Target takes down gender signs

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- Target will remove the boys' and girls' labels in their toys, home, and entertainment aisles.

They released a statement that announced the move from gender-based signs.

"Over the past year, guests have raised important questions about a handful of signs in our stores that offer product suggestions based on gender," the post read.

Target teams are working to determine what areas they can phase out this signage to help create a better balance for their customers.

"They are saying we don't necessarily have to have separate aisles based on that division of gender," said Dr. Tricia Bruce, a Professor of Sociology at Maryville College. "They are removing some of that signage, such that bedding will be marked by topic or theme rather than along the lines of gender."

Dr. Bruce said this is an important step to help a child determine and explore the person they want to be.

"It's not that before the aisles were restricting where people went, but those messages that you get about what it means to be a girl and what it means to be a boy will shape how you see yourself and how you see future opportunities," said Dr. Bruce.

Target determined that suggesting gender is unnecessary. This has been an important move for Target, but it has also become a controversial topic.

"The colors don't have to change," said Emily Pray, a Target shopper. "I think it's very silly. Just leave it the way it is."

"It will give people more options and I just think it's a really good idea," said Kristin Gobbel, another Target shopper.

It's been just over a week and a local Target has changed almost every toy aisle. They have changed the blue and pink backgrounds in the toy sections to a neutral one.

"You shouldn't have to make it neutral in any store, Target, Walmart, Kohls , JC Penny, nobody should have to make it neutral," said April Williams, a Target shopper. "Then you're saying okay you can't choose what you want because we are going to choose it for you."

On the other hand, Dr. Bruce believes taking the focus off gender will actually give children more freedom.

"If you continually receive messages that say that you should be thinking about your appearance or you should be thinking about yourself in this role," said Dr. Bruce. "This does begin to shape the way you see your options and personality, and the way others see you."

Target said signs for apparel will stay because there are still sizing differences.