Gender Stereotyping – who does it really effect?

It’s been awhile since I felt the need to have a rant on my blog, more than likely too long really, but today something has really irritated me.The issue of Gender Stereotyping comes up all too frequently, but it seems to be a hot topic again at the moment for some reason. The last time I was aware of it was after the uproar over the pink toy cleaning set early last year.

As a mother of two girls, I have always thought that it was a bit stupid that people get so annoyed by the colour pink. I mean they don’t get annoyed by red or blue, yellow or green but as soon as something is pink we are gender stereotyping. Now it just gets me wondering exactly what these people have against pink? It’s a nice enough colour although not something I would tend to wear much preferring a nice shade of purple myself but I know a few people who like it, both men and women.

Some of you will know that Alison is not girly at all. In fact, she revels in the fact that we shop from the boys section. It doesn’t matter whether we are buying underwear (yes she wears boys pants), clothes, swimwear or toys she wants to shop from the boy part of the shop and she is fine with that. In fact so am I. It is so much easier to have things divided by Boys and Girls. It means I know that I click through to the Boys section to buy stuff for Alison and the Girls section to buy stuff for Elizabeth. It makes the whole shopping experience easier. Obviously there are the occasional crossovers, Alison sometimes enjoys wearing makeup (but only in blue or green mind) and Elizabeth does like getting dirty and playing in the mud, most of the time though that gender split works quite well for me.

Those people who complain that a toy is placed in a pink box need to get a grip, its packaging, it goes in the bin but I tell you what if it is in a pink box then a child like Elizabeth will notice it because pink is her favourite colour. If a toy manufacturers target audience is 7 year old girls then putting it in a pink box is pretty good marketing because I bet somewhere someone has done a study that says that a pink box would get the product noticed by that audience and after all where manufacturers and shops are concerned sales are all that matter.

Now I don’t force Elizabeth to wear pink girly clothes or play with dolls and makeup, it is her choice. I don’t make Alison wear what I want her to wear or play with what I want her to play with, again it is her choice. I can imagine if I had a boy who preferred to play with dolls, makeup and wear dresses then I would be just as supportive and you know what kids don’t care which part of the shop they get things from, the only notion they have that they shouldn’t play with certain things comes from the people surrounding them. The parent who tells their son that they “look like a girl” or who tells their daughter “not to get her dress dirty”, they are the ones restricting how children play or what they play with not the manufacturers, the supermarkets or the toy industry. All they want to do is sell their product and if that product sells better in a pink box with a picture of a girl on the front then so be it.

How about we stop ranting about the fact that our shops are gender stereotyping and think more about how judgemental it is to even care about these things because from my experience the kids don’t.

Feel free to disagree with me in the comments below, I would love to hear your take on this subject.