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Pink for Girls. Blue for Boys.

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A friend recently posted a link to an article in the Daily Mail about gender sterotyping and the amount of pink toys. It sparked a bit of a debate as you can image. As I have both a boy and girls I think it can be easier to be more subjective, as my children are exposed to both gender toys. HOWEVER if you only had one child or multiple children of the same sex I can imagine there is a gap in toys.

snakes and laddersWhen Moo was a baby we bought him a Fisher Price Little People aeroplane – its very gender neutral white and blue containing both male and female people 6 years on and its still played with daily. BUT I do know that this model is sold by Fisher Price in pink …. yes pink. Actually Fisher Price have a whole range of their most popular toys in pink. Pre-children I used to manage a Day Nursery and my background is in childcare and as much as I rack my brains I can't see what extra learning experiences may occur from a pink aeroplane. The fact here is that Fisher Price have cottoned onto a lucrative business. There are people who will by PINK toys because they have girls. (this isn't just subject to Fisher Price most children's manufacturers do it look at Lego!) For me when shopping for toys – price point will always be my deciding factor, I would NEVER pay extra because something was pink as opposed to unisex.

Because I do have both sexes we do have an abundance of trains, Lego, role play kitchens, dolls, prams, ninja turtles, princesses and army figures and possibly this makes my children lucky. Olive frequently builds structures from Duplo to put Cinderella and TMNT Leonardo in – Megan has been known to climb a tree dressed as an angel – Moo will play tea parties with his sisters for hours, but that's not to say they don't enjoy stereotypical gender play. Moo like nothing more than being Robin Hood with a bow and arrow fighting the “armies”. But they are lucky, lucky that they can experience a wide range of play.

I do FEEL though as a parent there is less social stigma for say Megan to be playing pirates, trains and Lego than it is for Charlie to be playing Sylvanian Families and Vet's (he wants to be a vet but I have found most of the sets appeal more in appearance to girls than boys).

I also strongly dislike the way that toy shops are separated into gender specific areas and one of my huge bug bears has to be “Boys Toys” which are science sets! No wonder L'Oreal has set up their Women In Science Scheme. Ideally I'd like to see toy shops and products made more gender neutral and appealing – less pink – girls don't NEED a pink train to play trains or pink Lego to enjoy . But I do think the biggest change needs to be how we as parents see toys. Toys are designed to enhance your child's learning experience, develop skills and have fun. All our learning from birth to 6years (even in schools) is achieved through the power of play so lets let our children play.

I'd love to hear your thoughts and views – are you a pink princess type of parent? Or do you mix it up? 

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  1. I've been writing my own blogpost about this for weeks - not strictly about toys but on a similar tack. I have a boy and a girl and I really couldn't care less what colour the toys are. I don't think it really matters that my daughters bedroom is full of Barbies and Sylvanian Families, Disney Princesses...she can also quite happily play with a cardboard tube for hours on end or a Nerf gun. I'm not going to say no to buying her a glittery princess dress-up costume that she desperately wants just because I don't want to stereotype. She's 7. She like's it and I don't think she needs to have to worry or think any deeper about it at that age. I like pink, shiny, glittery things myself so I'm probably not best placed to comment!

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  2. Hayley

    As a mum of 4 girls I'm so done with pink. We've never bought pink specifically but I'm always amazed on the girls birthdays at how many princesses and pretty gifts they are given. Play should be open ended and inspirational. Not limiting and stereotypical.

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  3. sarah

    I am a mother of 2 girls and it makes me so angry! When I was younger I played with lego, cars and cardboard boxes. My mum had to sell a dolls pram 'as new' as I hardly used it. My eldest is a bit more into dolls than I was but wants trains and lorries for her 4th birthday. It is just sooo difficult avoiding pink or getting other toys that aren't obviously 'boyish'.

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  4. I have no idea why pink has become synonymous with girls, it certainly hasn't always been the case. And in other cultures pink is in fact a male colour! I have two girls and I have been a little obsessed with not allowing pink to proliferate in our house. It's not the colour pink itself that I object to it it is that there is so much of it. There are hundreds of beautiful colours, why on earth should our children be overwhelmed in a pink tide? Plus, yes I agree gender specific toys are utterly ludicrous and limiting, though I do fully accept that there is, broadly speaking, a gender difference in how children play and what they are interested in I'm pretty sure they can work this out for themselves without toys being aimed at one or the other. Despite having only girls we have loads of lego, my 7 year old has asked for more for her birthday, we have train tracks and hot wheels and robin hood dressing up as well as dolls and pushchairs etc. Actually in the end it is art supplies that are most well used in our house! I can imagine no reason for the current fad for 'girlyfying' certain traditional toys other than money making, I'm afraid consumerism has a lot to answer for. Ha, this subject never fails to make me rant!

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  5. This is a very interesting post indeed! Pink just happens to be my favorite colour and although I have a very pink workroom and even some in my bedroom design as a mummy of both a 3 1/2 year old boy and a newborn girl we have an abundance of unisex coloured toys as I personally believe the play and educational value of a toy is more important than it's colour. As a manufacturer of handmade toys I often get asked to make gender specific toys in terms of their colouring as these tend to be far more popular than my brightly coloured unisex one's x

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  6. I completely agree with your dislike of having "boys" toys and "girls" toys in shops. I only have a daughter and I'd rather not saddle her with baggage about what she "ought" to like. I also find the addition of a pink version of everything faintly ridiculous. What's wrong with good old primary colours? I actively avoid encouraging princess and fairy outfits and toys at home as I don't want to push her that way, but it can be hard when shops insist on them for girls and pirates and cowboys for boys.

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  7. Chelle

    Ooh can of worms opened by Mummy Moo! Summer plays with whatever she's interested in whether its dollies or a work bench which is the way I like it. Although Nanny would prefer she's covered in pink 24/7 and Daddy wishes the work bench would vanish. I reckon he's just worried she'll end up better at diy than him. x

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