The world is changing faster and faster every day. What was once taboo is now normal, and what was once normal is now considered taboo. We live in a post-Civil Rights, post-gay marriage, post-Christian, post-traditional values society where up is down, down is up, black is white and white is black. I’ve written numerous articles about the changing America, but the latest political correctness story concerning Target and gender identification might seem minor to some in a world of ISIS and global terrorism but feels like a metaphor for the direction in which our world is heading.
Recently, a few self-described feminist and gender-neutral crusaders were very upset with how Target labeled their building sets and toys by using such controversial adjectives as “boy” or “girl” to help parents quickly find the appropriate toys for their sons and daughters. They got so mad they did what all upset Americans do. They went to Twitter. Melissa Atkins Wardy of the blog Pigtail Pals and Ballcap Buddies and Abi Bechtel, a self described “feminist” and “sexual libertine,” according to her Twitter social media account, put up pictures of Target’s gender-specific language with the advice to stop being so anti-progressive. Target listened and sent out this statement: “But shopping preferences and needs change and, as guests have pointed out, in some departments like toys, home or entertainment, suggesting products by gender is unnecessary. We heard you, and we agree.”
If I’m reading this correctly, a few women in Middle America are upset, so a multibillion-dollar company changed its way of doing business so as not to look politically incorrect. Somewhere Ray Bradbury and George Orwell are rolling over in their graves. It is this type of silly PC lingo that has sparked the Donald Trump polls. He might be crude, but he’s not apologizing for being who he is.
This type of post-modern gender declassification stems from a leftist attempt to eliminate truth from the public sphere and replace it with less distinctive classifications so as not to promote a healthy sense of gender identity. Wasn’t the feminist movement cry “I am woman; hear me roar” about embracing the feminine? Not to downplay it but instead let the world know that being a woman is something to be proud of. How can a girl be proud of being a girl if she can’t even recognize her own differences? The reason is because the leftist mind is about embracing ambiguity and calling that strength, instead of embracing binary strengths and recognizing ambiguities. Gore Vidal’s satires on the sexes are coming to life.
According to CNN, one commentator on social media wrote: “Eliminating these gender-typed divisions will help kids learn a toy is a toy, a show is a show, fun is fun.”
One counter to this idea that “a toy is a toy” is the famous Lawrence Summers story. Dr. Summers was fired from his Harvard presidency after making a statement that nature plays a bigger part than nurture after giving his small daughter a set of trucks. The daughter named them mommy truck and daddy truck. Pediatrician George Lazarus told a similar story about a father and mother who gave their 3-year-old daughter trucks, only to open her door to check in on her and her new toys and have the girl say, “Shhhhh! They’re sleeping.”
Men and women are equal but different. And not every boy demonstrates the same barbaric masculinity as, say, a wild MMA fighter; nor do all women possess the same innocent grace as a Georgia beauty queen. But in the end, we are different, and we should be proud of that. Boys love to demonstrate their wild side, whether that be with sports, toy guns or video games, and little girls find organized tea parties and dressing up like a princess to be a fun afternoon. Why tell them they’re wrong, or that they need to rethink fun in a gender-unifying way?
Many of these traditional values detractors like to claim that kids get pushed into these stereotypes, almost bullied into them. So why does it feel like those of us who want to embrace tradition feel like the victims of an ever-changing culture?
Editor’s note: Summers left the Harvard presidency after a vote of the faculty following his remarks that under-representation of women in science and engineering could be due to “different availability of aptitude at the high end” and less to patterns of discrimination and socialization.