Monday, December 14, 2009

Pink Stinks? Oh no, it doesn't.

I’m troubled, dear reader, deeply troubled. There is a new movement on t’interweb decrying all things pink.
It seems, according to those behind the PinkStinks campaign that if we choose to let our little ladies dress in pink clothes and play with pink toys we are condemning them to a life of unrealistic expectations and low level goals.
The plethora of pink toys now on sale in the Early Learning Centre (which has borne the brunt of the PinkStinks ladies’ anger) are sexist, demeaning and are breeding a generation of proper little princesses who wouldn’t know how to use their brains if their life depended on it.
Now there are several things about this which trouble me greatly. The first is that by hitting out at shops which sell toys aimed at say “imaginative home making play” the people behind PinkStinks are actually demeaning every woman who has made a legitimate life choice to be a home-maker.
It seems, if you read the campaigners’ website - listing as it does teams of appropriate role models for our daughters- that raising a family, keeping a house and doing other more traditional female roles is somehow letting down the entire gender.
The second, and related, thing which troubles me is the assumption that playing traditionally female orientated games as a child melts your brains and renders you incapable of ever making anything of any significance out of your life
I shall put it on the record that as a child I was a girly girl. I had Barbies and Sindys coming out of my ears. My favourite ever, ever Christmas present was a dolls’ house. My proudest childhood moment was adopting a Cabbage Patch Doll by the name of Lana who I would cart everywhere in a baby carrier and who I would beg my mammy to knit clothes for.
I dressed, whenever possible in pink - but my brain (for the most part) remained unmelted. I did well in school. I got a good job. I would consider myself to be a decent enough role model for my daughter or my nieces. I never felt pushed in a fluffy direction. I never felt I was being discouraged from achieving anything I may have wanted - be it being a home-maker or a brain surgeon. The sky was the limit.
Which leads me to my third point. The availability of pink toys, and tutus and princess slogan t-shirts does not a generation of wannabe bimbos make.
Young girls don’t form their attitiudes by the colour of the toys they play with, or the pink curtains in their bedrooms or the T-shirts which declare they are little princesses.
They form their attitudes from the people around them and the examples they are given. There is nothing wrong with buying your four year old a pink kitchen, as long as you don’t bat an eyelid when they ask Santa for a Fireman Sam fire engine. Similarly, there is nothing wrong with decking your wee one in all the pink finery of the day as long you don’t loss the head should they climb a tree and tear a hole in it.
The PinkStinks campaign to me smacks of yet another example in today’s world where things that women and girls enjoy are belittled and used against us to make us feel as if we are somehow intellectually inferior.
It’s the same old toot that is peddled out time and time again about the films we watch, the books we read, the shoes we wear and now the very toys we let our children play with.
Pink is simply a colour - and if we are going to get all girly - a pretty colour at that. It is not a definition of an attitude or an IQ level. It is not a colour used to keep women in their place. And if we women choose to wear pink or buy pink toys for our daughters we are not demeaning them in any way.
For the record, yes, since the arrival of my daughter in March my house has developed somewhat of an “explosion in a marshmallow” factory feel about it. But she isn’t being discouraged from anything. I’ll be the proud mammy cheering the loudest when she decides on her path in life - be it as mother herself, a journalist, an author or - if she wants - a plumber.
Restrictions on our children are not formed by colours. They are formed by narrow minded people who want to see problems where none exist. And that, dear reader, is what stinks.


Keris said...

Hear hear! :)

Evie said...

Himself wants the girls in Burkas when they get a bit older. Colours optional. I'm guessing A will go for camo whilst R goes for pink. ;o)

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