SAN FRANCISCO -- Here's something you may have never heard of - gender-neutral toy sections. A new law goes into effect in 2024 that will require gender-neutral toy sections at large retail stores in California.
Most toy stores have the pink girls section, and the blue boys section.
Now, a new California law going into effect at the start of the year will require large retail stores with 500 or more employees statewide to have a gender neutral section for toys.
"We're not affected by the law but I saw - yay! It's not called woke, it's called American freedom," said longtime toy store owner Helen Dean of the Toy Safari in Alameda. She is cheering the move. Much of her store already has a mix of toys for boys and girls, side-by-side, in every aisle. Even the LEGO Friends collection is specifically marketed for girls and not compatible with other LEGOS.
Dean says many years ago, Barbie toys were geared towards all kids. Now, the packaging is straight pink.
"If you look at the packaging you can see the evolution going from kids playing with toys to, 'Hey we're going to sell this to a little girl and this is what she is going to want and we know.'"
"The way we are feeding their minds and the materials we are choosing to use, it is narrowing their ideas and the ability to negotiate the world for them," says toy shopper Angelica Guerrero.
But this new law doesn't take away a boys or girls section. It only adds the gender-neutral section, putting similar products that had been marketed for girls or boys, side-by-side in an aisle; along with toys that could appeal to everyone.
In Dean's store, we came across a Kaloo doll made in France that could be for a girl or a boy.
But those with the California Family Council say enough is enough, they believe Sacramento needs to start focusing more on things like immigration, housing, homelessness, drugs, and less on toys.
"It's a little crazy. Sacramento seems so content on breaking down the distinctions and differences between men and women, boys and girls. It's not enough that we are having general-neutral bathrooms, we're even having to extend that to the toy section," said Jonathan Keller who is president and CEO of the California Family Council.
If the law is violated, a store could first be handed a $250, then a $500 fine for a second offense.
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