Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Pink stinks!

Pink Stinks! are targeting companies such as the Early Learning Centre, the British equivalent of Toys 'r' Us, for producing a flood of pink pink pink toys for girls and reducing their role models to princesses, barbies and beauticians. They actually discovered that one company was making pink microscopes for girls which had a less powerful lens than the boys' equivalent. It's not like girls were going to actually use the microscope, were they?

Pink Stinks! don't like the fact that when you go into a British toy shop, you'll immediately know which section is for girls and which is for boys. Venturing into the boys' section of the store with a little girl on your hand will feel like a transgression, and let's not even imagine taking your boy to the PINK section. Pink is for girls!!! But why on EARTH should there be a difference between boys' and girs' toys? What justification is there? THIS INJUSTICE MUST END!

I once went into the kids' pyjama section at British Home Stores, which was a nightmare: girls' were (guess what?) pink and said stuff like Princess, or Faaaairy, or whatever. They were basically unwearable, lest I was to be constantly reminded that I was a 'girl'. The boys' ones were even worse: they depicted action figures and violence, such as Catching. Hmm, lovely. The one I finally picked for myself actually said: 'What a nightmare'. How fitting. It was in the -guess what?- boys' section. It had a scary-looking monster on the front which glows in the dark! So cool. Of course girls are kept away from scary things so they grow up afraid, whereas boys are trained not to be afraid. So unfair.

Oh look at mummy's little princess! The subliminal message is that girls can only ever aspire to being pretty little passive things that other people look at, self-absorbedly spending their waking hours grooming themselves. They have to be prim and proper and focus on not dirtying their white tights and pink fluffy cumbersome dresses, or to constantly worry about their knickers showing, so they'll learn to sit in weird positions, keeping their legs together. Though there are other reasons for girls and women to keep their legs together: they are not supposed to be sexually available. Boys and men can sit with their legs apart no problem. But that’s a different topic. Boys can get dirty and are encouraged to do important stuff! Venture out! Be strong! The downside is that people think it's ok for them to punch each other in the face. And that they're not allowed to cry.

In films and TV series even today, physical violence between men is depicted as quite normal across the board. The TV series "90210" frequently depicts fist fights between (posh) MALE high school students as though it was the most normal thing in the world. Yes, I watch 90210. So what?

Women on the other hand never get into fist fights, except for comic effect. They couldn't be taken seriously now, could they? Women can't clench their fists anyway, lest they are to impale themselves with their own nails. Women lying in each others' hair and scratching each others' faces, that is more like it. Nails and hair - they have loads of that for sure.

Man up! Don't be gay! Boys don't cry! In Argentina, that's how some women try and shut up their crying boys. An anarchist I met, said to one of them: stop saying that. "What business is it of yours?", the reply came back. It's my business because this boy is going to grow up and start going out with my granddaughter, and then she's going to have to live with an emotionally challenged macho!

A friend just told me about a Hannah Montana cushion marketed towards girls, which contains a pouch for 'my secret diary'. Have you ever heard of boys being encouraged to pour out their heart? It's actually not that frequent. And, God forbid would they pour their heart out to a diary! Not even when tempted with scented pink pens? Noooooo.

And it's not just that. Parents and their friends and family treat girls and boys differently and have different expectations of them, before they're even born. When the baby's born, it's bombarded with blue OR pink, stuffed into pink OR blue rooms, given a barbie doll OR a power ranger to play with. Why oh why? CrimethInc, a culture jamming collective, have thought up a really cool trick: they went into a toy shop and exchanged the voice boxes between Barbie dolls and Action men. Imagine you buy your son an Action man and when he pushes the button, it comes out saying stuff like: ‘I want to go shopping’. Or your daughter unpacking a Barbie doll which says........ well I don’t know what action men say, you see, I grew up as a girl!

Check out Pink Stinks! at

1 comment:

  1. I was just wondering the other day how it is that a color can be feminine or masculine. How did we choose the colors to associate with the sexes/genders? I wonder what the history is behind it. It does drive me nutty when I have my daughter in blue or brown and people assume she is a boy. Why? We like colors! All of them. I just let people call her a he. It won't hurt her. If it does come out that she is a girl people are SO apologetic. I say, "how were you supposed to know?" It also really bugs me that some people are so frightened someone might think their girl is a boy that they PIERCE HER BABY EARS (!) or put a pink band on her bald head. Shit. Let a baby be a baby for a little while. The expectations associated with her gender will be present soon enough!