Thursday, June 12, 2014

Just say no to pink

I actually really like Pink!
These are proto-thoughts, very rough. What do you think?

When I talk about raising girls and avoiding gender stereotyping, I often get the pushback - what if she really honestly just likes pink (or barbies, bratz, princesses, or whatever)?

It's a fair question.

My answer, again still in progress, is this. You have to be the one who works against the grain. Society is going to push "pink," using pink as a metonymy for many things, on girls. There is no honest way to just like a color/toy set divorced from it social context. Ellie, in the middle of last year, came home and demanded the pink bowl because pink was a girl's color. We talked about liking all colors and the sentiment seems to have faded, but it was a shot across the bow. It's my job, with my daughter, to work against the grain, to push back. I don't have to be balanced because society is not balanced.

Moreover, don't buy pink for any other girl. Trust that someone else is going to do it. We had Ellie's birthday party a couple weeks ago. The Barbie and Disney princess bags went to the garbage, not the re-use drawer. I apologize for nothing (my wife actually threw out the Barbie one)!

Don't buy pink for girls. Not your girl. Not any other girl.

The next question is whether we /should/ buy pink for boys if we want to work against the grain. There I am less sure. A girl without pink is not an outsider. A boy in pink is an outsider. It's about exerting modest counter-pressure versus societal, not creating kids who cannot fit in (if they want to). Which is to say that a boy who came to me and wanted pink, or a skirt, or makeup, or whatever - I say yes. But I'm not going to try to force them against the current. A girl who comes to me and asks for a princess - I say yes (you know, assuming it's gift season or whatever). But I'm not going to buy her one unless she explicitly asks.

So, how am I doing so far? What are your thoughts? Help me refine this in time, oh, Black Friday after Thanksgiving.