Friday, December 7, 2012

Why are girls limited to pink?

One of my biggest pet peeves when I was pregnant (and still continuing now) is how people automatically assume that little girls can only wear pink, frilly, or ruffles and little boys wear blue or denim.  Let it be known I have nothing against pink; I wear pink shirts.  But I also wear blue, green, orange, white, striped, polka-dotted, and multi-colored shirts.  Why should Sophia have to be restricted to pink and frilly?  Frills are decidedly difficult to get stuff done in, as are heels and other "girl" shoes.  I didn't want her only exposure to be pink, princesses, unicorns, and barbie barf.  Why can't society accept that maybe girls like tools, and not only the pink ones?  Or, that they like trucks and cars?  Or, that boys may want to play with dolls or have an oven?  I hate how gender-polarized kid toys are: if it's a "boy" toy, it's primary colors, "girl" toys are pink and only pink.  Since when did pink symbolize only girl?  And when did it become taboo for boys?  Why must toys come in girl versions and boy versions?
Seriously? Why did these need to be made pink?  Would girls not use them if they weren't?

I think that Jordan and I do a pretty good job of breaking the typical gender roles.  For example, Jordan had  (he wore it to death so it got retired) a pink shirt that looked darn good on him.  I have a growing collection of power tools, and would like to think I'm semi talented with them.  Jordan makes a mean creme bruele, and other desserts.  I like grilling. etc, etc.  But, we also have interests that fall within roles defined by society as "girl" or "boy": I like crafts, he likes video games.  We like what we like because we like them, not because society told us that we were supposed to like them.  My question is why must video games be reserved for boys only and crafts seen as a girl thing?  It's funny to me that one of the insults given to girls who play video games is to go make the male gamers a sandwich (or, sammich).  Implying, of course, that the woman's place is in the kitchen.  If that's the case, then how come a large majority of top chefs are male?

Growing up, I didn't fit the "normal" definition of what it meant to be a girl: I liked sports, couldn't tell you how to apply makeup, and lived in comfortable clothes rather than what the latest fad was.  I still remember wanting to play certain sports and being told I couldn't, because they were "boys" sports.  And, unspoken but still coming thru loud and clear, that since I was a girl, I couldn't do that.  Football was one of those sports I would have loved to been able to play, but couldn't, since society didn't think it was proper.    I refer you to this video and dare you to tell me that she can't play because she's a girl.  I say she's a damn good player, and hope she sticks with it, if that's what she wants to do.  I am thankful for Mia Hamm and the women's soccer team for making soccer so mainstream, as I love to play.

I think the princess hype that little girls are surrounded with leads to an increased incidence of what I call "helpless female syndrome."  I hate this syndrome with a burning passion.  I realize that girls are different, some falling more into society's defined role for them and some less.  However, when a girl waits for a man to do something for her, it drives me nuts.  I mean, really?  You can't do/lift/carry/whatever that task because you "need" a man to do it for you?  Why can't you do it yourself?  And, why must your help be male?  When I know a woman to be perfectly capable of doing a task, that's when it really drives me up the wall.  I know a few prime examples of people with this syndrome, and seeing them pass it on just makes me sad.  Sophia may not like the same things I do, and that's fine...she is her own person after all.  But, if she is physically capable of doing something, you best believe she will be expected to do it.  Which is why her life skill set will include how to change a tire, use basic hand tools, cook, and jump a car battery.  Other skills will come if she shows interest. But I think these are things that everybody, regardless of gender, should know how to do.

It's my hope that Sophia grows up liking whatever she wants, and is comfortable in her choices.  I sure intend on giving her that chance and supporting her 110% in whatever she chooses to do.  She will not be surrounded by barbie barf, princesses, and ponies as her only toy choices.  She will have dolls, but also blocks and trucks.  She will have pink clothes and blue ones.  Ruffles and denim.  She will have the opportunity to decide what color she likes best.  I expect it will change many times.  If she decides she likes pink, that's fine.  But I want it to be her choice.  Not one forced upon her.  If she wants to play in the peewee football league, that's fine.  If ballet is her thing, great.  If she wants to be darth vader in a tutu for Halloween, so be it. (I may laugh inside at that one, and promise to get pictures if it ever happens)  I want her to be comfortable in her choices, and know that nothing is excluded her just due to her gender (only exception being peeing standing up....too messy).  I applaud this blog for their efforts in promoting the tearing down of gender bias and stereotypes for both genders, and suggest that you check her out.

I think I'm done ranting, now.  For a little while, at least.  I'm just tired of being a square peg being shoved in a round hole, and hope to help my daughter avoid that.

Sophia has periodic table blocks.  And says they're pretty cool.

No comments:

Post a Comment