Pink

Having two girls I swore it would never happen, but it has. My house is turning pink. Their dolls house – pink. Keyboard – pink. Scooter – pink. Even their toy garage – pink. I took my three-year-old shopping the other day and what did I come back with? A pink dress and a pink heart-shaped necklace. I first started to notice it when a friend came round with her two boys. I rummaged around for the less girly toys like my brother’s old matchbox cars, a wooden train set and that was about it. Where was the digger or fire engine? Although my friend told me her little boy loved playing with dolls and having tea parties, so he didn’t care. How had I let this happen? To give myself some credit I have not been behind all of the pink purchases, most have been gifts. But I think it’s time I put my foot down. It has only been quite recently that the three-year-old has seemed to pick up on gender and started mentioning boys and girls. Suddenly everything pink is “so pretty” and “so lovely”. In the past any trip to the shop was just about wearing me down until I caved in and bought her something sweet. But now I have to do a body search before we leave anywhere to see what glittery, sparkly pink tat she has stashed into the trolley or pushchair. Is it really important? Am I sounding like a humourless feminist? Search under top girls toys online and you get a make-up set, air hostess trolley, kitchen, shop, Barbie ballerina and nurses outfit. For boys you get a police car, more cars, lego, a lawnmower, doctors outfit and an array of guns. This “pinkification” as it has been called is only relatively recent. In the 1800s it was the done thing to dress all toddlers in a dress, up to the age of about six. The boys looked pretty funny. Until as late as the 1940s pink was considered the colour of choice for boys because it is a “more decided and stronger” colour, while blue, which is more “delicate and dainty”, is prettier for the girl. Why it then changed noone really seems to know, other than it was an astute marketing tool for retailers. I am not saying I am going to go out and burn all their toys in a big pink plastic pyre, dress them in police outfits and arm them with a gun, although that does sound like fun. But why does everything have to be for boys or for girls, what’s wrong with just plain old toys?

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