Does it matter if girls like pink? Are they programmed to love pink or do they learn from everyone around them that pink is for girls and blue is for boys? Kat Arney in her programme on Radio 4 last week talked about pinkification, nature and nurture. You can read her article here or listen to the programme here, but I’m afraid the bit that I latched on to was that apparently you can buy a Snow White pink vacuum cleaner that sings ‘Some Day My Prince Will Come’ as you play – is he going to free you from chores or keep you doing it I wonder?!
When my girls were little it was certainly possible to buy them pink clothes and toys, but there were plenty of ‘unisex’ items: their ride on car was yellow and red as I recall, but now you can buy the same car in the ‘right’ colour for your child.
I didn’t know what Eldest would be, but blue is my favourite colour so I bought blue baby clothes. I was regularly asked what he was called. I knew Youngest was a girl, but I still bought her a Peter Rabbit babygrow and recycled Eldest’s outgrown blue clothing. Oh they’ve both been through their ‘pink’ phase and were indulged (within reason) at the time, but they also both grew out of it! Both still have the odd pink item in their wardrobes, generally ‘hot’ not pastel. And they both had dolls, but also a Duplo train set and Harry Potter Lego. My girls are definitely girls. Since I only have girls I don't know if I have treated them differently to how I might have treated boys. I guess I would have looked for a football club instead of a ballet school, but only if he'd expressed a preference as Eldest did. Youngest did ballet too for a while: she thought it was what big girls did, and I couldn't face pursuing a different after school club. (To be fair they both did swimming largely because Youngest wanted to.)
When they were very small they had lots of dresses but more often wore dungarees. From about 3-8 they demanded pink dresses, fairy costumes, Barbie dolls and pink bedclothes. Now they mostly wear jeans, many of the dressing-up clothes have been passed down to younger cousins, the Barbies live in a box waiting for small visitors and only Youngest still has pink bedding - her room is black, white and pink when you get under the rubble.
I am glad that I offered them cars, trains and Lego, I am glad I dressed them in blue. I'd rather see little girls go through a pink phase that probably won't last than see them dressed as 'adults' in much of the 'tarty' clothing now available! At the end of the day they are children and I'd rather see pink frills than padded bras and mini skirts. How about you?