Things that are pink and blue

Um, yeah. A bit of a hiatus there while I figured out what I want to do with this blog. But I’m back now, and since it’s December, I want to talk about Christmas shopping. Specifically, Christmas shopping for things for kids.
Stationery Box, Edinburgh, 2/12/07

This is a thing for girls. It says “Ideal for a child‘s room”, but it has a glittery pink stand and a picture of a girl on the packaging.

Poundstretcher, Edinburgh, 1/12/07

This, however, is a thing for boys. It says so right there on the packaging. Which is a shame, because Firstborn would love these toys.

Early Learning Centre, Edinburgh, 2/12/07

These are things for boys and things for girls. The picture’s a bit blurry (sorry), but there are tape recorders and electric keyboards, identical but for colour and decoration (pink with flowers; blue with circle-y things). The packaging on each shows girls and boys respectively; posed almost identically in what is clearly the same set. Look here for a nice clear illustration.

The final proof comes at the checkout, by the way. It might be “Cool Keyboard – blue” on the website, but take it to the cash desk in the shop and I’ll guarantee it comes up as “keyboard boys”. I know because I bought Firstborn this easel once.

Early Learning Centre, Edinburgh, 2/12/07 (2)

This one’s interesting, though: the pink is a “Winter 4 piece outfit” while the blue is a “Boys 5 piece outfit.”

This relates back to the earlier stuff, doesn’t it? Stuff for girls only needs a girl on the packaging or a pink element to be off-limits for boys. But stuff for boys, like the Tonka toys, needs to be explicitly labelled, because “boy” isn’t as untouchable for girls as “girl” is for boys.

[Personal anecdote breakout: while people always assumed Firstborn was a boy when she wasn’t dressed in pink (which she pretty much never was), I never had anyone modify her blue clothes by force. Secondborn, when wearing faux-leopard-print bootees with pink lining, has had total strangers on the bus pull his trousers over the bootee cuffs to hide the pink.]

I’m sure I’ll return to this topic soon. I’m very sure, because I already have more shoddy camera-phone pictures to share.

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6 Responses to Things that are pink and blue

  1. pollyannasunshine says:

    Hooray! So happy to see you blogging again! And ugh, I’ve been shopping and finding the exact same thing. So I guess it’s not just America, eh?

    Tonka is by far the worst–their taglines are “Built for Boyhood” and “After all, boys are built different. Tonka’s got the blueprint.” Talk about the social construction of gender!

  2. […] 9, 2007 in Everyday Life Inspired by Rebel Raising, who I’m hoping will be blogging lots more […]

  3. Paul says:

    I looked at those globes when I was visiting last weekend – and at various other things there, as well – and refused to get any of them.

    I really don’t understand, especially the globe. Maybe they’re teaching boys early on not to look at the map.

  4. Nella says:

    The pink/blue thing has been around for so long that I’m not shocked by it, but as for strangers touching your child and adjusting his clothes? People are very lucky I don’t have children, because I may not be able to resist using violence in cases like that.

  5. […] toys” or “girls toys” – a friend swore off Early Learning Centre forever because of the segregation problem: there are tape recorders and electric keyboards, identical but for colour and decoration (pink […]

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