CA Bill Would Forbid Retailers From Having Separate Sections For Boys and Girls

P. Gardner Goldsmith | March 1, 2021
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Isn’t it great when politicians leave business owners in peace and start their own ventures?

When, rather than enslave others, they risk their own money, time, energy, and opportunities?

Of course, to believe in such claptrap is to live in a state of denial, and prevents one from looking at reality, in a state such as California.

As Christian Britschgi reports for Reason, two California Assembly members have decided that they don’t want store-owners to offer separate Boys and Girls sections when selling clothes and toys.

And, shocker, the politicians are…


Last week, Assembly Members Evan Low (D–Cupertino) and Cristina Garcia (D–Los Angeles) introduced a bill that would require retailers to offer their toys and childcare products in a gender-neutral format.

Brick-and-mortar shops would have to display the majority of their products and clothing aimed at children in one undivided, unisex area on the sales floor. They'd also be barred from putting up signage that would indicate whether a product was intended for a boy or girl.

And this doesn’t apply solely to brick-and-mortar stores. Online retailers also would have to comply with their wannabe feudal lords in the state government.

Writes Britschgi:

California-based retailers that sell children's products online would also have to have a page on their website that offers these products in a (gender-neutral) fashion. The bill would allow retailers to title that section of their website ‘kids,’ ‘unisex,’ or ‘gender neutral.’

This insult isn’t just to the U.S. and California constitutions, the former of which prohibits state politicians from interfering with the fulfillment of private contract, is supposed to prohibit governments from invading private property to “search” unless a judge has issued a warrant, and is supposed to protect free speech for both brick-and-mortar proprietors and online sellers.

And it isn’t solely an insult to those who know that boys and girls are different and that, on the whole, they are attracted to different kinds of clothes, toys, and pastimes - not to mention the fact that physically, their bodies are different, and often require different clothing.

Proprietors adapt to consumer demands. Their decisions are based on what works best to satisfy customers. The very reason shop-owners have organically organized their stocks in “Boys” and “Girls” sections is because, for centuries, customers have shown they prefer such a shopping layout.

Certainly, there might be an occasional moment of confusion when a parent hears a child ask for something not found in that gender-specific section, but, just as boys and girls are physiologically different, resulting in manufacturers making different cuts of clothing for them, so, too, are their interests. Parental hunting in the jungle of a department store, searching for a petite girl’s outfit is just a lot easier when the attire for girls is segregated from that for boys.

It’s easier to find that rainbow unicorn your daughter wants when the toys that most girls like are near one another than when they’re mixed with the toys most boys like.

Notes Britschgi:

If passed, stores that did put dresses in a separate girls section could be hit with a $1,000 civil fine. The policy would only apply to retail department stores with over 500 employees.

And he also reports that this proposal previously was pushed last year, when sponsor Evan Low offered his ingenious justification for strong-arming private business owners:

’This is an issue of children being able to express themselves without bias,’ he said.

And with said so-called justification, Low inserts himself between buyer and seller, utterly disregarding the right of the person who actually owns the shop to express himself or herself as he or she desires, and the right of the customer to choose the kind of shop he or she would like to frequent.

It’s the equally dark flipside to the New Segregationists’ push to isolate different races at publically-subsidized universities, to take taxpayers’ cash and use it to enforce racial segregation in its new form. 

Related: CA Capitol City Makes It ILLEGAL for Many People to Fix Their Own Cars

Under the banners of “Social Justice” and “Identity Politics,” politicians wage war on taxpayers to fund classes that reinforce the myth of “systemic racism” and undercut individual merit and responsibility, that accuse innocent people of being racist, even as the politicians take their money to fund the schools. In this case, store owners will be forced to operate as the government dictates, completely undercutting the principles of private property and free will.

But the common theme is force. Imagine if politicians were trying to pass laws forcing store-owners to segregate Boys and Girls sections, to segregate items for people of different races, to – as some universities have tried – create “THIS RACE ONLY”– sections. The problem would be obvious.

It’s not a matter of “evil” people preferring to gather in certain groups, or of parents or kids wanting separate areas catering to the interests of most boys and most girls. It’s a matter of choice, mutual respect for the peaceful and voluntary actions of others, and the ability of customers to reflect their interests.

As Britschgi writes:

That stores like Target are voluntarily moving toward more gender-neutral promotions shows that mandating such a change isn't necessary to provide a genderless child section to shoppers. The fact that some haven't made the same move suggests that there may still be customers who find gendered distinctions helpful.

The market is where people can voluntarily show their preferences and prompt sellers to “change with the times.”

By trying to force private shop-owners to do business the way THEY want, all politicians, not just California’s Low and Garcia, show a dark predilection towards totalitarianism.

The exact opposite of market freedom.