On Friday, Qasim Rashid, attorney and human rights activist, tweeted the following:
“Hey @Target I bought my 4-year-old son Spider-Man shoes & now my 2-year-old daughter wants Spider-Man shoes too. But you don’t sell Spider-Man shoes that fit 2-year-old girls. Even when I search for them — boys shoes are the only result. She’s crying now. It’s heartbreaking. Thx.”
On Thursday, the father of three kids, ages 9, 4, and 2 made a trip to Target in their home state of Virginia to buy shoes for the two youngest children. However, after purchasing a pair of Spider-Man light-up shoes for his son and plain blue light-up sneakers for his daughter, the siblings started arguing.
“When my daughter saw her brother’s shoes, she scampered over to him and stole them when he wasn’t looking,” Rashid tells Yahoo Lifestyle.
Later that night, the dad visited Target’s website to search for Spider-Man sneakers for girls, to no avail, so he appealed to the retail giant for answers. In the process, Rashid inspired many to express their feelings about gender stereotypical kids’ clothing and toys.
“Even before my daughter was born, it was important to me that I raise her believing she is equal to the opposite sex,” says Rashid. “That’s driven by my faith as a Muslim and a result of living in a patriarchal society.”
He adds, “If I don’t teach her the concept of equality at home, she won’t expect equal treatment out in the world.”
Target has actually been making progress on this front — in July, the retailer released a gender-neutral back-to-school collection in sizes 4 to 16 and in 2015, eradicated gender-based signage in response to “families to feel frustrated or limited by the way things are presented.” For example, per a press release, in kids’ bedding and toy aisles, Target removed any suggestion of gender, including the use of pink, blue, yellow, and green.
While Target hasn’t responded to Rashid’s comment, his daughter is a happy customer. He shared a follow-up video of the toddler stomping down the hallway wearing her new shoes. Rashid tweeted, “Update: She took her brothers shoes and I’m just gonna let it fly like this.”
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