I fucking hate pink. It’s a prejudice, of course it is, but one I’ve cultivated over a number of years. Never mind the all-boys school, spending my twenties running round with swords – this is something special, that’s only really hit me since I’ve been a Mum.
Let’s leave aside the whole ‘pink Bic biros for girls’ fiasco that was all over Amazon a few months ago. Let’s leave aside the ‘Pink Lucozade’ ads that I walk past at Victoria Station with some open-mouthed girly going ‘Oh Em Geeee!’ in what’s probably a high-pitched squeal (this is supposed to make me drink the stuff?). Let’s even leave aside the appalling and offensive horror that is LEGO Friends – (girls can be a gossip-girl, a housewife, a mother, or a vet – as long as there’s no, y’know, blood or actual operations or anything).
And don’t even get me started on the ‘what do you call your vagina’ advertising disaster (can anyone remember what that was – I think I’ve blanked it from my mind?). Actually, I’m known to call mine my cunt, but hey – that’s just me.
Back to the point.
Range of kids Star Wars t-shirts – Yoda, Vader, the usual suspects. One of these t-shirts is pink, with little puffy sleeves and (predictably) it’s the only one with a picture of Leia on the front. Now I know there’s nothing to stop little girls wanting the Trainee X-Wing pilot version (or boys wanting the Leia, for that matter), and I’m relieved she’s the strong character she should be, but this morning, this has just caught in my craw.
Little cubs get generic toys – but the second they hit their tweens (and that gets younger every year as the markets try to hit them earlier and earlier) they’re like meat for the processing mill. Little girls are conditioned – they must like pink and sparkles and babies and Disney fucking princesses and Lelli Kelly shoes (if I had a daughter that wore them I’d disown her); boys are likewise conditioned – they must like fast cars and gross science and monsters and eating zombie brains (same goes for those, in fact).
Most toy stores are careful not to actually label departments ‘boys’ and ‘girls’ though they still offer a floor full of pink sparkly shit and a floor full of superheroes, vehicles and action figures. Your local Disney store is one of the worst culprits, more guilty of demanding women love ‘traditional’ roles than Mitt Romney. (Let’s hope Princess Leia leads the revolution!)
The point of all this…. I was lucky as a cub. I had the opportunity to break my gender stereotyping and choose who I wanted to be. And I want to give my son that chance, as well.
This is why, when he sees an advert for Zoubles, or another soft furry cat-like thing that’s ultimately aimed at girls, I tell him that it’s okay, and that can he like Zoubles if he wants to – that he doesn’t have to worry because it’s a ‘girl’s toy’. That I’m proud of him, and always will be.
Even if the damn thing is pink.