The other day we were shopping and I asked our 4 year old what bubble bath he wanted. I showed him two bottles. “The pink one is for girls”, he said. I agreed with him, but didn’t say anything because pink is for girls, as we walked towards the feminine product to purchase tampons for my wife.
Then on the way home we saw a bus that was wrapped in pink for an advertiser. “That’s a pink bus, just for girls”, he said. I corrected him and said that the bus was just pink, but that boys were almost certainly on the bus with some girls.
My inner guilt kicked in. I had visions of parents who are raising their genderless children pointing their fingers at me and shouting ‘YOU ARE THE PROBLEM’. Their mouths open, but their lips wouldn’t be moving in a Donald Sutherland way from Invasion of the Body Snatchers.
When we got home I looked at the empty bubble bath bottles and they were all white. Not only was I raising my son to be sexist, he was also well on his way to being a racist. That’s it; we’re going to get the blue, black or pink bubble bath next time.
The other day I was at a children’s party and the boys were playing with a pink Big Wheel without a care in the world. They were also playing with some dolls in a plastic house. To reassure them and their budding manhood that it was normal I called the doll an action figure, named him Snake Plissken and proceeded to tell them that Hollywood should never, ever remake this movie.
I love that Legos has play sets aimed at girls. I think it’s totally unnecessary, but I like the fact. I want to see more women architects and LOVE it when young girls play with science toys, Thomas the Train or Hot Wheels. Kids will play with toys. If the toys aren’t perfect then they’ll use their imagination. If they don’t have any toys, then they’ll find a stick, a ball and make up a game.
Growing up, one of the few games I remember playing was something we made up called Star Wars where we’d whack down a Frisbee with a stick before it went into the soccer goal. George Lucas didn’t sell us that game. It was just a bunch of young boys who were pretending that we were Obi-Wan using a light saber training droid. Girls could’ve played it, but there weren’t many in our neighborhood.
I’m OK with the Easy Bake Oven being gray instead of pink; just as long as it still cooks cupcakes. A quick look at the packaging and the gray one is targeted more at boys. The girls in the pink package are laughing and having more fun while the children in the gray package are mildly interested. ‘It’s a rainy day and our parents are making us do this’ it seems to say.
Based on those photos, I’d rather be cooking with the pink one. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.