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OpinionColumnistsWilliam F. B. O'Reilly

California toy law solves no problem

Girls have been playing with dolls and boys

Girls have been playing with dolls and boys have been playing soldier for thousands of years. Credit: Getty Images/Betsie Van Der Meer

Progressives must be exhausted after the Monday they just had.

They got President Joe Biden to proclaim Oct. 11 "Indigenous Peoples Day," presumably in an effort to undercut the president’s traditional "Columbus Day" proclamation.

Biden also proclaimed Oct. 11 "National Coming Out Day."

That very same morning, DC Comics announced that Superman's son, Jon Kent, would come out as bisexual in an upcoming issue, just as California Gov. Gavin Newsom was announcing a new law requiring big box stores to include aisle space for non-gender-conforming toys and products intended to aid babies' sleep, relaxation, feeding, teething or sucking.

Most of these progressive victories were symbolic, but the California law is anything but. The solution in search of a problem stripped businesses with more than 500 employees of the right to stock shelves as they see fit — as the market warrants.

Here’s what California Assemb. Evan Low, the bill’s prime sponsor, had to say: "The segregation of toys by a social construct of what is appropriate for which gender is the antithesis of modern thinking."

It’s entirely possible that Mr. Low has too much time on his hands.

Low claims that boys are marketed "science, technology, engineering and mathematics-geared toys" while toys for girls push them toward "caring for a baby, fashion, and domestic life."

His thinking is anything but modern: Last year, 59.5% of U.S. college students were female, according to the National Student Clearinghouse, a nonprofit research group, while males comprised just 40.5% of the student population. The old housewife trope is so yesterday.

Those of us unbitten by the woke bug marvel at the ignorance of its dogma. Do wokesters really not notice that boys and girls have different interests typically? Do they actually think boys gravitate to G.I. Joe and girls to more nurturing toys because they’re artificially conditioned by corporate America? Girls have been playing with dolls and boys have been playing soldier for thousands of years. Is Mattel really that good?

Some girls, of course, gravitate right to the baseball bat, and some boys to the Betty Crocker Oven — I wanted one and delighted when I could buy one for my daughters — but marketers generally know what sells and to whom. They would gladly produce pink-hued toys for boys and blue-hued ones for girls if those products would move.

Parents and children who wish to purchase gender-neutral products also have plenty of options; stores don’t need to be forced to sell the stuff. Take a look online, or in Target, which already carries a line of gender-free merchandise. If it profits from it, other stores will follow. It’s called the free market, something wokesters will never understand.

The political left’s relentless push toward wokeness and androgyny doesn’t go unnoticed by middle America. Every time a law like this one passes, millions of Americans feel like they’re under attack. They’re chastised by progressives for thoughts and choices that come naturally to them. No wonder so many have abandoned the Democratic Party.

Speaking of androgyny, didn’t Newsom and Low ever inspect a doll or action figure as kids? It was the first thing I did. Down went the pants and up went the dress. Call it mad curiosity.

Know what was there? Zip. Nada. Zilch. How very progressive.

Columnist William F. B. O'Reilly's opinions are his own.

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