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PinkStinks: campaigning to rethink girl culture

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PinkStinks: campaigning to rethink girl culture

Postby spacefem » Tue Dec 29, 19:28 2009

I discovered a while back that if I want to use airplanes as a baby nursery theme, I'd better like the color blue. It's true that I'm a girl, avionics engineer, darn close to finishing my pilot's license, but airplanes for kids only come in one color and it's not one we'd ever want to *accidentally* mistake as being feminine. Obviously I shook the stereotypes off but look around... you have to work at it. Play kitchens and make-up sets are packaged with pictures of calm passive girls, while microscopes and train tracks are not. The EZ Bake Oven still claims in huge letters that it a "girl's first baking experience!" Because boys can't bake? Anyway all this overload is why I completely support the Pink Stinks campaign: http://www.pinkstinks.co.uk/

Pink Stinks "challenges the culture of pink which invades every aspect of girls' lives." It's about finding realistic, achieving role models... basically telling girls that they can use their intellect to do something great, instead of just using their bodies to hopefully become some football player's wife. It's about calling out companies that insist on packaging and marketing their toys in a way that puts very young girls into constricting gender roles at a very young age.

I realize that a five year old girl could easily pepper her birthday list with Barbies and princess dress-up sets, and who are we to deny her? But the fact is that when we've taught her since BIRTH that there are certain things girls "should" ask for, are we really doing her any favors? Are the princess clothes really her choice, if the media spends all their energy making sure she's brainwashed?

Roles sell. It's easy to tell kids, "Here's your place", eliminate choices, use sound-bitey surface-beautiful spokespeople. But who are those roles really helping when we've got a culture full of problems that need solved with math, science, critical thinking and socio-economic awareness? Or a scary uprise in image and self-esteem issues among youth who aren't satisfied with their ability to fit into place?
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Re: PinkStinks: campaigning to rethink girl culture

Postby rowan » Tue Dec 29, 22:21 2009

Oh god it's AWFUL. Though my baby girl loves her trucks, and isn't really keen on the pink baby dolls. Her room is blue with fishes. (Because if you're painting an ocean and sky, it's going to be blue :))

I was looking for some hunting stuff for my dad for Christmas, and I came across toy guns and a toy crossbow... and the PINK version. Because the only way to get girls interested in those things is to make them PINK!?!?! Blech!

I can't even look at the girl-section at the toy store, it blinds me. I hope my little girl keeps on loving the trucks and lets me shop in the boy-section as much (or more) as the girl-section for clothes.

*goes to check out pinkstinks*
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Re: PinkStinks: campaigning to rethink girl culture

Postby lizpoona » Tue Dec 29, 23:12 2009

Cool! As much as I loved barbies and kitchen sets (mainly for the imagination and storytelling you can explore with them), I also loved playing with cars and dirt and running around and trying to figure out those confounded transformers toys. And I absolutely loved the action figures my one boy playmate had. 5 different kinds of batman and countless strange plastic creatures with claws, anyone? yes please!

I always got really annoyed when my mom would scold me for playing with cars, but I kept finding and collecting them anyway. booya!


when I have kids, there's not going to be boy toys and girls toys, there will just be one combined set of toys mixed together, and they can play with what they want, no matter what it is (Ideally, I would like both a boy and girl). let kids be creative and have fun with whatever they have, you know?
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Re: PinkStinks: campaigning to rethink girl culture

Postby Meperidine » Wed Dec 30, 0:56 2009

My parents never taught me I should like Disney princesses or Barbies. My mother was against them but says if we'd ever asked, she'd have gotten them. But I never did, because I never wanted any, even though all my little nursery school friends told me I should.
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Re: PinkStinks: campaigning to rethink girl culture

Postby Aum » Wed Dec 30, 0:57 2009

I guess I'm not the poster child for ambiguous child toys since I played with barbies as a kid and turned out to be a homo, but seriously, it really doesn't matter. I was babysat (babysitted?) with a couple of girls and we would trade GI Joes and Barbies all the time. I thought the Barbies looked friendly and the GI Joes just looked mean.

I think that children's toys are not really a product of our true gender, but of genderization of objects in our world. I mean, where was it along the line of North American culture that blue suddenly meant boy and pink meant girl?

Back in the day, this was the hottest thing evar for a guy to wear:
Image

And now only a "fag" would be caught dead in that.

So really, who the hell cares? The standard is impossible to keep up with. If I have a kid, I'll parent it however I see fit. If my kid gravitates towards a toy that is "gender inappropriate" then oh well. They obviously think it's interesting for a reason!
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Re: PinkStinks: campaigning to rethink girl culture

Postby Barkey » Wed Dec 30, 0:59 2009

Xin, I wouldn't say those look gay, but if I saw someone wearing that I would think "Wrong turn at the renaissance fair?" Though being a closet Fantasy reader, I wouldn't mind if those came back.

Clothes change, I was lamenting with a friend yesterday how I wish we could still publicly wear weapons like swords however. I guess I'm just as much of a bad poster child as you though, I played with GI Joes as a kid and look how I turned out.
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Re: PinkStinks: campaigning to rethink girl culture

Postby Charli! » Wed Dec 30, 4:55 2009

Birthday cards too.. don't you hate how ALL female birthday cards seem to be goddamn pink!

I actually dread this if I ever have children, I'll be giving a girl guns and stuff to play with, and my mtoher will be there doing their hair and smothering them in barbie dolls, like she did for me and my sister. I rebelled though- it just took me 20 years or so!
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Re: PinkStinks: campaigning to rethink girl culture

Postby Tweek » Wed Dec 30, 13:35 2009

People should be able to get things in the colour they want, if young girls didn't like pink I'm sure manufacturers would soon switch to making them in the new in colour. Interestingly I read that once blue was considered a girly colour and pink was thought masculine.
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Re: PinkStinks: campaigning to rethink girl culture

Postby monk » Wed Dec 30, 16:46 2009

A friend of mine dressed up her baby girl in blue all the time and people would always assume she was a boy. It didn't help that her name was Kris either.

Even though there is an obvious social conditioning aspect to what we like and how we act as children, I don't know if it's a good thing to fight against it aggressively. Part of what kids are drawn to is what their mind tells them will help them fit in with other kids and the other part is what comes out of what the chemicals in their head tell them to do. I think the best bet is to give them choices and respect them and if a little girls choice is to like pink and dolls and hate cars and blue then we should respect that.
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Re: PinkStinks: campaigning to rethink girl culture

Postby vex » Wed Dec 30, 18:27 2009

All the birthday cards are not just pink, they're about SHOPPING and SHOES and how i hope you get SHOPPING and SHOES for your birthday because all you ever seem to be interested in is SHOPPING and SHOES, so gee i hope you get your wish!!..

(i am all about shoes)

this looks interesting. you've got to be careful not to demonise pink and the little girls who wear it and love barbies and kitchens and pretending to be housewives, cause thats all valid as well yada yada, but i like this idea of trying to crack open the market of expectations foisted on us before we can even talk.
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Re: PinkStinks: campaigning to rethink girl culture

Postby Mathmo » Thu Dec 31, 4:50 2009

vex wrote:All the birthday cards are not just pink, they're about SHOPPING and SHOES and how i hope you get SHOPPING and SHOES for your birthday because all you ever seem to be interested in is SHOPPING and SHOES, so gee i hope you get your wish!!..

(i am all about shoes)

this looks interesting. you've got to be careful not to demonise pink and the little girls who wear it and love barbies and kitchens and pretending to be housewives, cause thats all valid as well yada yada, but i like this idea of trying to crack open the market of expectations foisted on us before we can even talk.


And CHOCOLATE don't forget the CHOCOLATE that you eat after your day of SHOPPING and SHOES

(I really like cards about shopping, chocolate, and shoes, though, I must say. I think if I was looking for a birthday card for a woman who wasn't into that I'd go for one of the not-gender-specified ones with art on the cover / pictures of sweets / animals / etc. In my experience there isn't ever a problem finding appropriate cards - but then the British have crazy huge selections of cards)
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Re: PinkStinks: campaigning to rethink girl culture

Postby Neko » Thu Dec 31, 6:47 2009

Has anyone seen the "neutral" color for baby stuff? It's usually yellow or green. Came across a lot of that when I worked in the infants department at Walmart.
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Re: PinkStinks: campaigning to rethink girl culture

Postby vex » Thu Dec 31, 7:01 2009

OMG I totally forgot chocolate, how could I forget chocolate when it's all I ever eat? teehee

Neko wrote:Has anyone seen the "neutral" color for baby stuff? It's usually yellow or green. Came across a lot of that when I worked in the infants department at Walmart.


whatever happened to multi-coloured? when i was a kid i thought having anything be just ONE colour was a total rip-off, i liked stripes and dots and rainbows. why can't they have prettier, more imaginative stuff? do mixed colours cost more or something?
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Re: PinkStinks: campaigning to rethink girl culture

Postby Pyro Chick » Thu Dec 31, 14:16 2009

Speaking of chocolate, does anyone remember that troll that came in here once and was like "if your woman is ever talking too much, just throw some chocolate into the next room and she'll run after it and leave you alone." hahaha
I've also noticed that every single chocolate commercial on TV has a woman eating it all sensual-like.

Also, I HATE HATE HATE how every female sports equipment in a sporting store is pink. Pink golf clubs, pink soccer balls, blah blah blah.
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Re: PinkStinks: campaigning to rethink girl culture

Postby cwbyrvr » Thu Dec 31, 16:50 2009

It seemed like someone would buy me a doll for my birthday and Christmas every year when I was a kid. I never even opened them. I always wanted like, ninja turtles and stuff. I remember wanting ninja turtle underwear but they only made them for boys. My parents eventually caved in and bought me some boys undies so I could have turtles on them. :P

I was never into the typical girl thing when I was a kid and was always irritated at the suggestion that it was weird that I didn't give a shit and that I was a tom boy. I remember being really offended at that term. Fuck that. I was me.

Er, my point is... I like the idea behind this thing. :P
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Re: PinkStinks: campaigning to rethink girl culture

Postby No I'm Not » Thu Dec 31, 23:05 2009

I used to uttery abhor pink because it was 'girly' and I didn't want anything to do with that. I was constantly shuttered into this box where I didnt fit with any social group because I was smart and enjoyed reading and I rode horses and nobody else did that. Eventually I got over hating pink, but I still don't like it. I prefer colors like purple, red, blue and green. I still intensely dislike the social implications of pink, though, I think it's just plain stupid. If I have a kid it'll probably have green or yellow stuff, and it can play with whatever it wants.
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Re: PinkStinks: campaigning to rethink girl culture

Postby The Other Lizard » Fri Jan 1, 20:53 2010

For a gender relations class we read about a pair of new parents who named their kid a gender-neutral name and then sent out birth announcements that deliberately left out the sex of the baby. Apparently most of their friends were totally at a loss as to what gifts to send them.
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Re: PinkStinks: campaigning to rethink girl culture

Postby Mathmo » Sat Jan 2, 5:56 2010

The Other Lizard wrote:For a gender relations class we read about a pair of new parents who named their kid a gender-neutral name and then sent out birth announcements that deliberately left out the sex of the baby. Apparently most of their friends were totally at a loss as to what gifts to send them.


How interesting ... I would've thought it wouldn't be that hard, surely? A rattle (that's not pink or blue)? One of those fabric books that's safe for babies to chew on or whatever? And there's lots of baby clothing that I've come across that isn't gendered (e.g. gorgeous white sleepsuit with teddy bear ears ... okay so white isn't practical, but presents often aren't practical). Or something awesome like this: http://jelly-tots-kids.com/images/white_cat.jpg

Although I have to say that I'd be pretty surprised and possibly slightly worried if I got a birth announcement that left out the sex of the baby - well, either I'd think that they'd worded the announcement whilst half-asleep (totally understandable) or I'd wonder if there was something wrong ... ?
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Re: PinkStinks: campaigning to rethink girl culture

Postby lillerina » Sat Jan 2, 6:43 2010

I think most babies look lovely in pale yellow and it's not a very gendered colour. A lot of baby clothes here have animals or teddy bears on them, so you get clothing with giraffes or teddies which is pale brown and white or cream.

Really, though, babies look like babies. Until the age of about twelve or thirteen, actually, I think most kids could be dressed as boys or girls and nobody would think the kid was cross dressing. It's the trappings - clothing, hairstyles - that make babies and children look gendered before puberty. If you're not going to get your knickers in a twist when people say 'oh what a pretty little girl' about your son, or 'what a lovely little boy' about your daughter then there's no reason not to dress your baby in a gender-neutral way, and once the child is old enough to have preferences, then the child can be dressed how xie is comfortable. I know that as young as 9 or 10 months old, I would not stay in trousers, I would take off my clothes if I wasn't in a dress or skirt. I managed to turn into a woman who is good at maths and detests shopping (although I still prefer skirts).

If I was giving a gift to a baby, I would make it. A stuffed bunny or elephant is suitable for any baby, or bootees and scratch mittens can be white because they're less likely to get puked on than an outfit.
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Re: PinkStinks: campaigning to rethink girl culture

Postby SakuraSong » Sun Jan 3, 0:14 2010

Mathmo wrote:
The Other Lizard wrote:For a gender relations class we read about a pair of new parents who named their kid a gender-neutral name and then sent out birth announcements that deliberately left out the sex of the baby. Apparently most of their friends were totally at a loss as to what gifts to send them.


How interesting ... I would've thought it wouldn't be that hard, surely? A rattle (that's not pink or blue)? One of those fabric books that's safe for babies to chew on or whatever? And there's lots of baby clothing that I've come across that isn't gendered (e.g. gorgeous white sleepsuit with teddy bear ears ... okay so white isn't practical, but presents often aren't practical). Or something awesome like this: http://jelly-tots-kids.com/images/white_cat.jpg


Yeah, knowing the gender of the baby makes it easier but not by that much, surely? I'd just send over a baby rocking chair or something. IN BROWN. Because, you know, brown can totally be a baby color too. Pastel brown. Mmm.

I would love to see a commercial where a man's eating chocolate, all sensual like.
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Re: PinkStinks: campaigning to rethink girl culture

Postby Neko » Sun Jan 3, 0:50 2010

SakuraSong wrote:IN BROWN. Because, you know, brown can totally be a baby color too. Pastel brown. Mmm.

It hides stains well.

It really does. Sean's nephew is still less than a year old and there are sooo many stains on their white/cream colored carpet from him spitting up. But any of the furniture or his baby clothes that are brown make them almost non-existent.
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Re: PinkStinks: campaigning to rethink girl culture

Postby Enigma » Sun Jan 3, 13:19 2010

This stuff drives me nuts. When you go into a baby store these days there's a big line down the middle between the genders. Where are the non-gendered baby clothes exactly? I'm actually nearly as bothered by some of the boy stuff as the girl stuff though. I would not want my male baby to wear camo or monster truck patterns. Then again I'm also the parent who would avoid buying fake guns and that sort of thing as much or more then I'd avoid fake makeup or princess things.

When I was a kid I loved barbies and often that involved the pink thing but I also remember really getting excited when I got this barbie http://www.faroutthings.com/xcart/images/P/24__orig.jpg not because of her wheelchair but because she dressed like a normal person. Maybe if the marketers gave kids a bit more credit they'd buy a bit more normal person and a bit less pink mini skirt?
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Re: PinkStinks: campaigning to rethink girl culture

Postby SakuraSong » Mon Jan 4, 4:53 2010

Neko wrote:It hides stains well.

It really does. Sean's nephew is still less than a year old and there are sooo many stains on their white/cream colored carpet from him spitting up. But any of the furniture or his baby clothes that are brown make them almost non-existent.


Yay practicality! Now I hope that's going to stick in my head for a bit until I have a baby, so I don't make the mistake of buying him anything lighter than color puke.

Egnima wrote:This stuff drives me nuts. When you go into a baby store these days there's a big line down the middle between the genders. Where are the non-gendered baby clothes exactly? I'm actually nearly as bothered by some of the boy stuff as the girl stuff though. I would not want my male baby to wear camo or monster truck patterns. Then again I'm also the parent who would avoid buying fake guns and that sort of thing as much or more then I'd avoid fake makeup or princess things.


<generalizing>
I don't think parents (or people in general) give much of a thought to the effects of products on a baby's growth and development, most just go "Oh, that's a nice color for a girl" and they buy it. And of course, stores accommodate busy parents by sectioning, and what's a better way of sectioning than by gender? I don't think most would really consider their baby "genderless", there's a really small amount of the human populace that even cares one way or the other. It's the "Whatever makes my tot happy in the least amount of time possible" mentality, and apparent, what really makes guy tots happy is a facsimile of war, or housekeeping for the little girls.

(Actually, my dream in life as an elementary schooler was to own at least one Barbie doll or a nice baking set, but all we could really afford was...secondhand books. Kinda glad it turned out that way, but it always amazes me to know that a doll nowadays cost 7 dollars.)
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Re: PinkStinks: campaigning to rethink girl culture

Postby Pyro Chick » Mon Jan 4, 10:21 2010

I don't really understand why parents (mostly mothers) get so offended when people mistake the gender of the baby. It's a baby! They barely have any hair, their facial features aren't fully developed, and they can't talk! Who cares! I feel like that's why a lot of people dress their baby in full out pink or blue. They're so afraid someone will mistake their gender.
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Re: PinkStinks: campaigning to rethink girl culture

Postby rowan » Tue Jan 5, 9:10 2010

SakuraSong wrote:I would love to see a commercial where a man's eating chocolate, all sensual like.

Why do these not exist? Obviously only women eat chocolate, and this would much more appeal to women*...

*eyes next room* Hmmm....
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I am highly in favor of colors that hide stains. Why on earth all baby clothes (including the "gender neutral" colors) come in pastel is beyond me. Give me a nice bright red or a dark blue any day, thank you very much.

*or at least me...
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