California lawmakers are considering a bill that would penalize department stores for segregating children’s toys, clothing and other items by gender.
Under CA AB2826 (19R), introduced by Assembly Member Evan Low, D-Campbell, department stores with 500 or more employees would be subject to a fine of $ 1,000 if they “do not” correct a violation of these provisions within 30 days. following receipt of written notice of the violation ”.
The stores would not have to change their products, but the products could not be displayed on the basis of how they have “traditionally been marketed for girls or for boys”.
Low, who originally introduced the bill last year, said he came up with the idea from one of his employees, who claimed his daughter asked him why an item she was supposed to want was in the boys’ section.
“This is a problem so that children can express themselves without prejudice,” Low said. Politics Last week.
The bill comes amid growing resistance from consumer groups to make toys more gender neutral. The British group “Let Toys Be Toys”, for example, argues that the marketing of toys and books to a specific gender promotes stereotypes and is harmful to children.
Many toy makers have updated their classic brands in recent years, hoping to relate to today’s kids and reflect more modern families.
Hasbro, the company that has been making the plastic potato-shaped toy for nearly 70 years, announced this week that it is offering the ‘Mr’. Potato Head a new gender-neutral name: Potato Head. The change will appear on the boxes this year.
“It’s a potato,” said Ali Mierzejewski, editor of toy review site The Toy Insider. “But kids like to see themselves in the toys they play with.”
Barbie, for example, tried to shed her blonde image and now comes in several skin tones and body shapes. The Thomas the Tank Engine toy line has added more female characters. And American Girl now sells a boy doll.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.