“Pink is for Girls”

Pretty in pinkPink is a girls colour. Why do people think it shouldn’t be? Girls love to dress in pink, to play with pink toys,Ā to have pink rooms filled with pink things –Ā it’s just a fact that pink is for girls. They still have plenty of choices – just as long as it’s in pink.

While it’s unlikely thatĀ girls do indeed have a predilection for pink, the marketing-industrial complexĀ is very clear: “Pink is for girls”, and they keep churning out their wares targeted at them.

It’s all too easy to have or buy our girlsĀ ‘plenty’ of pink things. The big problem is one of smallness – the focus of what these things are remains relatively narrow, and this is potentially limiting our girls imaginations, opportunities, and ambitions. It’s for us as parents, and our children themselves, to set anyĀ parameters – not those trying to sell us things.

I completely buy into this line of reasoning. I avidly support the aims of campaigns such asĀ Pink Stinks and Let Toys Be Toys. I like to think I am very studious about not buying pink things for my daughter.Ā Ā I am very clear with family & friends,Ā ‘Please don’t buy her anything pink’ (she still gets pink pressies of course, and we are very grateful for peoples’Ā generosity!).

Anyway, I’m a total hypocrite, because when I see cool things for my daughter – that also happen to be pink –Ā I’m powerless to resist:

Farrah Fawcett
To cool not to dress her in…
And again...
…and still going many months later.

And how can I complain about a pressie tee like this:

We love Spidey...
We love Spidey…
...so much it's exhausting.
…so much it’s exhausting.
Wonder Woman, Batgirl, and Supergirl hat from Wellington
Wonder Woman, Batgirl, and Supergirl hat from Wellington

And always on the lookout for apparel with cool & confident female role models,Ā this hat ticked all the boxes – well, apart from the non-pink one. And it just went so well with that cardigan…

Tricky eh?Ā So despite all my great intentions, far too often I stillĀ ended up dressing my daughter like this – not what I intended at all when the great parenting adventure began.

And she’s not even at pre-school yet. I’m guessing it’s only going to get much worse when peer pressure kicks in – currently her cultural icons include Spider-Man, Wonder Woman, Princess Leia, Toy Story, and Totoro. Ā I fear it’ll be all Angelina Ballerina and Peppa Pig before too long. So I’m beginning to think I need another front of attack against pink. Or do I?

In my early teens, I happily wore my pink PringleĀ jumper, or a pink teeĀ under a suit jacket (the Sonny Crockett look). It was the eighties, and that was the style (as much as a teenage geek knows about style). But as the nineties dawned, I felt like a fool for wearing a ‘girls’ colour, and I swore an oath – I really did –Ā to never wear pink again.Ā  And I haven’t.

As the years marched on, I pitied those fools who came into work with a pink shirt, or the people with grown up jobs wearing pink ties. I wouldn’t even wear shirts that were red and white patterned – because from a distance, they looked pink.

Pink was a girls colour, and I didn’t want to wear a girls colour.

Except pink ISN’T a girls colour. That underlines this whole issue. It’s just a colour like any other, and perhaps I need to embrace that rather than always fight it.

I think it’s time for meĀ to break my oath, or make a new one: I need to wear pink.

In fact, I would like all menĀ need to wear pink, and it would be great ifĀ parents couldĀ dress ourĀ sons in pink too. IfĀ the all-powerful marketing-industrial complex is going to continue to tell ourĀ girls that pink things are the only things for them, we need to subvert that. One way is encouraging our boys – and men – to play and dress pink too.

So I at least need to add pink to my wardrobe. Because pink isn’t a girls’ colour. It’s just a colour like any other. I reckon it might even suit me. Like it does my daughter.

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