I’m not sure I can think of anything California state legislators should be working on at the moment.
After all, it’s possibly the most well-run state in our nation. Taxes are low, housing is affordable, social services are under control and everything is basically hunky-dory. It’s like a Beach Boys song from 1963.
So it’s time to set about solving other problems — namely, the idea that some regressive stores in the Golden State still have separate aisles for boys’ and girls’ toys.
According to KRON-TV, Assemblyman Evan Low is sponsoring a bill that would require businesses of a certain size that sell toys to keep their aisles gender-neutral.
“This bill would require a retail department store with 500 or more employees to maintain undivided areas of its sales floor where, if it sells childcare articles, children’s clothing, or toys, all childcare items, all clothing for children, or all toys, regardless of whether a particular item has traditionally been marketed for either girls or for boys, shall be displayed,” the bill reads.
“Beginning on January 1, 2023, the bill would make a retail department store that fails to correct a violation of these provisions within 30 days of receiving written notice of the violation from the Attorney General liable for a civil penalty of $1,000, as provided.”
It’s entertaining to read the bill’s justification within the text.
“Unjustified differences in similar products that are traditionally marketed either for girls or for boys can be more easily identified by the consumer if similar items are displayed closer to one another in one, undivided area of the retail sales floor,” it reads.
“Keeping similar items that are traditionally marketed either for girls or for boys separated makes it more difficult for the consumer to compare the products and incorrectly implies that their use by one gender is inappropriate.”
The bill could be heard in committee for the first time on March 22.
“I was inspired to introduce this bill after 8-year-old Britten asked, ‘Why should a store tell me what a girl’s shirt or toy is?’” Assemblyman Low said in a news release.
“Her bill will help children express themselves freely and without bias. We need to let kids be kids.”
The news release also noted “several major retailers have taken steps to break down gender norms in clothing. Abercrombie & Fitch and John Lewis recently launched unisex apparel lines for kids. In 2015, Target made headlines when it removed gender-based signs in some departments, including home and toys.”
There’s only one thing that hasn’t aged as well as the Twitter insult “this didn’t age well,” and it’s this:
— Evan Low (@Evan_Low) February 19, 2020
I guess he’s found something more important than homelessness.
And by the way, you know how Democrats are always saying we should listen to scientists? Perhaps Evan Low ought to do this, since it turns out researchers have found significant differences between “boys’ and girls’ toy preferences across a range of ages, time periods, countries, and settings,” according to Psypost.
“The study, which was published in the scientific journal Infant and Child Development, found that children overwhelmingly chose to play with toys typed to their gender. Boys played with male‐typed toys more than girls did, and girls played with female‐typed toys more than boys did,” the outlet reported in 2017.
“The sex difference in toy preference held even after the researchers accounted for the effects of the presence or absence of an adult, the study setting, the gender equality status of the country, year of publication, and presence of gender‐neutral toys.”
“For some people the topic of gender difference in toy choice is controversial, because they passionately believe that such gender differences should not exist. For other people the topic is trivial, because for them it is totally obvious that there are gender differences in toy choice,” study author John A. Barry said.
However, what science showed is that whether or not you like it, those differences exist. Punishing large retailers with fines if they don’t won’t change it. If California wants to make a change, perhaps this time could be better used dealing with the state’s homelessness crisis.
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