I have just finished reading an interesting blog about the birth of a brand called Pigtail Pals. It’s all about the anti-sexualisation and comercialisation of childhood and got me thinking about my stance on gender stereotypes.
When Megan was born there was a running joke in our family that “you’d better not buy her anything pink…Linda will crack it!” Initially my dislike of pink stemmed from having red hair (Megan also) and that clashes badly with pink clothes. But then it snowballed into outrage because if you have a girl, your colour choice options were usually pink, pink and then pink again. People just accepted it and never bothered to think otherwise.
It really drove me crazy!
I was always searching for colours other than pink and designs other than make up and kittens, and pounced upon them when they were seldomly found. You should have seen how excited I was when I bought Megan a black t-shirt once! And now after having Alex, I have noticed things aren’t much better for boys. While there are red and green clothes out there, the majority of things for boys are blue. With trucks and motorbikes and skulls. Great choices. Of course, Megan’s favourite colour is now pink- possibly because it’s so rare and exciting for her to see in our house, or is it ‘coz that’s what girls choose?
A friend has a little girl who prefers Batman and Superman to the countless fairy costumes hanging in her cupboard. I laugh when Alex puts hair clips in his very short hair and wants toenail polish just like me. Let them go for it, I say.
Up until now, Megan’s choice of interests have been fairly non-gender stereotypical. She loved ‘Peppa Pig’, a muddy puddle jumping pig, and ‘Little Princess’, a VERY non-stereotypical princess. She has a bug catcher (with a container of dead bugs) and a pretty awesome collection of rocks and stones. Alongside this, she loves her ‘click-clack’ dress up shoes and takes her handbag, purse and toy phone when we go shopping.
However, Megan is big on the first Tinkerbell film at the moment. It’s a sweet, easy to follow movie with a nice theme of “be who you are, don’t pretend to be someone else”. But I have to admit, I cringed when Tink first appeared in her incredibly skimpy outfit which accentuated her boobs and bum. Really? Busty boobs and J-Lo-style bum for a Fairy in Neverland???
I had thought that this detail was the kind of thing that Megan wouldn’t take notice of. But after reading what Melissa from Pigtail Pals wrote about images being what pre-readers learn from, I have started questioning this thought.
Am I being over-sensitive? Are there enough positive girl images out there too? Can we just let them be kids or is our media-driven world changing everything for our kids’ childhood?