The state of California became the first state to require large department stores to create gender-neutral ways of displaying their products like toys, hygiene, and teething products for children.

Gender-Neutral Toy Aisles at California Department Stores

According to USA Today, the newly signed law by Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom was considered as a win for LGBT advocates who stated that the pink and blue hues of traditional marketing methods had pressured children in conforming to gender stereotypes.

The new law ordered large stores to have a gender-neutral section to display "a reasonable selection" of items "regardless of whether they have been traditionally marketed either for girl or for boys."

However, it does not include clothes and only applied to toys and "childcare items," which include items considered for hygiene and teething products.

Also, the new law is only applied to stores with at least 500 employees, exempting small businesses from the mandate.

Moreover, Assemblyman Evan Low, who is a Democrat from San Jose and the author of the bill, stated that he was "incredibly grateful" that Newsom signed the bill this year. He added that it would take effect on Jan. 1, 2024. After which, violators would be facing a civil penalty of as much as $250 for the first violation and $500 for subsequent offenses.

It was the third time that the Democrats in the state legislature have tried to pass the law. Similar bills have failed in 2019 and 2020.

Low shared that he was inspired by the 10-year-old girl daughter of one of his staffers. The assemblyman said that he heard that the girl asked her mom why certain items in the store were "off-limits" to her because of her gender.

Low emphasized that department stores needed to stop stigmatizing what's acceptable for certain genders, and parents should also let kids be kids.

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Gender-Neutral Ways' Pros and Cons

The Consumer Federation of California also supported the proposal authored by Low.

The federation said that keeping similar items that are traditionally marketed separately for girls or for boys made it more difficult for consumers to compare the products and incorrectly implies that their use by one gender is inappropriate.

Furthermore, the federation said that separating products by gender has helped stores to disguise the unfortunate fact that female products were often priced higher than male products.

While the state of California became the first state to order huge department stores to have a gender-neutral aisle or create ways, some huge retail stores had already changed their display methods on their products.

In 2015, the retail store company, Target Corp., with a total of 1,915 stores across the U.S., announced that they would discard the gender-based signs that they displayed in their stores.

However, the law was opposed by some Republicans and some conservative groups, who argued that the state government should not tell parents how to shop for their children.

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This article is owned by Latin Post.

Written by: Jess Smith

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