Tuesday, 13 September 2011


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?


projectforty said...

I started off as a vehemently anti-pink mother (not keen on purple either). I think it's the marketing of pinkness that's the problem, the boring swathes of it in one half of clothing and toy shops. It's just dull and unimaginative and designers (many of which are probaly women) ought to provide a little more variety. Having said that there's enough pollypocket nonsense in cupboards in the house, I obviously wasn't very good at enforcing my views!

Am going to WI again in October. Jewellery this time and a competition for a brooch. See you Monday x

hausfrau said...

You are brave! Will you dare to take a brooch? I never got the hang of the thing you had to bring!

Sarah said...

I hated pink as a child, and dolls and girly stuff. I was a tomboy perhaps because I had two brothers.

Now I have two boys myself I'm not confronted by the swathes of pink (thank goodness) but do have guns all over the house, and get requests to buy balaclavas, flack jackets and warring XBox games.

hausfrau said...

I don't think I was particularly into pink; my brothers and I wore alot of scarlet, my mother's favorite colour, and presumably suitable to pass the clothes between us - my brother overtook me when he was 18months and I was 3 and a half so clothes came 'up'! I had dolls but also played with my brothers. They had guns too and my limited experience of boys is that even if you don't supply guns they will use other things as such - one of our nephews had a bang stick because his mother didn't approve of guns... a whole other post!

I'm Crayon said...

Oh, that "Pink Aisle" at Toys R Us! Gad. And I agree about the tarty clothes for little girls now. A shower of princess pink can't possibly be worse than hooker clothes, can it? My kids had "pinkandblue" upbringings like yours and they're both quite well rounded I'm proud to say.

A Time for Stitching said...

Your last sentence sums it up well. I would have said I was anti-pink-for-girls-blue-for-boys but you're right that it's better than padded bras etc!
I don't remember much pink/blue in my children's younger days and I've only recently started wearing pink myself. I never thought of it as 'me' before.
Teresa x

hausfrau said...

Everything in moderation in all things perhaps!

Young at Heart said...

as a child I hated pink....as an adult I love it and now have a raspberry coloured bedromm....my son wanted to wear black from the age of 2 and in his 20s he still does!!!