Don’t get me wrong, I actually really like pink. I own a lot of pink tops, pink shoes, even pink secateurs. But I also own a lot of other colours. When I go shopping and walk from the multi-coloured array of adult clothes and into the children’s area, I am confronted by an absolutely ridiculous array of pink clothing. I hate it!!!
The problem I have is, I have an adorable little ginger baby, but pink doesn’t particularly suit her. Some may say it clashes with her hair. Those “some” are usually me, but there are others too. Why can I not find anything else?
And it doesn’t stop with pink clothes. Toys are pink, bedding is pink, wrapping paper is pink, bowls and spoons are pink … its making me want to smack my pink frozen yoghurt tub across the room … but I wont … because I like frozen yoghurt. And strawberry flavoured products are generally pink, that is logical.
So why the animosity towards pink other than the fact one of my daughter’s is ginger or as I prefer to call it, redy-blonde?
Well, it removes the possibility of choice. My oldest daughter is at the tender age of two which it would seem is the stage where children beginning to believe that they have options in their decision making process rather than just doing what Mummy has told them. This then causes me numerous dilemmas when it comes to shopping for any of the products previously mentioned.
When it comes to anything aimed at the under 10s, it would seem that there are no choices other than pink and all toys appear to be gender specific and not unisex. All “girls” toys are aimed at cleaning, cooking or looking after babies which although is appealing at the start for my daughter, also has its limits. There’s only so much home-making you are able to do before you want to run off and make a spaceman ride a dinosaur. So I buy her “boys” toys … not because they are better, but because they are more varied and give more scope for imaginative play.
And I don’t stop at toys. I have boy’s eating utensils, boy’s tricycles and even boy’s clothes and the most liberating thing about it is that I don’t see the problem with it and I honestly don’t care. I do get the odd look of concern from certain mothers in the town who look at me with a mixture of alienation and pity when my girls go out wearing a boys t-shirt or carrying a toy tractor. I just think that at the end of the day, if they want to play with boys toys and with boys, who am I to stop them?
But why are we as a civilisation so obsessed with pink being for girls? I seem to recall back in my younger days when we bored the parenting population of our borough in London with our schools latest take on the birth of Christ, that the Virgin Mary ALWAYS wore a blue outfit. Coincidence? No. When I have since looked at artwork depicting this iconic female pillar, she has always been represented in blue. So why the obsession with pink being for girls?
Through discussions with a historian friend of mine, I was informed that throughout history men have actually been associated with the colour red as it was considered to be strong and powerful, whereby blue was believed to be weaker and therefore more suiting of females as the weaker sex. Pink therefore became more commonly used for boys as a more muted version of red; still providing a dominance over blue, but not as strong as the adult red. It seems to have been the post World War 1 movement that forced the change to its present day equivalent.
Now i know I’m not the first person to have such strong opinions towards pink.
Pinkstinks is a campaign that has arisen as a result of the “pinkification” of children’s toys and the genderisation thereof.
They have taken on the brave step of being one of the first organisations to challenge the intrinsically planted stereotype that retailers have been using to sell their produce to the female market. And rightly so. Why should we be forced into purchasing pink products because they deem any alternative to be unnecessary and likely to affect their sales?
I understand though that pink sells. Otherwise why on earth would they be so obsessed with it in the first place? But like the lovely ladies at Pinkstinks are saying, is it not time to change this ethos? I think yes, before its too late!
But despite all this bravado and feminist underpinning, if my girls want to have a doll or pink sparkly shoes, I’m not going to stop them. The whole reason for my animosity is the removal of choice and if I stop them from choosing pink, then I’m just as bad as those major multiples who feel the need to force it on us in the first place. Pink should be a decision made not a pre-requisite.
So, I will go back to trying to purchase as many “non-pink” girly things as I can without infringing on my daughters’ freedom to choose. So whilst my oldest snuggles down to sleep with Peppa Pig under one arm and Manderville the London 2012 Olympics mascot under the other (who’s now affectionately named Blue), with my youngest snuffling away in the next room wearing her Super Girl baby grow as I’ve run out of clean clothes, I will sit here and defend to the death their right to choose … but I will always secretly hate pink in only the way a staunch feminist can.