A bill being proposed in California would make it illegal to advertise certain sections of retail stores as just for boys or just for girls … including clothes and toys.
The bill, AB 1084, was just introduced into the California legislature late last month by Assemblymembers Evan Low of the Bay Area and Cristina Garcia of Los Angeles … which aims to do away with gendered signage in big department stores of 500+ employees.
In other words, places like Target, Walmart or Kohls that sells childcare items, children’s toys/products or children’s wardrobe wouldn’t be able to steer folks to certain sections based on sex — it would just be a free-for-all … where parents and kids could roam freely to what they liked. They’d also be prohibited from dividing the floor space up by gender.
There’s more … any websites these stores operate would have to change their categories too — so instead of boys/girls (whatever) … it’d read “kids,” “unisex” or “gender-neutral.” We should also note, some of these stores have already started designating certain sections of their floor as gender-neutral — like Target, which apparently made the move in 2015.
As for why they’re trying to make this official … supposedly, for fairness and equity for kids, who might not like what a gendered section has to offer and want something from the other side. For example, low publicly cited an anecdote from a fellow staffer … whose 9-year-old daughter was confused on why she had to go the boys toy section to get a science kit.
Oh, and if this passes … it wouldn’t just be a slap on the wrist for those who don’t comply — these big-box chains would be fined $1,000 each time they violate the would-be law.
The reactions to the bill — which could be introduced in committee for discussion/voting as early as March 21 — are quite mixed … many are criticizing it as unnecessary and frivolous (especially amid a pandemic) but others support it and say it’s a step in the right direction.
If passed and if Governor Gavin Newsom signs off … AB 1084 would go into effect starting in 2024.