There is this bizarre extreme feminist view that girls would tend to go for more typically masculine jobs and educational routes if they weren’t ‘forced’ into playing princesses, fairies, and with everything/anything that is pink. There have been numerous articles about this and campaigns, the most well known being PinkStinks.
In my feminist view point, pink products became popular because children like them and begged parents to buy them, thus driving up sales which drove companies to produce more pink products. The central problem is not pink and blue toys but major stores and corporations assigning gender to toys!
I have always enjoyed Pink, in fact it is my favorite color. I grew-up playing pretend princesses and fairies as well as fireman and construction workers. I was always coming home covered in mud because I had been playing in the melting snow on a pretend amazing adventure.
Back then (the 1990s) my big brother and I shared a vast Lego collection. Overtime we discovered we played differently. I made villages and had the mini figures go on adventures. He would build architecture and robots. I was happy to play with anything I thought would enhance my stories, mixing in other toys like Barbie or Beanie Babies. He would want the best and unique Lego pieces to create mini figure scale towns, make a lamp for his bedroom, and to use Lego Mindstorms for his robots. He did not care if the color was pink, as long as it suited the needs of his latest creation. We played with what was available and what we enjoyed.
When we made our Christmas wish lists he would ask our parents to buy me my own Lego sets so I wouldn’t keep taking his favorite pieces. While I would ask for my size Barbie, the Swan Princess dolls, and the Little Mermaid vhs tape (because I worn out my first copy). I ended up with pink lego, so I could play princess and have adventures. I loved them. That’s not right for every child but it was right for me.
As an adult, I try to use my love of princesses to teach manners. My desire to be a fairy is now used teach about being courageous and strong because flying, hiding from humans is fun no matter what gender you identify as! As a childcare provider, teacher, and Girl Scout volunteer I’ve been able to turn these seemingly childish, girly fairytale and fables into a method of helping children learn and a grow.
The same pink and items you perceived as ‘girly’ could help tell a story or enhance a child’s creative play regardless of their gender. As my favorite toy campaign says “Let Toys Be Toys!” Tailor your belongings to needs, not how a corporation has advertised.
Stores may make us think there is a girl aisle and a boy aisle but we don’t have to shop that way. Our money is what makes a difference in the industry.