Not Dressing a Girl in Pink Promotes Gender Stereotypes

I sometimes dress our baby in pink. And she’s a girl. According to some far left liberals, I’m promoting gender stereotypes and I’m probably a bad dad for dressing a girl in pink.

Some minister via the Independent even went as far to say “dressing your daughter in pink and buying her ‘girly’ toys damages the future of our economy.”

Before I carry on with this post, I will admit that I am being slightly facetious with this. I have my tongue in my cheek and there’s a part of me that’s just playing devil’s advocate. So chill out. I just like looking at things with a little bit of perspective. It’s actually good for you.

Not Dressing a Girl in Pink Actually Promotes Gender Stereotypes

Some people might argue that you shouldn’t really dress a girl in pink as it reinforces gender stereotypes. They argue that pink is in fact a girls colour. By dressing them in pink you’re pushing them down the path of being pigeonholed into ‘female’ roles.

I tend to think a little bit differently. By not dressing a girl in pink you’re actually acknowledging the fact that it’s a girls colour. You’re literally reverse-reinforcing gender stereotypes by avoiding it. Whereas if you didn’t care what colour the baby was wearing, you’d be accepting of that fact that colours are just colours, and it doesn’t matter what one you wear.

I will admit that retailers need to do a little more, especially when it comes to newborns. It’s either pink, blue or some ‘gender neutral’ grey. And not a lot else. Can’t we have loads of colours? It isn’t that hard.

I Don’t Care What Colour She Dresses In

Honestly. I don’t care what colour the clothes are that Isabelle wears. If we want to put her in a pink, sparkly, frilly dress with ‘I’m a Princess’ plastered across the front then we’ll do just that. Does it promote some weird gender stereotype that she should be pretty and act like a princess? No. It merely means that the clothes are pink and it has some arbitrary writing across the front. And that’s it.

I get that you shouldn’t dress a girl in pink ALL the time. But you shouldn’t dress them in any colour all the time. Don’t be afraid to mix it up. If they wear pink, then they wear pink. Who really cares? I don’t even care and for some reason I’m writing this post. Is there really anything wrong with this?

Our baby girl in pink for an Easter themed photo shoot

I’ve dressed my daughter in pink. And?

That’s a pink, frilly dress. I don’t immediately look at this and see a girly pink dress. I see a happy baby who just so happens to be wearing pink. Is there really anything wrong with that? The answer you’re looking for there is no. At least to me.

I understand it if someone’s concern is over doing it. And always dressing girls in pink. Which of course we don’t. Isabelle could just as easily be wearing something extremely silly like this:

Our girl in pink. Well, a pink headband around the waist of an orange top

This one’s a little weird, but there’s still a little pink thrown in

And people might argue that I should be encouraging Isabelle to wear this sort of thing, and avoid the pink dress. But to me there’s nothing wrong with having a mix. I’m not avoiding a colour just because it plays into some gender stereotype. What’s really wrong with pink? If you want to say that girls should be able to wear what they want then that includes wearing something that’s pink.

If it ends up being her favourite colour and she wants a pink room then that’s fine. She can have a pink room.

Being Aware of Gender Stereotypes as Isabelle Gets Older

Look, I’m not an idiot. I’m not going to force Isabelle to be a pretty princess and do ‘girly’ things all the time. I actually really hopes she gets into jiu-jitsu or some other martial art as I really love watching the UFC. If she wants to play football, play in the mud or be a mechanic, then that’s fine too. But do you see what I did there? I essentially acknowledged those things are things that boys do. And people do it all the time.

There’s even the This Is Me campaign via the Welsh Government website. They literally say “From a man working as a midwife to a woman working as a mechanic, or a young boy wearing makeup to a young girl playing in the mud with her truck” as part of their campaign.

Doesn’t mentioning these things as people breaking gender stereotypes just reinforce the fact that they’re doing something largely attributed to the opposite sex?

Of course, I might be talking shit on this one. I totally get that. It might be a good thing that they’re doing this campaign. Maybe I understand more than enough about gender roles, stereotypes and sexism for it to be of no concern to me. But for others it might give them the confidence to go out and do what they want since they’re seeing other doing it. I’m merely playing devil’s advocate on this one and suggesting that it actually reinforces what is considered a ‘boy’ thing and a ‘girl’ thing.

Gender Stereotypes Can Be Harmful

Gender stereotypes can be incredibly harmful to either gender. All I want for Isabelle when she grows up is to understand that she can do whatever she wants. Within reason of course. I don’t want to force her into doing something because it goes against traditional female gender stereotypes and makes me look like a cool liberal father. There are some dickheads out there who actually get off on the fact that their child goes against gender norms.

Should I avoid ballet class purely because it’s seen as a ‘girls’ thing to do? Of course not. And I’m not going to stop her playing with a doll or a play kitchen set because it’s seen as ‘girly’ either. That would be moronic. And also technically sexist.

I guess my whole point in all of this is for people to chill out a little. Dressing a girl in pink isn’t going to ruin the economy, stop her from pursing what she wants or help fuel a bullshit, false gender pay gap. There are far bigger things out there that can do that.

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Ross

I’m a 26 year old married father of one. I started blogging after suffering postnatal depression when Isabelle was born. These days I talk about much more than just that.

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2 Comments

  1. 11th April 2018 / 7:23 am

    I completely agree! I do think that people have got a little bit carried away with this recently. That’s not to say I can’t see why the debate began, but I certainly don’t think we should start being overbearing in the opposite way. (‘You don’t want the truck son, have the barbie doll!)

    Surely just letting your child make their own decisions as they grow is enough. Let them favour whichever colours they like, let them choose whichever toys they fancy, and encourage them in activities they enjoy. No need to push, either way. I would say that’s the best way to counter gender stereotypes. Just don’t highlight them, either in the traditional sense or the reverse sense.

    • Ross Hunt
      Author
      13th April 2018 / 6:37 pm

      It’s like you have to overthink every single action a child does. You have to be aware of sexism, racism, and every other thing in the world when the child simply wants to play with a truck.

      I’m all up for being aware of things and making sure we don’t say the wrong things. But people do sometimes take it too far.

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