...It’s I’m a girl and I HATE PINK!
The boy will be three in December and during his short life I have tried very hard to make sure I steer away from gender stereotypes. It seems I should have tried harder! Firstly, whilst watching the men’s Olympic diving, he told me that him and Daddy can do that (diving) but I can’t. When I asked him why, he said “because you’re a girl.” I put this down to the fact that he could only see men diving. Later that same week, he informed me he wanted some new slippers, crocodile ones. He then said that Daddy can have the monster ones and I can have the fairy slippers. I told him I wanted the monster slippers, to which he replied “no, you have to have the fairy slippers because you’re a girl.” I obviously on both occasions told him that girls can dive, girls like monsters and boys like fairies whilst wondering where these sudden sexist opinions were coming from!
Then came the big one. The boy has always liked pink, sometimes even saying it’s his favourite colour. I never said ‘no pink is for girls’ or tried to get him to like another colour; I just treated it like I would any other colour. However, a couple of weeks ago, he told me that he didn’t like pink and when I asked him why he replied with “because it’s for girls.” I told him it wasn’t and that it’s ok for him to like it. It made me sad that at such a young age, he was already being forced into choosing something, or not, because of his gender.
I thought long and hard about where he might have heard this, and remembered, I saying myself on a couple of occasions, ‘no those are for girls, they’ve got pink on look...” not because I wouldn’t want him to wear them particularly, but because he doesn’t need a pair of jeans and that was a way of telling him they weren’t for him. But knowing how hard I try I began to look elsewhere and realised perhaps I’m not trying hard enough.
I try not to let him watch TV that is aimed particularly at boys, I like stuff like Peppa Pig which I think is aimed at everyone (including adults!) He watches Dora the Explorer and Ben & Holly’s Little Kingdom, but his favourite of all time is Cars. I still don’t think this is particularly aimed at boys, and some of the racing cars in the second film are girls, Holly Shiftwell, a spy in Cars 2 may be dark purple, but she is by no means a typical female character. But it’s not the programmes that are the biggest problem; it’s the adverts in between.
These adverts turn my stomach. Remove the actual product they are selling (action figures for boys, and dolls for girls) it’s everything else that goes with it. An advert aimed at selling a ‘boy’s’ toy normally comes with an aggressive, fast and deep voice. The colours are normally pretty dull, but they’re not all different shades of blue, which is a bonus. Adverts for ‘girls’ toys though, are pink...there is no other colour, pink and all the different shades of pink you can imagine. Not only this, but the advert usually comes with a ‘pink’ voiceover too. The voice you can only imagine belongs to a porn-star trying not to be sexy, all high-pitched, trying to sound cute, yet dumb. I hate it! I know what you’re going to say...turn the TV off.
But here is the problem...everything aimed at girls DOES have pink on. I looked through a catalogue for some bedding for the boy recently and while the boys pages do tend to be darker, there is a fairly (very small) variety of colours and themes, many are ‘boys’ like cars, dinosaurs and footballs, but there is some plain and checked etc. However, you cannot miss the girl’s pages, they are like a young child has thrown up candy floss and smeared it all over them, whilst adding fairy wings and tiaras. It wouldn’t be so bad if some of these themes weren’t pink but they ALL are. If a girl likes princesses, fair enough, but why does the princess have to be 50 shades of pink? Why can’t she be orange, or red, or god forbid, a nice deep shade of blue?!
It would seem that girls cannot play with anything, unless it comes in pink. The boy has a toy kitchen, which he likes to play with, why there are two versions of this kitchen, one in lovely primary colours and the other in various shades of pink baffles me. The same with the garage he had when he was younger, one in lovely bright colours and another in garish, sicky pink shades. Why does a girl have to play with a pink garage, or a pink kitchen? And now to top it all off...PINK LEGO! I loved Lego as a child, why now do we have to have Lego for boys and Lego for girls?!
I feel like I am fighting a losing battle, but I will keep fighting. There is only so much you can do to shield your child from some of the things you may not like in the big wide world, and ultimately they will decide for themselves, all you can do is prepare them and give them the right tools. I know that some girls will legitimately love the colour pink, and I don’t have a problem with that at all, but what about all the girls that don’t like pink? Where is their choice?