Amazon Drops Gendered Taxonomy for Its Toys

The taxonomy team at Amazon is dropping "Boy" and "Girl" as categories for organizing its toys, as friends of those working at the online goods distributor recently announced on Twitter.

The taxonomy team at Amazon is dropping "Boy" and "Girl" as categories for organizing its toys, as friends of those working at the online goods distributor recently announced on Twitter.

This week Amazon eliminated the gendered taxonomy of toys: There are no more "boys" and "girls" sections!

— Jack Danger (@jackdanger) May 2, 2015

You can still search for toys using the keyword "girl" and "boy" in Amazon's search box, and you'll still get the pretty standard returns of "construction vehicles and futuristic action figures" for boys and "dolls and cooking appliances" for girls.

But the move is a recognition of how families are changing, just as Amazon moved to include men in its conception of parenting by changing "Amazon Mom" to "Amazon Family" — a discount program for parents of toddlers.

I must admit that in my family, the boys played with action figures; the girls played with dolls; and we shared gender-neutral toys like a chemistry set, musical instruments, board games, even video games (maybe because our mom prohibited violent ones). I suppose we were free to play with whatever toy we wanted, absent a supervening social order, and that's how it felt.

But maybe Amazon's move foreshadows a different future, one in which toys have blended foci. The appearance of action figures and dolls, for example, are remarkably similar. Both are humanoid; both are occupied with worthwhile activities (e.g., saving the universe, having a picnic with friends, etc.) But why not do both? It's all in a day's work for boys and girls.

Whatever the causes of discrimination, we need men to take up the cause, explains PwC Talent Manager Michael Fenlon.

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