of Carroll’s other works collected in it, which led to my brother and I quoting “Brother and Sister” at each other a lot.
  • Outside Over There…okay, I know I said at the start that I couldn’t pick a favorite, but if I HAD to, like, on pain of death, Outside Over There might be it. I would list it over Where The Wild Things Are as my favorite Sendak (FIGHT ME), and it’s an incredibly formative story for me in a lot of ways.

So those are some of the books I remember loving to have read to me or reading on my own when I was little. There were, of course, many, many more, and I’ve held onto that love of books and reading even if I don’t read as many books as I used to these days (look, the internet is DISTRACTING).

Did loving these and other books influence the person I am now? Well, I’m pursuing a career as a librarian. I own more books than I do shelf space to put them on, even after paring down my collection a few times. And when I think about being a parent, which I would like to be eventually, one of the big things I think about is getting to buy children’s books for my kids and read to them and try to pass on that love of reading.