Debate Magazine

Making Girls Wear Pink is WRONG: Education Expert Says Colour-coding Children by Gender is Damaging

By Eowyn @DrEowyn
Harmed for life...

Harmed for life…

Daily Mail: Making girls wear pink is wrong and could harm their future, an education expert has warned.

Hannah Webster, a spokesman for a private school’s organization, said the idea of having blue for a boy and pink for a girl is “pernicious” because it leads them towards certain roles regardless of their real identities.

She said: “There will be those who say that pink and blue color coding does not matter - that it is just a fact that boys like blue and girls like pink. They are wrong.”

She added: “If we designate a particular color to a gender, it leads us to designate all manner of other things by gender too. The result is girls and boys read different kinds of books, play with different kinds of toys, study different subjects, consider different occupations, have different roles within the workplace and family and are ultimately valued differently by society.”

“What is pernicious about this is that everyone is then attributed with roles and characteristics regardless of their individual identities and talents. And this then occurs before a child is even born.

Writing in the magazine Attain, produced by the Independent Association of Prep Schools, she writes that, at the time of the First World War, the colours were reversed.

According to a 1918 edition of Ladies’ Home Journal, the rule at the time was pink for the boy and blue for the girl. Blue was considered a softer color which was prettier for girls, and also the color in which the Virgin Mary was often depicted.

Ms. Webster, the association’s communications manager, wrote: “Most of us want a society in which people are judged according to their whole identities rather than just their gender.

“We can  only have a hope of this if we stop presuming an array of character traits – starting on the basis of color preference – go hand in hand with a person’s biological sex.”

The destructive blue shirt...

The destructive blue shirt…

Ms. Webster spoke out after the parents’ group Let Toys Be Toys launched a campaign to remove “boys and girls” signs in shops.

Marks & Spencer and Toys R Us are among those who have already pledged to make its toys “gender neutral”.

As previously reported in MailOnline, Let Toys Be Toys was set up by a group of British parents in November 2012, calling for a change in the way toys are marketed to boys and girls.

They had noticed girls were increasingly being encouraged to play with dolls, prams and kitchens – all inevitably in pink colours - while toys deemed to be for boys were cars, buns and sports-related.

One of the campaign’s founders, Tricia Lowther, 44, a self-employed copywriter from Durham, who has a six-year-old daughter, told the MailOnline: “It does bother a lot of parents, we seem to have tapped in to a huge and growing sense of frustration with the way toys are promoted according to outdated, illogical and sexist stereotypes.”

I can’t speak for any of the others but what pushed me to make a stand was the realization, after my daughter was born, that gender stereotyping in children’s products had become worse than when I was a child myself back in the Seventies. It’s something that has become almost impossible to escape and is very limiting for children.”

A similar Let Books Be Books project, calling for reading material not to be marked as “for boys” or “for girls” is backed by children’s laureate Malorie Blackman, poet laureate Carol Ann Duffy and the author Philip Pullman.

Here’s a concept: Why don’t parents just expose their children to an array of toys, books, and other things in life? This girl played with Barbies and Matchbox cars, played baseball in the cul-de-sac, and my dad even taught me to shoot.

Try breaking into my home...

This girl was encouraged to shoot!

The genders are different yet can enjoy the same experiences, or not. It’s up to the parents to do their job and actually parent, instead of worrying about how toy companies are responsible for limiting your child’s growth.


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