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  #1  
Old 31 March 2014, 07:47 PM
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Default What’s the Problem With Pink, Anyway?

http://nymag.com/thecut/2014/03/what...nk-anyway.html

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And what’s wrong with girly, anyway? Rolling our eyes at pink feels like another way of treating female culture on the whole as a niche interest, somehow secondary to male culture — a.k.a. the mainstream. And when it comes to our toys there’s an implicit message that the pink doodads are only second best to the tough dude versions in black, camouflage, and blue. (A boy dressing up like Iron Man, a narcissistic arms mogul turned superhero, won't be seen as nearly as silly as a girl wearing a Queen Elsa costume, even though they play to the same fantasy impulses). If we’ve made pink the most visible representation of girl culture, and also treat it as a symbol of frivolity, then we’re unwittingly telling girls (and boys) that the girl world isn’t important.
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Old 31 March 2014, 08:08 PM
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I didn't read the entire article, but I personally don't like the color pink, at least most shades. I hate pastels in general. Having said that: there is nothing wrong with pink in and of itself. What is a problem in my opinion is that pink is the only choice for most "girls' toys". Some girls don't like pink or like green, blue, yellow, red, etc. on the other hand boys are not allowed to like pink at all and though they have a million choices in colors pink is not one of them. And that, to me is what the problem with pink is.

OK, read the whole thing. I think the author misses the point that girls are socialized into liking pink. Yes, the toys sell a lot, but many girls are brought up with the notion that girls like pink and "girl" stuff. That's a lot of culture for a kid to buck.

Last edited by Sylvanz; 31 March 2014 at 08:15 PM.
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  #3  
Old 31 March 2014, 08:14 PM
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I think the article nails the problem though - we're simultaneously color-coding girls and boys toys while also telling them that one is inferior to the other. Blaming any one force is tricky - it's easy to knee-jerk to toy companies or feminists, but I think the messaging its coming from a lot of places and it's really not so simple.

I think the answer is though - just stop color coding gender in the first place. If pink is just another crayon in the box instead of an enforced gender identity, then you lose the more harmful aspects of this problem.
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Old 31 March 2014, 08:18 PM
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Pink toys are the method by which "girls' toys" are made into the niche and "boys' toys" are everything else. If the pink Lego kits are for girls, then all other Legos belong to boys, and also boys can't play with the pink kits.

Boys' toys (and clothing, and shoes, and accessories, and blankets, and...) aren't color coded except as not-pink.
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  #5  
Old 31 March 2014, 08:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rebochan View Post
I think the article nails the problem though - we're simultaneously color-coding girls and boys toys while also telling them that one is inferior to the other. Blaming any one force is tricky - it's easy to knee-jerk to toy companies or feminists, but I think the messaging its coming from a lot of places and it's really not so simple.

I think the answer is though - just stop color coding gender in the first place. If pink is just another crayon in the box instead of an enforced gender identity, then you lose the more harmful aspects of this problem.
Exactly. More choices for all kids.
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  #6  
Old 31 March 2014, 08:19 PM
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The problem with the article is that is isn't the same group saying both things, but rather different groups. And the message is more "girls are more that just pink" rather than "pink is bad".
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  #7  
Old 31 March 2014, 08:24 PM
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Originally Posted by Sylvanz View Post
I didn't read the entire article, but I personally don't like the color pink, at least most shades. I hate pastels in general.
This is the kind of pink I like (usually in combination with bright green and orange).

And this, of course. :-) N
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  #8  
Old 31 March 2014, 08:26 PM
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Originally Posted by Lainie View Post
This is the kind of pink I like (usually in combination with bright green and orange).

And this, of course. :-) N
Agreed on both points.
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  #9  
Old 31 March 2014, 08:47 PM
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My first thought was that I like most of her songs. And she's hot, too.
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  #10  
Old 31 March 2014, 08:52 PM
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This is the statement of someone who doesn't understand the issue at all.

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As it turns out, despite all the ferocious criticism and consciousness-raising about the "microaggressions" associated with pink, plenty of girls seem to love it.
The problem has never been that pink wasn't popular with girls. And it continues to be that even as people are starting to expand their views of what toys girls might want to play with, they then make a special niche pink version for girls instead of just marketing the same toy to boys and girls.

Merida and Katniss didn't use pink bows (as in bow-and-arrow). Why do the ones marketed to their female fans need to be pink? And making a pink bow and putting it in the girls' toy aisle means that any regular brown or other neutral colored bow is a boys' bow

There's nothing inherently wrong with pink, but when you're having it shoved at you constantly you tend to either learn to love it or to hate it, and push back will sometimes take the form of exasperation at it.
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Old 31 March 2014, 10:28 PM
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I don't know how many times a comment of "We have plenty of pink clothes how about a different color" or "She likes green" or "It would be nice to have something that all the kids can use" has been read as "HATES PINK". I think someone stopped listening a while ago and decided to trivialize parental complaints on limited color selections for girls.
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  #12  
Old 31 March 2014, 10:29 PM
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I think parents should ignore the trend since it seems unlikely that the manufacturers will stop unless their profits are lowered.

My junior chemistry set was not pink (and it did not have a girl on the box, only boys). Nor were my Tonka dump truck, my Lincoln logs, my little race cars with the way neato zipper pull propulsion, or all of my cool collection of marbles. Yes, some of my Barbie's* had pink clothes and some of my stuffed toys had pinkness to them. But my parents didn't limit me to pink and to items in boxes that only had girls on them.

I'm not a parent, so I'm not sure exactly how tough it would be to always avoid the pink aisles, but when I've bought gifts for young relatives and friends I have tried.

tldr: Lower the manufacturers profits to make change happen.


Morning

* Barbie quite often went on recon missions with the neighbor boys' GI Joes. And then dressed up to go to dances.

ETA: Pink hasn't always been gender associated with girls, by the way.

Pink, from Wikipedia
In Europe and the United States, pink is often associated with girls, while blue is associated with boys. These colors were first used as gender signifiers just prior to World War I (for either girls or boys), and pink was first established as a female gender signifier in the 1940s.[38][39] In the 20th century, the practice in Europe varied from country to country, with some assigning colors based on the baby's complexion, and others assigning pink sometimes to boys and sometimes to girls.[40]

Last edited by Morning; 31 March 2014 at 10:35 PM.
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  #13  
Old 31 March 2014, 10:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Morning View Post
* Barbie quite often went on recon missions with the neighbor boys' GI Joes. And then dressed up to go to dances.
My dad wouldn't buy me dolls like G I Joe. As a result, my sisters' Barbies were too busy driving Tonka trucks to go dancing.
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  #14  
Old 31 March 2014, 11:10 PM
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In the broad sense I think the issue is that sometimes when a "thing" ("thing" being an incrediably broad term encompasses countless items and actions) is identified as some level of a problem (ranging from outright a serious legit problem to something that could stand to have more variety or nuance) people that recognize it as a problem do one of two things; try to fight it or try to save/re-appropriate it.

This can lead to some confusion.
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  #15  
Old 31 March 2014, 11:26 PM
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Well, no: Of course they don’t “have to” be pink. But when we treat pink — and the girls who like it — with the condescension that question implies, what are we really saying? No symbol of girl culture is more powerful than pink; from princesses, tutus, and ponies, to Valley Girl accents and high-pitched voices. Today the color reads instantly as feminine, and carries all kinds of baggage about what it means to be feminine in a particular way — to be girly.
What's the problem with pink? I'd say the bolded statement is a big part of the problem. Why does pink get to be the symbol of "girl culture" and femininity? What about those of us who want to rock our "girlyness" in green? Or the non-"girly" girls who like pink anyway? Or the masculine boys who like pink? Why exactly do we need one overarching symbol of "girl culture" to begin with? Letting pink be the "symbol" of girlyness just sets up a situation where both girls and boys have to choose between the "girl"/pink version and the "non-pink" version--what exactly is the point of that? It just forces people to make a loaded choice about conforming to (or bucking) gender roles when all they really want is something in a color they like. Wanting a wood-colored bow (or black or red or blue) shouldn't have to imply that the archer isn't "girly", nor should liking a pink shirt imply that the person is feminine, anymore than choosing a green shirt should imply that the wearer is an elf. It's simply a color preference.

Both in childhood and now, most of my possessions were not pink--not because I hate pink, but because I liked many other colors as well, and pink was not one of my particular favorites. My frilliest, most girly dresses have almost all been blue, because blue is one of my favorite colors. Are they, and by extension me, not "girly" or not part of "girl culture" because they're not pink? On the other hand, I've got a couple of businesslike button-down shirts that are hot pink, not because I wanted something "girly", but because hot pink happens to look great on me. I've met a good number of guys who look amazing in pink shirts or pink ties, etc., but it doesn't make them any less masculine.
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  #16  
Old 31 March 2014, 11:35 PM
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I had a daughter who liked pink and who liked Barbies and who liked all things girlie. I got very tired of having people assume this was because that's what she was offered and this was the way we wanted to raise her. Quite the contrary. However we were also realists. I wasn't about to keep trying to change her. Doing so would have made me as bad as any of those people who deny little boys my little pony or who think boys can't wear tutus or whatever. And actually just having typed that this is exactly what gets me so angry about this whole issue. People, good, kind people bend over backwards to accommodate a boy who likes "girlie" things. Yet those same people sneer and get snotty (and yes I've personally experienced this) when a girl wants to be girlie.
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  #17  
Old 31 March 2014, 11:52 PM
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Well said, Onyx_TKD.

I've been trying to train myself out of using the term "girly" to refer to the ultra-gendered pink stuff because I realized that it implies that people who don't wear/play with/want that stuff are somehow less female, or less of girls. It also tends to have a pejorative connotation, so it plays into the whole idea that the pink stuff and the people who like it, are lesser than.
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  #18  
Old 01 April 2014, 12:06 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sue View Post
People, good, kind people bend over backwards to accommodate a boy who likes "girlie" things. Yet those same people sneer and get snotty (and yes I've personally experienced this) when a girl wants to be girlie.
It's almost like the enforced color coding of children's toys and clothes might have had something to do with those assumptions...
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Old 01 April 2014, 12:28 AM
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I don't know, I see people get pretty grabby around boys who want to play with "girlie" things as well. I also think that male gender identity is quite a bit more rigid and rigidly enforced than female gender identity (don't get me wrong; "my side" is categorically not worse off - the fact that we get all the stuff mitigates the crap out of everything else) but I also feel like we're just dueling anecdotes at this point.

Either way, I think an even stronger influence than some adult physically standing up and refusing to buy a boy a pink doll or a girl a blue race car is the background, institutionalized stereotypes thrown at kids from practically the day that they're born. Commercials feature girls playing with girl toys and boys playing with boy toys with zero crossover whatsoever. Boys who hang out with other boys see their friends' boy toys and desire them. Boys who hang out in mixed company who desire a girl toy are ridiculed by boys *and* girls, who themselves don't understand why they ridicule beyond that their parents may not like it or they don't see these activities represented in the media. Well-meaning or not-so-well-meaning strangers will seek to "correct" non-gender-normative behavior in subtle ways as well, perhaps not even directly (perhaps they make a snotty comment at a kid in order to ensure that *their* children conform to gender stereotypes).

I understand the desire or even, in some cases, the need to find actual, tangible people to point at when describing bad behavior. This stuff's not always that easy.
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Old 01 April 2014, 12:36 AM
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I once heard a guy call in to a radio show to say that he would not let his son play with a doll "any more than I'd let him play with an open bottle of aspirin."
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