It may seem trivial, but it isn’t. I was pleased, as were friends of mine, to see that at last those three-wheel scooters – if you are a parent of a 2-6 year old, you’ll know which ones I mean – are available in colours other than blue and pink. I know so many mums and dads, who are in a total quandry about which colour to get for their girls. This because they simply don’t want a pink one or have already got a daughter with a pink one and they want one which is different, but not blue. Because blue gives a message as well. How on Earth did these colours get loaded with so much meaning, that we’re worrying about this nonsense? And where did all the choice go?
We’ve been eagerly reading some correspondence that a woman called Christine Emily Campbell has been having with the Early Learning Centre (ELC). She is creator of the Facebook group ‘Construction toys are for girls too‘, and has been in dialogue with the them about their blatant, stereotypical genderisation of all things in store. This now happens to the ridiculous point that the globe itself – yes the entire world – has gone pink for girls.
The ELC have responded saying that there exists all sorts of ‘scientific proof’ as to why it is that girls like pink. They say:
“According to child psychologists, research now shows that gender is a major factor in determining children’s colour preferences, with most boys typically preferring blue and girls preferring pink from infancy. To meet the needs of these colour preferences and to ensure children are given a choice, Early Learning Centre are offering limited products in both blue and pink variations.”
They go on to say:
“… the freedom [for children] to make their own colour choices plays a major role in enhancing their development”
Choice? What choice? Frankly, we just don’t buy it. And I mean that literally, as well as figuratively speaking.
I point you in the direction of the girl in the 80’s Lego ad, and only wish that this beautiful image wasn’t so startling and
shocking. It’s because of its lack of pinkness that I just can’t take my eyes off it! We’ve become so brainwashed into believing that all this is ‘natural’, that when we see an image like this, it’s somehow bizarre. And yet it’s what we all looked like as kids in the 70s and no-one thought we ‘weren’t girls’. No-one thought we had to be dripping in pink to express ourselves, but most importantly we had a choice.
ELC claim that girls naturally prefer pink (take a look at the Wikipedia entry on the colour Pink – specifically Pink and gender), but it’s no wonder they ‘choose’ pink and only pink, because there is no other choice except for blue. And no girl wants to be called a boy. This illusion of choice is extremely convenient for the corporations marketing stuff to our kids. Trivial it may seem but there’s mega bucks being made here.
Interestingly enough, you’ll pay a premium for a non pink or non blue scooter – a whopping 10 quid extra – but it’s certainly a step in the right direction. Because at least it’s a choice.