A while back, a reader commented that the greeting card aisle was a virtual minefield of gender-coding. This seemed like a perfect target for TMF: Tired Marketing FAIL! So, I decided to investigate the situation for myself. My findings are mixed.
Is the card aisle a pink ghetto? You decide:
There are definitely cards devoted to being for boys and only for girls, even for something as innocent as a first and second birthdays (at which time, I would argue, a child has no knowledge of her/his/ze‘s gender):
And there are certainly gender filters in how things are organized:
But I was pleasantly surprised that you can find a rather sizable display or two of gender-neutral birthday cards for kids!
Like this rather large display of gender-neutral number cards:
So, what’s the result? Well, you can still find a LOT of gender-specific cards for kids. And what those cards say really has so much more to say about the adults giving them than the kids, especially for the really young kids (think: 1-, 2-, 3-year-olds). My guess is that the majority of those who buy greeting cards are women, so this says a lot about how women are just as complicit in maintaining and perpetuating gender stereotypes as men. And I would posit that card companies just want to make a buck, so they will probably create any kind of card you want as long as enough people buy it.
On a tangentially related note, if you are looking for LGBT-positive cards, there is a new, local company in Las Vegas that caters to you! It is called Teazled and their cards are available online. (Full disclosure: I am friends with the couple who own this business; they go to my church.)
Until next time: Keep sending me your TMF ideas!