I love the colour pink. It’s a warm, soft colour and it suits me perfectly so I wear it a lot. However, I’m sick to death of seeing it on little girls. I’ve been teaching for about 100 years now and it’s only in the past three that I’ve noticed the dictatorship of the pink coat…and pink gloves…and pink lunchboxes…and pink bags… Enough – you can see where I’m going with this. Little girls like pink so let them wear it, of course, but not every outfit and not every day.
I’ve had parents of boys come in to see me questioning the sexuality of their young sons because they like pink. I’ve seen children saying to each other, “You can’t play with that, it’s for girls.” Or, “That’s a boy’s one – the girl’s ones are pink.” This is the tyranny of pink. It’s creating gender stereotypes that didn’t exist ten years ago.
Why does a girl’s bike have to be pink? Or a skateboard? Or a scooter? They’re just toys. I’ve had reps trying to sell me pink lego-type toys and pink toolkits on the grounds that the girls will be encouraged to play with them. No thanks. I want my class to play with the toys and equipment that interests them. I don’t want to see a girl under seven (my age range) sitting in a sea of pink fluff instead of tearing round in the big tractor and I don’t want to see a boy scared to wear the clippy cloppy Barbie shoes because his parents will be cross.
There will always be toys that are marketed to specific genders (Barbie/Action Man) and I’m not arguing with that but a jigsaw doesn’t need to be in a pink box for girls.
Increasingly, shops are dividing their goods into Boys Toys/Girls Toys. There really is no need to encourage young children to believe that there are some toys that are “not for them.” Unless someone tells them otherwise, young children don’t naturally see toys as gender-specific; they’re just props for their imagination. If you feel you can’t be a female St. George or a male princess when you’re five then it’s a great shame – and I hold the tyranny of pink very much to blame for that.