Programmed to like pink

A sea of pink and blue

By Laura Janecka

As a child, my mother always dressed me in pink. I can’t tell you whether or not I liked it, but now that I’m in my 20s I cannot stand the Pepto-dismal of the colour. When I was five, my pink wardrobe neatly coincided with my pink world, full of pink Barbie convertibles, pink tea sets and pink dress-up clothes.

When I walked into a toy store today, those memories came flooding back like a giant pink wave of nostalgia. I almost barfed at how things haven’t changed since the 80s. Let’s put it this way – it’s very obvious in a toy store which side is the girls and which side is the boys. In this toy store, pink screamed out from one side, while royal blue dominated the other.

Because I was shopping for my nephew, I went over to the boy section. Cars (check), building tools (check), pirate boats (check), building blocks (check) – basically anything that could build or destroy was manufactured for the boys. On the girls’ side? Princess costumes, tea sets (yes apparently they’re still cool), kitchen supplies – all in pink.

Why?! I thought our society had progressed past blue worlds for boys and pink worlds for girls. Sadly, not much has changed since I was a child. But I wonder, is it so much our society or the institutions of our society?

A Time article states that the association with pink to girls is biological. The study that took place involved both men and women in their twenties to see what colours they chose when faced with numerous options. Blue tended to be the most popular choice amongst both genders; however girls tended to choose red hued blues, while boys chose green shades of blue – thus proving that girls like pink. But I think the test should be discredited based on the fact that as children, girls’ association with pink is not chosen but enforced by mothers (sorry mom), and consumer-based institutions.

If a baby boy or girl is presented with a toy, it doesn’t care what colour it is – it cares whether or not it’s going to fit in their mouth. We need to move past colour coding our children. This type of labelling is outdated and sexist. Furthermore, toy stores should not separate the boys’ section from the girls’. Children should have the choice of playing with pirates or pouring tea – because as adults, in today’s society, we play with both.


3 thoughts on “Programmed to like pink

  1. But by walking into the “boys section” to look for a present for your nephew, that’s still falling victim to gender stereotypes. Why not enter the pink to look for something there? A kitchen set could be what turns him on to cooking and paves the way to becoming a chef–the colour should be irrelvant. Of course, if he truly likes “build/destory” toys, choosing something from the blue “boys” section is appropriate. But don’t you agree that you entered the blue area because you knew you’d get “boy” items there?

    Could you link the Time article?

  2. So, just so I’m reading correctly you are discrediting a scientific study conducted through neuroscientists by giving a vague generalization that all mothers force pink upon their daughters, while you yourself have no experience or knowledge in the field of neuroscience?

  3. To respond to Jenelle, I was on a specific mission to buy my nephew “Bakugon” -which was located in the “boy section”…

    And yes, I am discrediting a scientific study because often we find that studies are not credible in the larger picture of humanity. One study may say that coffee is good for our cognitive functions, while another one might say that coffee is detrimental to our heart’s health. We should constantly question studies, rather than believe everything we read -do you, Anon, believe everything that you read? Obviously not, since you question my post. The reason I attack this study is because adults were observed and not children. The study does not take into account the factor of learned behavior -a child growing up in a society that colour codes genders. Perhaps if a one year old was observed than the results would yield a different conclusion.

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