I was so excited this week to see the variety of STEM girl shirts now available at Target. I was telling everyone about it. Though when I looked through their shirts for boys, I quickly became disappointed. I searched all 34 pages of the Target website. There were only a few NASA shirts. No shirts touting facts about science figures. No “Future Engineer” shirts. No encouraging STEM shirts of any kind in the boys department.
Complete let down.
It is obvious that Target has been trying to change up their stores in response to customer critiques with their switch to non-gender specific toy aisles and addition of empowering girls’ shirts, as well as other visible changes throughout the store. Though it appears that instead of seeking a balance in their stores, their pendulum is swinging in whatever direction the most social media critiques are coming from. One cannot make everyone happy all the time, but as a major store, one would hope they would seek a balance in their stores to reach as many customers as possible.
I appreciate that Target offers my son a vast amount of superhero shirts to choose from and several versions of shirts that read “Strong like My Mom”, but none of these shirts encourage my son to follow his STEM passions. Would it have been that difficult that when they were creating a zebra scientist shirt for girls that they made a dinosaur scientist or engineer shirt for boys. Or when they made the “Future Chemist” shirt for girls that they made a similar shirt for boys. Finally, when they created the fantastic Marie Curie empowering message and fact shirt, why wasn’t a similar shirt made with Thomas Edison, George Washington Carver, Elijah McCoy, Neil Armstrong, or even Steve Jobs on it. Target lost an opportunity to be a full partner in supporting all children’s STEM passions.
Again, I love all the options for girls, but I’m sad my son doesn’t have the same options, though he has the same aspirations as his sister to be an engineer or a scientist. The Target pendulum has swung completely one direction instead of finding a balance. In the future, I can only hope that Target and other companies remember that improving one area doesn’t mean neglecting another.