Pink science

Most people on this blog are well aware of the historical evidence that pink has not always been for girls, but to add to your bookmarks, here’s Cordelia Fine in New Scientist running through some more of the scientific evidence that gendered toys are a product of socialisation rather than genetics.

two panels - left shows prams, dollhouses, strollers, washers, vacuums etc in red, yellow, blue, white - right panels shows similar toys all in shades of pink

Back in the 70s, ‘girl toys’ weren’t just pink (and weren’t marketed only at girls, either) | source: http://www.lettoysbetoys.org.uk

The big toy companies don’t want boys and girls sharing the same toys rather than having duplicates in different colours. The big clothing companies don’t want boys and girls wearing longlasting clothes as hand-me-downs to each other rather than wearing shoddily made separate clothing lines. It’s ridiculous how successful they’ve been at selling the idea that what helps their bottom line is somehow innate rather than engineered.



Categories: gender & feminism, history, media, parenting, Science

Tags: , , ,

4 replies

  1. The pink pram and cooking stuff really get my goat. We have blue prams and neutral coloured dolls houses, cooking sets etc. The boys happily explore role play with non-pink toys. Every now and again, someone donates a gender-coloured toy. Invariably, the boys refuse to play with it, clearly stating ‘it’s for girls’ and they know it’s bad if they engage.
    Gender coloured toys are often broken quickly and end up in the rubbish bin.
    We need to buy new prams. In order to find ones that are blue/gender neutral, we are going to need to buy from educational suppliers. You add several hundred dollars to the price when you do that.

  2. There are so many other colours apart from pink and blue. Imagine how many strollers toy companies could sell in yellow, or green or purple or orange or red. I’m trying to remember the colour of my toy pram I got when I was two (I have seen photos). I think it was either pale blue or orange. Or there might have been two one for me and one for my brother. Whatever the number and colour we played with them until they fell apart. If they could do that in the 70’s why can we do it now?

  3. There’s something about that particular shade of pink they use for toys too. It’s like fingernails on a blackboard for the eyes…urgh!

  4. Same with clothes for little girls. I used to think of it as a vomit of pink and then go choose stuff for my daughter from the boys section. Until that went all trucks and skulls and dirty browns and khakis.

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