Pink StinksTuesday, November 22, 2011
A confession: I actually quite like pink, if it's a nice pink (hello, blog). I also carried on playing with Barbies for longer than anyone who hopes to have a normal social life reasonably should, only giving up when the potential embarrassment of being found out by my friends was finally greater than the joy I found in making up stories and creating outfits and designing floorplans all over my bedroom carpet with precarious rows of books as walls.
But I also read those books, and rode my bike, and wore green dungarees and red wellies and nobody accused me of not being feminine. I played with Barbie; I didn't aspire to be her.
I don't have a daughter, or any immediate prospect of one, but even I can see that there is something badly wrong with the way in which little girls are targeted and defined by today's media. There's pink, and then there's Pink.
In the sheltered, calm waters of the blogosphere (or at least the corner of it that I frequent), it's tempting to believe that the tide is turning. I see intelligent, stylish parents raising their daughters with respect, imagination and more than one colour of clothing, and I feel some measure of hope for my own hypothetical offspring.
But apparently, the rest of the world is lagging behind a bit. More than a bit, in fact. Just look at this. Ugh, and this. Sigh.
All is not lost, though. I have been following the Pink Stinks campaign on facebook for a while, and I was delighted to see their new website has just launched this week. Their campaigns not only highlight the pinkification (what? It's totally a word) of little girls, but also challenge the underlying stereotypes and blatant sexism that sneaks in behind it. They first caught my attention when they forced Sainsburys to back down over gender stereotyping (they labelled a fancy dress doctor costume "Boy", and a nurse's uniform "Girl". I mean, come on). By the looks of the shiny new Pink Stinks website, they are headed for even bigger things. I defy you to watch the promo video on the front page and stop your jaw from dropping. It's not possible.
Far be it from me to lecture parents on how to raise their children. I'm finding it exhausting enough just trying to keep a dog alive. But not even dogs are safe from this ruthless gender stereotyping. Just look at poor Smidgen:
The Pink is spreading, ladies. WE HAVE TO STOP IT.
1. Doutzen Kroes shot by Karl Lagerfeld (yes, really) for Harper's Bazaar, April 2008. 2. Me, shot by a responsible adult, presumably. 3. Smidgen, shot by me. She loves it really...