I really like pink. (The colour, though also fond of awesome singer.) Did you know that? Probably. I’m not shy about it. I’m not sure why I’ve always loved it. Is it because I’m a girl and according to some, supposed to? Maybe. Or maybe I just like pink, like I like pasta or reruns of Friends, just, you know, because.
When I was a little one I played with Barbies for hours. I had a huge box of dolls and furniture that would be set up over and over again. I loved Hello Kitty (still do), and I liked to watch Miss Universe. I loved ballet and handbags. But I also played with Lego for hours and built Lego pirate ships and villages. I went to the Rugby League every week with my Dada to watch our beloved Bears (they’re coming back, OK !) and I played cricket in the backyard. I spent hours climbing trees and building forts with my next door neighbours.
And yet I still liked (OK LOVED) pink.
And that’s OK.
But it isn’t OK according to some. Apparently I have been brainwashed into believing I should like pink because I’m just a girl. And it needs to stop. NOW. I, you, WE need to break this cycle of pink adoration. I should most definitely not be fostering a so called gender stereotypical love of pink in my Smushy by putting her in pink. Her room must be re-done in shades of blue and I must remove all girl-like toys.
But… as I’m typing this I can see the basketball ring toy her daddy got for her, and her bug themed play mat and all the multi coloured Fisher Price toys and lovely books and… shall I go on? Sure there are dolls and teddies and rattles shaped like bracelets and rings too but there’s no one theme here. And as for her clothes, yes, there is a lot of pink. But there’s also white, purple, aqua, green and grey. Even some black. I’ve never really put her in frilly pageant style dresses because she doesn’t seem to suit them.
(Smushy is more of an edgy dresser who suits all in ones, shorts and funky dresses with spots and stripes. She also rocks an overall and jacket combo.)
I guess I’m writing this post because I’ve been reading some very angry articles regarding gender stereotypes of late. From very angry women who feel little girls are deliberately being force fed princess and pink by brain washed parents. They scoff and sneer at anyone who doesn’t think the way they do and pity the children. It’s upsetting and slightly offensive. I don’t believe this kind of attitude helps further their cause which is a shame because they do have some valid points. Such as yes, there are some people out there who feel girls should be girls and boys should be boys and that is that. I don’t agree with that kind of rigidity in relation to your child’s persona. But what if your little girl wants to dress up in a pink tutu and be a princess? Are you going to sit her down and explain that she’s contributing to the so called decline of feminism in society? And if your little boy wants trucks and cars? Should you replace them with dolls and sequins? I don’t see how this is any better than the parent who freaks out at their boys playing dress ups or their girls getting dirty and climbing trees? Isn’t it better just to let your kids be who they are, rather than whom you want them to be? I am so very grateful to my parents for just letting me be me when it came to these issues.
Here’s the thing, I think in this day and age we’ve gone maybe a bit too far with ‘making a point.’ It seems everything has to Strike outrage! or Force change! Sometimes I think we might do better with just dialling down some of the rage, the sneer and the making of others feel shit for not adopting the same level of manic outrage over a little girl in a pink dress. Look, don’t get me wrong, I’m all for protest and changing unjust situations but I think this issue has gone a bit into the cray cray territory. Having awareness of, and thinking about an issue and enacting positive change is awesome and should be happening, but when you start becoming one; preachy or two; rude, it ain’t cool. It’s also very possibly stressing some parents out and making them feel like bad parents for allowing their child to you know, within reason, play with what they want to. (It’s also short changing the parents of this generation. As a teacher I’ve always observed both genders play equally with all sorts of toys, games or activities. The kids don’t bat an eye at who’s participating. So their parents are clearly instilling in them, the attitude that you can do, be, play with whatever you want regardless of gender.)
There are many good points to consider; and practises to adopt by investigating the issue of gender stereotypes but trying to make your kid a carbon copy of you and your thought patterns shouldn’t be one of them. If Addison decides that she wants nothing to do with pink then fine. That’s that. If she wants to build forts and get muddy fine. If she wants to wear tutus and take ballet, fine. What’s most important to me is that she is allowed to become the person she is meant to be and that hopefully we instill in her a sense of right, of respect for herself and others and the knowledge that we will support her no matter what colour she chooses to love in this life.
I do however draw the line at supporting the wearing of denim bum shorts. Not under my roof.