Wednesday, 26 June 2013

I'm just going to say it, I like pink

And so does my daughter. My son? Meh, he's not so fussed but if he did like it, I wouldn't stop him wearing it.

I started this post way back in March and have been toing and froing on it since then, but reading this post this morning finally kicked started me into finishing it off.

Yes when I had a newborn baby girl I bought her pink clothes. Why? Mainly just because I liked them and I didn't really consider that there might be reason not to. Of course, I didn't just buy her pink clothes but a proportionate amount of her clothes were various shades of pink. 

To me, pink is just another colour. Like purple, or green. I know people will say that it's not really about the colour, it's what that colour represents and the possible damage I am doing to my child but I'm not overly worried about that. I don't believe that by buying her some gender-specific Lego (which she absolutely adores by the way) or a Disney Princess dress that I'm creating a monster. Aside from playing with Barbie dolls (which my son also plays with) she also loves the outdoors & exploring, she has a great interest in history, she likes to play Hot Wheels and Skylanders - she's not purely interested in girly toys. Maybe she does like pink because she's been "told" to like it however as a young child, it's not really the right time to be explaining why she shouldn't like pink, or why there are negative connotations attached to it. Neither will she care.  

I read a news article around the time I started writing this post about how woman were upset that workout clothes were all pink and girly and that it was insulting and demeaning  I'm not upset about a pink t-shirt, in fact I actively seek them out. I happen to think that bright, fucsia pink suits me. I like that it makes me feel brighter and happier.  Also a quick look at an online store selling womens fitness wear and it's apparent that pink is not the only colour - sure it's  out there, but there's also as much blue, black and grey available if that's what tickles your fancy.

The thing that really gets me about stereotyping is not that we have "girls toys" and "boys toys". It's not that there are pink t-shirts out there with the word "princess" emblazoned on them. I get irked that there is a whole section of people that won't allow their children to play with gender-specific toys or wear pink. In my mind, and maybe it's wrong, but I feel that's equally as damaging. You're still dictating to them and not allowing them choice, in fact you're actually taking a choice away from them.  Rather than telling our daughters we shouldn't choose pink we need to find a way of changing what it represents. Take back pink!

I know I should probably care more, but I deep down I struggle to get upset about pink. The problem with society and pink is far bigger than I can ever influence and the day-to-day issues with my family are more important. To me, that bright pink sequinned top my 7yr old loves is just that - an item of clothing she likes. She also likes blue ones, and yellow ones, and purple ones. When my daughter asks for sparkly nail polish for the school disco - I happily oblige and paint her nails. At her age she already has many insecurities and now is not the time for striking out and being different. Now is a time when she wants to fit in with her peers. I'm sure people will disagree with that however there's plenty of time for me to talk to her about being individual and unique but at just turned 7 years of age, when she purely likes the way the light shines on the glitter on her nails, I don't feel it's the time.  There will be a time when I need to discuss respect and body image but it won't be because I'm upset over a toy pink car. There are bigger things at stake, and wearing pink is the least of my concerns.

I don't feel less of a strong independent woman because I paint my toenails pink or carry a pink handbag and once saw an opinion that when you pay so much attention to your own appearance it affects everyone but is that a reason to stop caring about the way you look? My decision to wear make-up to the gym if I want to is just that - my decision, I like to look my best in public, is that such a terrible thing? Why should I not buy pink trainers if I like them?  (Moot point, clearly I don't go to the gym or wear trainers - I'm too busy tottering about in my pink heels).

I agree that there is a social-consensus that if you're female you should like pink and that girls are introduced to pink before they've even made it out of the womb but there's so much negativity around the colour these days it's almost become a taboo to say you like it.  I once read that it's fine to have fun with femininity but it should be optional. Surely feminism is all about having choices? There is a whole lot of choice out there - a world away from pink and it's easy to find if you open your eyes.

So I am going to say it.

Sometimes, people just like pink.

PS In my opinion it's not just the pink clothes and toys we should be worrying about, it's everything else our daughters are going to be exposed to. If you haven't seen it, watch the Dove Onslaught video. Food for thought.  


  1. GiddyAuntLola26 June 2013 12:13

    Well said. My big beefy husband is practically the only person in our house to wear pink - he has several pink t shirts and shirts of all shades and the colour suits him. My daughters are not interested in pink clothing, and I have always had a laid back attitude about these things. I think it helps to let your kids choose the clothes that you buy for them.

  2. Gemma Whiteford26 June 2013 15:38

    Well said, it's weird I also wrote a post along these lines. I hate pink as an aside(!)
    But u are right in so much as pink is the least of the problems facing our girls growing up.
    Love your perspective in this post :-D


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