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California law requires gender-neutral toy, baby sections in retail stores

Dec 07, 2023

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California is looking to end what it calls the segregation of children’s toys. Major retailers will soon be legally required to provide a gender-neutral toy section. The new law instructs retail stores with 500 employees or more to rethink the way they display children’s toys.

Retailers will be required to maintain a gender-neutral section or area and must label it in a way that does not appeal to one gender over the other. The store must offer a reasonable selection of toys in the gender-neutral section.

“Keeping items traditionally marketed either for girls or for boys separated makes it more difficult for the consumer to compare products and incorrectly implies that their use by one gender is inappropriate,” the law states.

LGBTQ advocates say the stereotypical marketing pressures kids to conform to one gender identity or the other. The author of the bill, California Assemblyman Evan Low, says this goes beyond helping the LGBTQ community.

“Part of it is to make sure if you’re a young girl that you can find a police car, fire truck, a periodic table or a dinosaur,” Low said. “If you’re a boy, if you’re more artistic and want to play with glitter, why not? We need to stop stigmatizing what’s acceptable for certain genders and just let kids be kids.”

Critics of the bill say the new regulation is an overreach and unnecessary.

“Let parents be parents,” said Republican Melissa Melendez, a former state senator who voted against the measure. “I don’t think parents need the government to step in and tell them how they should shop for their children.”

The law is not only going to change the way the children’s section looks at big retail stores, but it also applies to certain items in the baby section.

Teething products, feeding bottles, rockers, classified as “child care items” will also need to be in a gender-neutral section of the store.

The law, which Gov. Gavin Newsom signed in 2021, goes into effect Jan. 1, 2024. If a store violates the law, it can face up to a $500 fine.

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[Karah Rucker]
CALIFORNIA IS LOOKING TO END WHAT IT CALLS THE SEGREGATION OF CHILDREN’S TOYS.

IN A FEW WEEKS TIME – MAJOR RETAILERS WILL BE REQUIRED UNDER NEW STATE LAW TO PROVIDE A “GENDER-NEUTRAL TOY SECTION” –

THE NEW LAW INSTRUCTS RETAIL STORES WITH 500 EMPLOYEES OR MORE TO RE-THINK THE WAY THEY DISPLAY CHILDREN’S TOYS.

THEY’RE REQUIRED TO “MAINTAIN A GENDER NEUTRAL SECTION OR AREA” –

AND MUST LABEL IT IN A WAY THAT DOES NOT APPEAL TO ONE GENDER OVER THE OTHER.

THE STORE MUST OFFER A QUOTE “REASONABLE SELECTION” OF TOYS IN THE GENDER-NEUTRAL SECTION.

THE LAW STATES – “KEEPING ITEMS TRADITIONALLY MARKETED EITHER FOR GIRLS OR FOR BOYS SEPARATED MAKES IT MORE DIFFICULT FOR THE CONSUMER TO COMPARE PRODUCTS AND **INCORRECTLY IMPLIES THAT THEIR USE BY ONE GENDER IS INAPPROPRIATE.

LGBTQ ADVOCATES SAY THE STEREOTYPICAL MARKETING PRESSURES KIDS TO CONFORM TO ONE GENDER IDENTITY OR THE OTHER.

BUT THE AUTHOR OF THE BILL SAYS THIS GOES BEYOND HELPING THE LGBTQ COMMUNITY.

[Evan Low | (D) Assemblyman]

“Part of it is to make sure if you’re a young girl that you can find a police car, fire truck, a periodic table or a dinosaur. If you’re a boy, if you’re more artistic and want to play with glitter, why not? We need to stop stigmatizing what’s acceptable for certain genders and just let kids be kids.”

[Karah Rucker]

THE BILL CAUGHT THE ATTENTION — OF LEGO.

WHO PROMISED A COMMITMENT TO MAKING LEGO TOYS MORE INCLUSIVE AND WITHOUT GENDER STEREOTYPES.

BUT CRITICS OF THE BILL SAY – THE NEW REGULATION IS AN OVERREACH AND UNNECESSARY.

[Melissa Melendez | Former State Senator]

A REPUBLICAN WHO VOTED AGAINST THE MEASURE SAID “let parents be parents. I don’t think parents need the government to step in and tell them how they should shop for their children.”

[Karah Rucker]

IT’S NOT ONLY GOING TO CHANGE THE WAY THE CHILDREN’S SECTION LOOKS –

BUT THE LAW ALSO APPLIES TO CERTAIN ITEMS IN THE BABY SECTION.

TEETHING PRODUCTS, FEEDING BOTTLES, ROCKERS WILL ALSO NEED TO BE IN A GENDER-NEUTRAL SECTION OF THE STORE.

THE LAW, WHICH GOVERNOR GAVIN NEWSOM SIGNED IN 2021, GOES INTO EFFECT JANUARY FIRST.

AND IF IT’S VIOLATED –

THE STORE CAN FACE UP TO A 500 DOLLAR FINE.

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