Young girl rages over pink toys and gendered play-choices

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103 Responses to “Young girl rages over pink toys and gendered play-choices”

  1. Teirhan says:

    creepy, my dad showed this to me before boingboing did.

  2. Michael W. says:

    They carefully ended the video right before Riley set all the pink boxes on fire…with her mind. 

  3. Ninja says:

    Epic win. I want a time machine to go back in time, grow up and marry her.

  4. BambooJackson says:

    Huge smile, on my face after that….Our future is not as grim as it seems….

  5. Samuel Valentine says:

    That lady deserves a high-five. I hope I can encourage the same kind of critical thinking in my children.

    And then tape it.

  6. If you liked that, you’ll love this: http://crimethinc.com/tools/deluxe/gender_24x36.pdf.

  7. millie fink says:

    You go, grrl!!

    The validity of her question becomes especially apparent upon remembering that blue used to be the girl color and pink the boy color.

  8. A. . says:

    Her epistemological breakdown of the dichotomy of sex selection as it relates to corporate decision making can only mean one thing.
    She must guard the time-portal carefully against ninjas bearing gifts.  She is a superhero.

  9. taras says:

    Kids say the funniest things!

  10. fantastic_skullastic says:

    I’m sympathetic to the views she expresses, but I’m surprised no one else seems to be irked by the fact that she just seems to be repeating back stuff she’s been told by her parents. I’d much rather she come to that conclusion herself rather than parrot back her parents’ ideology. But maybe I’m misreading her tone.

    • Do you have kids? Because you may be right, but living with small people every day shows me that they synthesize some remarkable opinions that may sound far too adult for them. My younger one explained to us at breakfast the other day, after something about someone’s appendix bursting came up, that, “When I grow up, I want to go out and collect dead bodies, and cut open their stomachs, so that I can figure out what causes appendixes to burst.”

      • marilove says:

        People REALLY don’t give kids enough credit.  They are far smarter and far more observant than most adults are willing to admit.

        • retepslluerb says:

          So why do they keep buying the pink stuff? 

          • marilove says:

            Look up “institutionalized sexism” and get back to me.  Also, often, the parents and the parents’ peers are the ones that push this sort of stuff onto kids. Do you think the young girl is buying the pink stuff??? No, HER PARENTS ARE. Kids that age don’t have jobs, you know. They don’t tend to make financial decisions.

            Even if a girl would rather have a truck, or a boy a doll, they are often ridiculed or otherwise pushed to get the “gender appropriate” item/color. A boy who wants to wear dresses and play with dolls will almost certainly be ridiculed by his peers, and possibly even his parents. Girls have it a bit better, but not by much, especially as they get older.

            Also, constantly putting things into “girl” and “boy” categories has engrained into our society that there should be such categories.

            Some girls will like pink even if you don’t push it on to them; some girls will hate pink even if you insist they should love it; some boys will like pink even if you try to push them away from it.

            A LOT of it is societal pressures and expectations.  They don’t buy pink stuff in a vacuum, you know. Media and society as a whole has a big say in what consumers decide to buy.

            My niece (almost five) is awesome.  My dad, her grandfather, has primary custody.  He is raising her like he did both me and my sisters:  We can dig the “girly” stuff if we want (I really didn’t growing up), but he also lets us dig the “boy” stuff.  My niece spent all Christmas day in her pink, frilly princess dress, riding around the neighborhood in her new kids Yamaha ATV (blue).  The pink dress was her choice, but so was her desire for a motorized ATV.

            Even she has the tendency to do the “boy” and “girl” thing, even though my dad doesn’t do it much.  Why?  BECAUSE IT IS EVERYWHERE in our society, that’s why.

      • hypnosifl says:

        It does sound like there’s some “coaching” on the video though…at 10 seconds in she says “girls want superheroes AND the boys want superheroes…and the girls want pink stuff…” but then it sounds like she can’t quite bring herself to say “AND the boys want pink stuff” maybe because she doesn’t quite believe it, so she says “and the girls…and the boys…and the boys don’t want pink stuff!” Then immediately the dad says “well, boys want both, but why do you think they do that?” Then she talks just about how companies are tricking girls into buying only pink stuff when they might want superheroes, but the dad again emphasizes that boys might also want “either”, and finally she does say “some boys like superheroes, some boys like princesses”…it doesn’t sound like she would have come up with the idea of boys wanting pink stuff/princesses on her own without the dad pushing this idea.

        • marilove says:

          Is that a bad thing, though?  Because some boys DO want to wear pink stuff or play with princess dolls.  Maybe she just didn’t realize it because our society is SO AGAINST boys liking traditionally “girly” stuff.  So I take it that her dad was just trying to make that point, rather than coaching her.

          Even she knows it at that age that boys who like pink stuff are considered “weird”. That’s sad. It’s a GOOD thing that here dad is trying to teach her otherwise. It’s not a bad thing. The fact that people seem to think it is a bad thing is pretty telling.

          I wonder if people are uncomfortable with her dad *teaching* his daughter that gender-norms are silly, because the idea makes them uncomfortable.

          • hypnosifl says:

            It’s not a bad thing of course, it’s just that if she was coached by her dad on that part then it makes it seem more likely the whole speech involved prior coaching. And this link posted by another commenter, despite the stupid antifeminist agenda, does also give some suggestion of coaching by parents who have a strong prior interest in these issues.

            Kids do come up with plenty of original ideas, but I’ve never really seen a kid that young (what is she, 4-5 maybe?) specifically worry about societal injustices on their own, unless the injustices affect them directly…as long as she personally gets to have all the superhero toys she wants, I have my doubts she would totally independently come up with the idea that this kind of gender-specific marketing is “wrong”…

          • sarahnocal says:

            Parents have prior interests in these issues?  I guarantee you that I fought against girlie stuff as soon as I was aware, well before I was in kindergarten, and being the daughter of a fashion model ( extreme girliness) I certainly didn’t get this awareness from her. As soon as I could play with toys I was told that these things are for girls to play with and those are only for boys.

             And besides, isn’t this all a good thing?

          • hypnosifl says:

             I guarantee you that I fought against girlie stuff as soon as I was aware, well before I was in kindergarten

            Did you fight against girlie stuff in the sense of fighting against having to be personally subjected to it, or did you fight against it in the sense that even if you were allowed to wear/play with whatever you wanted (as is presumably true for the girl in the video) and no one hassled you about it, you still wanted to fight the societal messages telling other girls they should play with this stuff? I could be wrong, but my feeling is that kids at that age are fairly self-centered and don’t tend to worry about societal injustices that have no negative effect on them personally.And besides, isn’t this all a good thing?It’s good that she’s being taught by her parents that these gender stereotypes shouldn’t be taken seriously, but I have some kind of negative aesthetic reaction whenever parents use their kids as public mouthpieces to send a moral/political message they believe in, regardless of whether I agree with the message or not. For that reason this video weirds me out almost as much as if some pro-life parents recorded a video of their kid talking about how it’s wrong for mommies to kill babies while they’re still in their tummies or something. Would your only negative reaction to something like that be to the message itself (assuming you’re not pro-life), the fact that a kid was used to push the message wouldn’t in itself bother you any more than if it was an adult?

          • sarahnocal says:

            I was personally subjected to it. I had an older male cousin who had awesome boy toys and I was constantly told not to play with them, they were taken away from me, that they were for boys, and then I was always given dolls, tea sets, etc.  which I NEVER had any interest in.  I was never given a choice.

            Forced to wear a dress ( when the boys all had pants)was the ultimate insult; no playing or jumping, you had to be a lady when the boys were all having a blast. I definitely threw fits.

            Believe me I was my mothers worst nightmare.

          • Antinous / Moderator says:

            Well, now you can dress her up as Whistler’s mother and make her pretend to crochet all day, every day.

        • Jamie Adam says:

          At five years old, when you were riled, how easy was it for you to articulate your opinions? I understood her to be saying that it’s ridiculous for companies to push social standards on children, and that it’s alright for girls and boys to want superheroes, as well as dolls. No gender pressure, get it?

          • hypnosifl says:

            Well I wasn’t criticizing her for being inarticulate, I was just saying I don’t think those ideas were really her own, she was just repeating back the ideas the parents were telling her…she probably does really like playing with certain “boy toys” like superheroes, but as long as she gets to do this I doubt she would worry about the injustice of other kids being pressured by companies (particularly the issue of boys being pressured not to be into princesses and pink things, which didn’t seem to be on her radar until the dad kept emphasizing it), or that she even has any idea of what a “company” is or why they would want to put that kind of pressure on kids. Kids that age don’t care much about injustice unless it gets in the way of their personal desires in my experience, and to the extent they might sometimes complain on their own if someone else was being treated unfairly, I think it would always be someone in their immediate experience who they’d seen being treated unfairly, not abstract classes of people in society at large.

        • A Viescas says:

          (replying to comment downthread because disqus doesn’t let me reply directly somehow)
          As long as she personally gets to have all the superhero toys she wants, I have my doubts she would totally independently come up with the idea that this kind of gender-specific marketing is “wrong”… 

          Actually, I think you’ve already figured out how she’s internalized this idea on her own in your other comment…

          Did you fight against girlie stuff in the sense of fighting against having to be personally subjected to it, or did you fight against it in the sense that even if you were allowed to wear/play with whatever you wanted (as is presumably true for the girl in the video) and no one hassled you about it, you still wanted to fight the societal messages telling other girls they should play with this stuff? 

          I’d bet money that even if she, personally, is raised with an egalitarian selection of toys she has gotten flak for it–possibly from other kids, but more likely from adults who don’t realize that kids pick up ostracism fast. 

          And no kid likes to be a freak, so you’re left with two choices: bow down or stand up. 

          I know because I was there once. Fortunately for me, my parents told me it was okay to stand up, and I’m glad hers seem to have come to a similar conclusion.

        • Pteryxx says:

          Actually replying to this:

          Did you fight against girlie stuff in the sense of fighting against having to be personally subjected to it, or did you fight against it in the sense that even if you were allowed to wear/play with whatever you wanted (as is presumably true for the girl in the video) and no one hassled you about it, you still wanted to fight the societal messages telling other girls they should play with this stuff?

          When I was in first grade (therefore, I would’ve been about 7) I demanded to know why the teachers wouldn’t allow me to invite the girls to play football.  I told them it was stupid to have “boy games” and “girl games” and we should be able to play together.  In scouts-equivalent, we had uniforms where the girls had to wear skirts, and their skirt-lengths were checked for decency when they sat or knelt down.  I proposed that if decency was such a big deal, they could let the girls wear pants UNDER the skirts and then they could sit or play or climb however they wanted to.  I specifically recall speaking up when the whole class was made to wait because one girl’s skirt didn’t quite cover her knees; I said lunch was more important than skirt length. 

          So, some few of us DO exist who complained about gender-based unfairness on behalf of other kids, not just for our own benefit.  (I spent a lot of time in detention.)

      • fantastic_skullastic says:

        Actually, it’s because I’ve spent time with kids that my ideology detectors are going off. I’ve had similar conversations with kids (although to be fair most of them were around 8 or 9), where I didn’t feel like they were just repeating stuff their parents said. I’m mostly thrown by the line “The companies who make these try to trick the girls into buying the pink stuff instead of stuff boys want to buy, right?” That doesn’t sound like a line she came up with on her own.

      • oasisob1 says:

        You did let her know the appendix isn’t IN the stomach, right? Also that graverobbing is frowned upon…

    • pipenta says:

      Maybe she is repeating what her parents say, maybe she isn’t. Maybe they have heard her riffing on this before and have supported it, so she is repeating it. 

      But honey, believe you me, there are plenty of little girls out there who feel EXACTLY like this, who say things EXACTLY like this. I’m in my mid fifties now, and back when I was this age, I was furious about gendered toys and back then, marketing wasn’t half so relentless.

      I can remember, very clearly, sitting on Santa’s lap and asking him for a robot. And Santa said “Don’t you want a nice doll instead?” I insisted that I wanted a robot. Didn’t matter. Neither Santa nor my parents thought I should have a robot. I got dolls. My Aunt gave me a baby doll for Christmas one year and I, very politely for a three year old, told her that I did not play with dolls, did not care for them. I was escorted from the room, paddled, and then tearfully thanked her for the doll. I never touched said doll again. The fashion dolls I got in subsequent years, I dismembered. 

      I sure as hell was not encouraged to criticize the gendering of toys. My parents were extremely sexist. Years later, when the Brio train set I had gotten my son proved popular with his cousins, my mother bought one for her twin granddaughters. But she got the Thomas the Tank Engine version. You know the one in which the anthropomorphic vehicles that can move under their own power are male, and the females are coaches that must be pulled by a male? (And yeah, yeah, yeah, I know they later remediated this. But it took years and pardon me if I don’t have the warm fuzzies for this particular franchise. A fundamentalist has more love for the Teletubbies than this old gal has for those creepy little trains.)

      I pointed the fact that the females were towed to my mother, and she stonewalled and it shocked me how blatant her sexism was. I don’t know why it did. But it is horrifying to see women impose oppression on young girls. Lifts the hair up on the back of my neck.

      In any event, there are little girls out there who feel this way without coaching, without support, even in the face of being punished for it. I was like that myself and I had a business for some years in which I saw plenty of parent – child interaction and I saw a lot of little girls struggling very hard against the mold they were being aggressively shoved into by remorseless mothers. I saw sensitive little boys being attacked too, even by sisters. It made me want to go around slapping people, I’ll tell you what.

      But there are a hell of a lot of little girls who “love” pink because they are told they are supposed to love pink. And I don’t hear you complaining about that.

    • Jamie Adam says:

      I’ve been a small person before, and had such rants to my mother about gender issues. Perhaps you’re just regurgitating Disney and their lack of understanding that children aren’t dolts? 

  11. Lobster says:

    D’awww, look what her parents taught her to do.

    • marilove says:

      Kids are smarter than you are giving them credit for.

      • Ambiguity says:

        Kids are smarter than you are giving them credit for.

        Yes, kids are smart and observant, creative and sometimes independent. But they are heavily influenced by those around them, and at that age that is largely their parents. After all, where do you think culture comes from? It’s not magically transmitted from generation to generation.

        And if you think that answer is simply advertising, then you’re not giving kids the credit they deserve.

        • marilove says:

          I actually agree with this.  And I think it’s a VERY good thing that her father is trying to teach her the *right* thing rather than the expected thing.

          • Lobster says:

            And it doesn’t matter if she even knows why it’s right?  Indoctrination is indoctrination, even if it’s to everyone’s benefit.

          • Antinous / Moderator says:

            Indoctrination is indoctrination, even if it’s to everyone’s benefit.

            It’s all indoctrination. All of it. If you want children who aren’t indoctrinated, you have to keep them in a box. Occasionally, some of them, even when little, question which aspects of their indoctrination they’d like to keep and which they’d like to discard.

          • marilove says:

            Are you ignoring the fact that this whole thing started because she, the young girl, noticed the inequality in the toy store?  SHE noticed that everything was separated into “boy” vs “girl”.  Her father just helped to articulate her feelings on the subject matter.

            I’m sure her father is very good at explaining to her WHY it’s right.

      • Lobster says:

        Kids are extremely smart, yes.  They are not wise.  Opinions are more about wisdom than intellect.

    • sarahnocal says:

      Thank God. It’s about time parents saw this insane direction of marketing for children and have made their own kids aware of it. Of all the things parents should be teaching their children, this is one of the most important imo.

  12. The weird part is that the dad sounds nearly exactly like me. Was eerie to listen to.

  13. sarahnocal says:

    Really? People are arguing whether she came up with it herself or she was taught? Does that matter? I don’t care as long as she is AWARE!

    The gender choices given children in America is stifling and actually handicaps them. Teaching that some things are ONLY for boys and others are ONLY for girls makes for deficient adults.
    In fact nothing is ONLY for either.

    Teaching children that they can have and do whatever they want, not only what society deems acceptable.  This gives me hope, because we really haven’t come all that far, baby.

    I can’t believe anyone would argue about this little girls observations. She isn’t really giving an opinion, she is just pointing out what she sees. She has gone into a store and the only items marketed for her are the pink princessy stuff. She is interested in other items but they are marketed for boys; in the “boy” section, the boxes show only boys playing with the toys, the colors are dark and serious because, you know, they will become important men. The girls are directed to the frilly pink fufu items.
    Just go into a toy store yourself, you will come to the exact same conclusions based on your own observations.
    She is just a reporter.

    • marilove says:

      THANK YOU.

    • marilove says:

      Not to mention that humans, especially child-humans, must LEARN things before they can come up with their own opinions.  It’s not like we just come up with them out of the blue.  You gotta be taught first!

      • Felton / Moderator says:

        She was “coached” to question gender norms before others “coached” her not to.  I see no problem with that.

        • marilove says:

          Thank you for this.  People here seem to be okay with the “boy stuff” and “girl stuff” norm, but seem highly uncomfortable when that is questioned.  That is part of the problem!

        • JohnBerry says:

          I liked your whole statement so much it deserves words rather than just clicking “Like”.

    • Ambiguity says:

      Really? People are arguing whether she came up with it herself or she was taught? Does that matter?

      Yes, I think it does matter. It comes down to independent thinking vs. submission to authority.

      At her age authority plays a big role, and that’s OK. But it is slightly troubling when people mistake saying the right things for independence, at any age.

      • marilove says:

        It really, really seems to me that she actually started this on her own, when she realized the toy store is very “girl” and “boy” separated, and then her dad just helped her to expand her point.  She came up with this on her own, but her dad helped her put it into words, and used it as an opportunity to teach.

        • Lobster says:

          Are you going to tell us why it seems that way to you?  Or are you just going to thank people who agree with you?

        • Ambiguity says:

          It really, really seems to me that she actually started this on her own…

          I guess it’s possible. The journey from dependent being to independent being is different for everyone.

          I don’t know if you’re a parent, but being one is always a bit strange. Kids will always surprise you with bizarre admixtures of absolute acceptance and out-of-nowhere perspectives, often within the same sentence!

      • sarahnocal says:

        Unless someone was raised by wolves, there is no such thing as “independent thinking”

        • Ambiguity says:

          Not in any absolute sense perhaps, but like everything else in the universe, it helps to see the shades of grey. Things are black and white only to ideologues.

    • fantastic_skullastic says:

      I think you’re creating a straw man in this post. Other than the clearly astroturfed user above, I haven’t seen anyone here argue that the way toys are marketed to boy and girls isn’t fucked up. What we’re discussing is whether or not this kid is just parroting what she’s been told. It’s a separate issue, but it is important.

      • millie fink says:

         It’s a separate issue, but it is important.  

        And you think it’s important because . . . ?

        • fantastic_skullastic says:

          You seriously don’t think it’s important whether or not people are thinking critically?

          • millie fink says:

            You seriously think she’s merely parroting what a parent coached her to say? And is still too young to have a thinking capacity of her own? Listen to how her (apparent) father talks to her. He’s clearly the type of parent who talks WITH his child, not AT her. 

            And even if he and/or her mother have told this child what she says in the video, she has to “think critically” to compare and contrast that view with what society in general, in thousands of ways, is also telling her about gender.

            I agree with what marilove has written repeatedly here — kids deserve more credit for figuring things out and being able to see what’s going on than we tend to give them credit for.

          • fantastic_skullastic says:

            millie, I never said she was too young to have thinking capacity of her own. In fact, I think coaching her implies one wouldn’t think she has a thinking capacity of her own.

            “He’s clearly the type of parent who talks WITH his child, not AT her.”

            I don’t think it’s that clear. It sounds to me more like he’s quizzing her about stuff they’ve already discussed. But without knowing more about the context, that’s conjecture.

            “even if he and/or her mother have told this child what she says in the
            video, she has to “think critically” to compare and contrast that view”

            If a family holds a minority view, it doesn’t necessarily follow that people who grow up with that view are thinking critically. If that were the case, you wouldn’t have isolated families of religious zealots.

          • Antinous / Moderator says:

            You seriously don’t think it’s important whether or not people are thinking critically?

            You’re just trolling now. And repeating yourself. If you don’t have anything new to say, maybe you could catch up on your after-Christmas toy shopping.

      • Antinous / Moderator says:

        I think you’re creating a straw man in this post….What we’re discussing is whether or not this kid is just parroting what she’s been told.

        That’s also what the person that you’re accusing of creating a straw man is discussing: just parroting what she’s been told by everyone on the whole planet except maybe her parents.

        • fantastic_skullastic says:

          If you’re looking for someone to defend traditional gender roles or the evils of advertising to children, you’re talking to the wrong person. And since this discussion doesn’t seem to be going anywhere, I think I’ll take you up on that after-xmas toy shopping.

  14. UncaScrooge says:

    When I was a kid, I used to rant and rave about how adults used the word “childish” as an insult.  I was also deeply offended by ad copy in the paper every September that said “BAK TU SKOOLL!”  I was unable to bring adults around to my point of view.

    Kids are perfectly capable of perceiving injustices, however seemingly insignificant, and then ranting at length about it.  Every now and then, some “adult” thinks it’s cute, but can’t let the kid speak without butting in with their “adult” opinions.

  15. Jo Paoletti says:

    At this age, much of what kids do is “parrot” ideas, words and cultural patterns they experience. So, yes, the little girl has probably heard some of this in other conversations. But “princess girls” are also repeating what they have heard and seen. It doesn’t necessary follow that what they are repeating is meaningless or superficial. Think of it as “rehearsing”.

    For the serious “pink and blue” nerds, I actually blog* write! about this. 

    *http://pinkisforboys.org

  16. firefly the great says:

    Kids say smart things, sure. But they usually don’t naturally say smart things that hit the exact political sweet spot of ALL the blogs I’ve seen this at, and do so ON VIDEO, unless they’re more or less reciting a script.

    Is there something wrong with that? Not necessarily. Her parents are teaching her good lessons, whether she fully understands them or not. I don’t intend to insult them.

    I just the credulity of people who share this video as if it were reality is kind of laughable.

    Take a step back for a second. This is reality television, and reality television isn’t reality, because reality doesn’t have us surrounded by video cameras 24/7.

    • sarahnocal says:

      “because reality doesn’t have us surrounded by video cameras 24/7.”

      HA HA HA HAHAHAH!!!!

      Welcome to 2011 time traveller!

    • Antinous / Moderator says:

      I just the credulity of people who share this video as if it were reality is kind of laughable.

      And people who think that everything that they see is fake make me want to weep.

      • blurgh says:

        “I just the credulity of people who share this video as if it were reality is kind of laughable.”

        “And people who think that everything that they see is fake make me want to weep.”

        And people who seamlessly switch from a specific example to a straw-man generalisation make me weep. No, hang on, that’s onions.

  17. Julian Fine says:

    Every time one of these conversations comes up, I’m always amused that people will get up in arms about parents forcing their ideology on to their children, while acting as if advertising somehow isn’t.

    • fantastic_skullastic says:

      And I’m amused when people create straw men to argue against. Of course advertising forces ideology onto people. The question is, are you going to combat it with more ideology? Or teach people to think critically?

      • DrunkenOrangetree says:

        Where’s the ideology being forced on this girl? As near I can tell she has parents who listen to her, and engage with her as though she were an intelligent human being.

  18. D Wyatt says:

    Great video.  Its good to know there are critical thinkers left in the world today, maybe in 200 years they can scrape this world back together and figure out what went wrong…

    )Sarcasm*( or is it reality?
    Obviously she is a toy terrorist and should be carted off to unknown countries for an unknown amount of time.-
    Clearly she is speaking her mind against an establishment, or company and her opinion, video and all material should be immediately taken down as to not ruin the “reputation” of said company.
    This sort of free thinking is not allowed in communist america, she should be wrongfully jailed for a few months, treated like a criminal, and then found not guilty.(see california)
     Her opinion, while correct, doesnt matter and cannot be displayed in a public location, pepper spray, assault, detain, and charge her with nothing.
    Reality has no place in political correctness, therefor it is null and void.
    Girls buying pink, Boys buying blue, everyone do what you’re told to do!!  Or else.

  19. jennybean42 says:

    My son was barely two and half years old when we went to a  store just before Christmas and he looked at me and said, “mommy, this is hard. All these things are screaming “buy me! buy me!” 
    This was the perfect opportunity for me to introduce him to marketing at a very young age. That doesn’t mean that I am trying to brainwash him, on the contrary, I am trying to KEEP him from being brainwashed.  One of the most important skills we can teach our kids is to get them to see when someone is trying to sell them something.

    • Julian Fine says:

      How dare you try and indoctrinate your child… or is that teaching him to think critically? I can’t tell without a reference to Bertrand Russel and Jean Piaget.

  20. atimoshenko says:

    Companies market to parents, not to kids. All kids want is to have the same types of toys their friends have.

    Also marketing means trying to figure out what would make people buy the most. If more money could be made by selling the same toys to everyone, that is what would be done.

    • Antinous / Moderator says:

      Companies market to parents, not to kids.

      I invite you to spend Saturday morning watching television. Toys and junk food are marketed directly to children, who then pressure their parents to buy them.

      • atimoshenko says:

        Blue and pink is already done for babies. By the time we’re watching Saturday morning television, a bunch of our preferences and expectations have already began to set.

    • Julian Fine says:

      Companies market to parents through their kids. This isn’t even something they deny. It’s been called pester power and a few other names in different memos and ad designs but the principle is well known: if you spend a bit of money on ads for kids, the kids will advertise to the parents far more persistently for free.

  21. Jeffety says:

    I don’t mind that she picks up on her parents’ ideology – dad seems like a thoughtful guy – but what’s with the anger? Can’t mom and dad explain the world, imperfect as it is, without nurturing hostility?

    • pipenta says:

      Oh, you think hostility has to be nurtured? You think a bright kid can’t look around and see a million reasons to be mad as hell?

  22. vonskippy says:

    No doubt she’s a cutie, but with an attitude like that, I’m guessing she’s an only child.

    • GrrrlRomeo says:

      There’s nothing about her attitude that would suggest she’s an only child. Weird.

    • pipenta says:

      Her attitude is wonderful. This is a great kid. She’s just not a rollover. And she’s not raging at her parents, just at sexism and marketing and stupidity. Perfectly reasonable. 

  23. Stronger indoctrination is needed on this one

  24. Vanessa Carpenter says:

    Try finding a ninja or super hero on girls panties.

  25. pipenta says:

    I adore this kid. Would adopt this kid. And if she wants a toy robot, just tell me where to send it, and I will get one for her.

  26. Aaron Swain says:

    Ha! I’m reading this thread while listening to Diane Rehm’s interview with Peggy Orenstein.

  27. jim smith says:

    What is the image on her t-shirt?

  28. samhandwich says:

    I think it is sick just SICK that this girl’s parents are TEACHING her things.

  29. 32bitkid says:

    I had a similar conversation with my nephew when he was around that age. He wanted to get a play tea set, except they don’t really make tea sets for “boys”. So he looked up at me and said “Pink is a good boy color, right?”… I said “Yes.”

  30. Erin Kraemer says:

    I think it ebbs and flows with a lot of kids. There are ages where they are oblivious to the outside world, and others where they are looking around themselves for the sense of identity. I don’t understand the pink girl thing, but at least for our daughter there seems to be some sort of natural tendency towards it. Pink is just her favorite color, and as a good feminist, I just have to suck it up and deal with the fact that that’s the type of woman she wants to be.

    My husband and I tried really hard to downplay the pink v blue thing. We avoided finding out her gender prior to birth to ensure that her nursery and early gifts were neutral. We bought her a variety of trucks, blocks, dolls, primary-colored toys, etc, etc. And dressed her in blues, greens, browns, and blacks. Sure she would get some girly stuff from family, but those didn’t generally enter the rotation of what we’d pick out for her. But right around her first birthday she started to make her preferences known. When given a selection of three outfits, she would always pick pink/purple/floral.

    Similarly we worked to hide the existence of princesses (particularly Disney princesses) from her, going as far as coaching her grandparents on her love of Lightening McQueen, etc. But at about 3, she caught wind that that world existed through her cousins, and there was no turning back. She was in full-on pink princess mode. So we just decided to roll with it, it was who she wanted to be at the time, and we just kept reminding her that other options are available.

    Now at 5, we’ve achieved more balance, and she’s starting to catch on to these crazy marketing trends and expressing frustration that they don’t match her desires. She still wants the girl superheros (Wonder Woman, Wasp, Firestar, etc.), but knows the names of all of the Avengers and the Justice League. She chooses to watch Star Wars (Episode 6 is her favorite), and loves the Super Hero Squad. The biggest challenge for us is now supplying the cravings of the beast that we created. Thank goodness for Zazzle and their ability to make a pink Princess Leia shirt, but I have spent days hunting the interwebs for Wasp figurines, girly Avengers t-shirts, and all of the things to feed her burgeoning interests in the stuff that seems to be some sort of unholy union of worlds in the eyes of toy makers. When it really shouldn’t be.

    I love the fact that I have a geeky, girly little chic who wants to be a mommy/doctor/ballerina. And I wish it wasn’t so tough to help her find the middle ground.

  31. Sean McKibbon says:

    Just try to buy a Lego set with a girl character in it. Almost all boy minifigs. Very frustrating. My three-year-old daughter has raged almost exact the same way about how “girls like boy toys too” without any coaching from me or her mother.

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