How many of you have gone into a children’s store, whether for books or toys or clothes, and been asked whether it is for a girl or a boy?
When my daughter was 10 months old, I needed a sun hat for her and walked into a children’s clothes store, asking for a hat for my baby. The first question? Not age. Not size. Just “is it for a girl or a boy?”.
The hats were in different parts of the shop for girls as distinct from boys, and the colours were clearly segregated; if I wanted a green hat with frogs for my daughter, it was in the boy’s section. If I wanted a hat for a girl, then there were a variety of hats with roses on them, all pink, in the girl’s section.
I left that shop without answering the lady’s question; I left her with a blank look as she clearly failed to comprehend, failed to be able to step out of her own role in reinforcing gender stereotypes that is both so prevalent and, to parents like me, provocative.
Are you also upset at the anachronistic ‘pinkification’ of children’s books, clothes, and toys? Or are you one of those who don’t even notice this gender stereotyping that, even while we campaign for gender equality worldwide, is gaining pace around the world?
With thanks to Upworthy.com for the video clip, take a look how ridiculous the ‘pinkification’ of our children looks when it is transposed on adults.
Children are individuals. They should feel free to choose their own interests, not feel they are supposed to accept or reject things because of a gender stereotype; because of a colour.
Parents or others who choose a gift for a child based only on a child’s gender are making a massive mistake, assuming what a child may like, or be like, with considering gender. Assumptions we make about children are self-reinforcing, the child learns so much about how to be, and how things are, from what they read, and from the children’s clothes and toys they are provided.
That boys are raised not to read books with girl leads, or play with toys that are pink, is sickening. That girls are given dolls that are for dressing up only, and are unable to even stand on their own, while boys are given action figures who can adventure and project power, is also sickening stereotyping.
It is wrong.
Gendered marketing to children normalises and perpetuates limiting and antiquated stereotypes.
It is time we put a stop to the providers of children’s products; books, toys, and clothes, to put gendered marketing where it belongs; in the past.