A couple of my Facebook friends have been filling my news feed with their support of campaigns from an organisation known as Pink Stinks. In general some of their campaigns are very good and initially upon reading the site, I thought yeah this is a good cause. However, the more I read, the more I felt as though the whole thing was becoming a little bit “Germain Greer on a mission”.
On their homepage is this blurb “Pink stinks is a campaign that targets the products, media and marketing that prescribe heavily stereotyped and limiting roles to young girls. We believe that all children – girls and boys – are affected by the ‘pinkification’ of girlhood. Our aim is to challenge and reverse this growing trend. We also promote media literacy, self-esteem, positive body image and female role models for kids.
That seems fair enough to me, however, the rest of the site just seems to turn into girls should never have pink, or anything remotely girly, because it will destroy their ambition and self-esteem. They blame manufacturers for making pink products and a pink version of a toy. Now, I am no marketing expert, but I would take a wild stab in the dark that Fisher Price, Mattel, or whatever other toy manufacturer makes a pink version of a toy, they do so because their market research has shown them that this is what the public wants.
My daughters have a Fisher Price singing cookie jar, it’s yellow and purple, totally unisex. You can now also get a pink version of the same toy. Fisher Price didn’t just make millions of pink cookie jars and push them out to their customers in the hope that they sold. Their research will have revealed requests for the cookie jar in pink. So if that is the case surely then “Pink Stinks” should be campaigning against mothers who buy or request pink versions for their daughters.
My daughters are not pink obsessed as yet. Yes they do have pink things, generally by their own chosing, some that I bought and some that were gifts. I have no problem with that whatsoever. If my 2-year-old asks for a pink thing, I’m not telling her no, pick another colour. Equally if she asks for a blue thing, I won’t tell her no, pick another colour. The colour choice is and always will be hers. The toy choice is also hers, she chose a Minnie Mouse shopping trolley – yup a shopping trolley – quick call the police, a toy manufacturer made a toy that allows a little girl to imitate what she sees her mum doing. Is imitation not part of childhood development anymore, or does that only apply when it’s a boy doing “manly” things, like playing football or pretending to fix cars.
You see that’s my problem with Pink Stinks, it seems to be perfectly normal and acceptable for little boys to play with trains, cars, dinosaurs and big trucks. No one says they are being pigeon holed or limited. The problem seems to only exist in girl related products. Girls must not be told something is pretty, girls must not be told something is beautiful. So what exactly are girls supposed to like or be allowed to play with. I am all for gender equality, I want my daughters to have equal pay and equal opportunities in the workplace. However, I doubt very much that their chances of that will be effected by playing with a doll or a pink shopping trolley as a child.
My daughters play with farm animals, multi coloured Mega Bloks (not just the pink ones)and Thomas the Tank Engine, all along side their pink pram and shopping trolley! Do Pink Stinks think all “girl” toys should be done away with, no prams, no toy kitchens, no dolls. If so does that mean that all boy toys should also be done away with and a whole plethora of nondescript unisex toys be created that can in no way be attributed to one gender or the other? Where does it all end!
It really did fry my head reading it all after a while and it just then became repetitive and tedious. What got my back up in the first place though, was that the 2 “friends” on Facebook who were doing the bombarding are both first time mothers of BOYS! All their Facebook pictures reveal their sons playing with tractors, cars, fire engines and footballs, dressed in blue with dinosaurs on the front. There wasn’t a pram (pink or otherwise) or a doll in sight. Their little manly men were being just that and somehow that’s ok. It would seem to me therefore, that the campaign from Pink Stinks for gender equality gets lost in translation and in some cases perhaps they are making the gap more obvious.
To put a different spin on things again, my husband quite often wears a pink shirt to work – YES a man in a pink shirt. The shock and horror of it all. He has had multiple comments about his bravery at wearing the forbidden colour for males. He has actually been asked if he’s not worried that people will think he’s gay! So there you go boys, you too must never ever touch the colour pink – so maybe Pink Stinks should run a sister site promoting pink for boys!
Boys can be boys or mini men, but girls must be girls wearing lumber jack shirts, crew cut hair and playing with, I dunno, maybe a hoop and stick or a green yoyo. Is it any wonder that people are disillusioned by the world and by society. Is it any wonder that women are on occasions held back. When we have the “Gruffalo Brigade” plugging a campaign that sends out completely mixed messages of what the aims are.
Argh, my daughters will be as pink, red, blue, purple or orange as they like and I’m sure that by the time they are teenagers their hair will undoubtedly become several if not all of those colours at some point! (by the way my font is purple
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