Wednesday, January 09, 2008

When did everything become pink?

When did it suddenly become universally accepted that girls want to have everything in pink?

I’m not talking about the baby-girls-wear-pink and baby-boys-wear-blue concept because let’s face it, with so many bald newborns out there (and I can say that because my kid was one of those for many months), how else are you supposed to distinguish boy from girl other than by the colour of their clothes?

I’m talking about the assumption that older girls – toddler and older – must have everything in pink.

The other day, we were at the Raptors game and during halftime, I was checking out some of the merchandise, particularly the kids’ merchandise. And there, front and centre, were Raptors’ red jerseys, hats, baby track suits and bibs. And nearby, there were sickly sweet bubble gum pink Raptors’ jerseys and track suits.

This isn’t the first time I’ve noticed the pink jerseys, but it’s the first time that they actually bothered me. Because last time I checked, bubble gum pink wasn’t an official Raptors colours. There’s red, there’s white, there’s black, there used to be purple (and you can still get away with that retro colour) but there isn’t, and never has been, pink.

And while I’m on the subject, last time I checked, pink isn’t one of the Leafs’ official colours either – but there they are, bubble gum pink baby Ts with the Leafs logo on them.

This ‘girls must have pink’ trend is not only stuck in kids’ clothes (or women’s clothes – which some of the jerseys and T-shirts were). And that’s where I find it even sillier.

While doing Christmas shopping at Toys ‘R Us last month, I noticed an entire section of pink toys. Do you know the yellow Little People school bus (it’s the same bus you and I used to play with, just with more bells and whistles (read requires batteries))? Well it comes in yellow and it comes in bubble gum pink. Same goes with the Little People airplane – it comes in white and blue and it comes in bubble gum pink. Now, last time I checked there were no pink school buses on the road and very few passenger airplanes painted in bubble gum pink. Toy makers have even taken it one step further by offering the Magna Doodle in traditional royal blue and in pink; as well as the corn popper (you know that toy you pushed all around the living room to drive your parents’ crazy) in traditional blue or in bubble gum pink. There are probably others, but these are the four that come to mind.

Now I know I have a boy, so by default I’m not interested in buying ‘pink’ merchandise for him. But I honestly feel that even if I had a girl, I still wouldn’t be interested in buying pink merchandise. What does a child learn from owning a pink bus that they can’t learn from owning a yellow bus? The fine motor skills that they develop from the toy are the same, but, in my opinion, wouldn’t knowledge and understanding of the world be greater with the yellow bus – because that’s the colour of the bus a child sees on the road? I know Austin shouts with joy every time we drive by a school bus.

Girls and boys are already differentiated enough when it’s assumed that girls play with dolls and boys play with trucks – let’s not now make girls assume that they can only have the pink toys and the pink clothes.

Because I can tell you, whether my next child is a girl or a boy, only yellow school buses and Raptor red jerseys are coming into my house.


Carole said...

Go Deb!!

Anonymous said...

I totally agree, and if I hadn't seen pink for women on the Giants football site, I would say it is appropriate for the Leafs.

Jennifer said...

I actually think it's okay that pink has become an available option (especially with regards to sporting) because now a girl has the option to get a jersey of her fav team in a colour other than blue, red, green or black. I mean if I can match my cute jeans and white/pink runners with a cute Jays t-shirt in pink...that sounds like a sale to me!

I'm also hoping it will get kids more interested in sports - ie. almost all professional sports are played by men only and a lot of women aren't interested. If they could buy a pink glove or pink golf clubs...well, maybe that might get a little more excited and actually give them a try.

It's about options, and it's nice to have some now.