My friend Helen was so annoyed she was spitting blood, “Pink jenga!
I nodded, agreeing with her completely.
She was in full flow, “What is it about jenga that means you have to make it gender specific? Why on earth can’t girls and boys play with a nice, neutral wood coloured jenga? What is it about toy manufacturers that makes them think everything for girls needs to be pink and everything for boys needs to be blue?”
She had a point. Every time we dare to venture into a toyshop, the girls’ section is a blaze of the most putrid, garish pink. With Barbie dolls teaching them an impossible and dangerous idealised body image to pink jenga, the pressure we put on our daughters to be girly girls is appalling.
It seems that virtually every party my daughter goes to is a princess party when “Princess Doris” invites “Princess Meri” to come along dressed in one of those terrible nylon outfits from the Disney store. Any boys who are unfortunate to be invited are told they must come as Princes or pirates. Not only is the Disney mega-corporate raiding our wallets and pervading our consciousness, it’s princesses promote passive female gender models where Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Rapunzel and Snow White all wait for their Prince to come and save them. Rather than waiting passively for some chinless inbred dummy to trot in, I’d be much happier if Snow White actually shacked up with Grumpy and Happy in a very modern three way love nest. At least they’ve got some character.
None of the women in my household are girly girls. My wife has a very successful career, my mother and mother –in-law are both strong, intelligent, free thinking women. And not an inch of pink in sight.
There is one exception though. Unfortunately, despite our best efforts to shepherd her away from all things pink, there is one member of my family who loves the colour: my four year old daughter.
When we went to the bike shop recently to buy her a first real bike what did she chose? The pinkest one in the shop. Not only that, but the one with the pink basket, the pink seat on the back for her Tigger toy and pink streamers on the handle bars. I was bright pink with shame.
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