Thursday, 8 November 2012

Gender Stereotyping.. Who Cares?

I want to get one thing out in the open straight away.

I hate the judgement that people pass over what colours parents choose to dress their children or buy toys in.

For example: A woman is pregnant. She finds out it's a girl. She buys lots of pink vests, sleepsuits, bottles, etc. People will then pass comments about how it's wrong to dress a girl in all pink. It's gender stereotyping. You're damaging your child this way.

How the fuck did you come to that conclusion!?

I don't understand how, by dressing my girl in a pink dress, I am damaging her. I'm messing her up psychologically. Or how it's anyone else business.

For Christmas, I plan on buying Princess a tool kit. Do you know why? Because she likes to play with tools. She likes to pretend to 'fix' her Daddys bike and play that she's mending things. How is that any different to me also buying her a dolls pushchair? Because she also likes to pretend she's a Mummy too.

So by encouraging my girl to play with tools which are typically meant for boys, I'm doing the right thing. But by buying her a dolls pram I'm enforcing the fact that she 'should' play with dolls because it will be her role later on in life.


I will buy her tools because she likes to play with them, and I will buy her a pram because she likes to play with them too. I'm not buying her a dolls pram just because she's a girl.

Fixing Daddys bike
I also don't dress her in pink just because she's a girl. I happen to actually like the colour pink. I like it on girls and I like it on boys. Ross's nephews quite often wear pink t-shirts, and do you know what? They look ace in them.

So what should I do? Should I be coerced into non conformity and dress my girl in jeans and a t-shirt? Because guess what? I do that too.

You'll probably reel at the thought of Princess having a pink pushchair. She did and it was beautiful. I didn't buy it just because she was a girl, I bought it because I loved it. It's true, that if I'd have had a boy I probably would've bought the blue version, but what does it matter? I personally like the colour pink. So whilst I actually have the option to choose what my daughter wears, I shall dress her in things that I like. When she's old enough to make the decision herself, I will let her. (Within reason, obv)

You ask Princess what her favourite colour is and she will say/point to something blue. She will grab a brush and pretend to sweep. Sometimes she pretends to feed her dolls and other times she will play wrestling with us.

Is my parenting wrong because I bought her a pink guitar & piano?
I absolutely hate that people judge me because I dress my daughter in pink. What does it fucking matter? I am not forcing her to do anything she doesn't want to do. If she wanted to pick her own clothes, I'd bloody well let her. If she grows up and wants to wear tracksuits and climb tree's, then that's what she'll do.

Please explain to me how by dressing her in God forbid.. a pink frilly dress with glittery shoes, am I forcing her to be a certain way?

I believe that how you interact with your child is what forms their mind and their gender. If you don't allow your girl to play with cars and tools and only allow dolls and kitchenette sets, then yes, you're reinforcing it.If you don't allow her to climb trees and get dirty like her male peers then once again, it's reinforcement.

However, playing pretend 'mechanics' with your daughter whilst simultaneously feeding a doll is just pure fun!

Just because I dress my daughter in pink and I chose purple in her bedroom instead of blue does not mean I am gender stereotyping her. She can be whatever she wants to be and I will support her 110%! People need to stop judging others by what they think is right (and wrong) and just accept that sometimes girls wear pink because they like it and not because they were forced.

I admit, if I had had a boy, he would probably wear blue. But my point is, by actually conforming to gender stereotypes at such a young age, I don't understand what sort of 'damage' I am doing. When she's old enough to make her own choices, I won't force her to wear pink because that's what girls 'should' wear. She can wear whatever colour she likes. 

 Where do you stand on gender stereotyping? Are you like me - not bothered, I like the colours, who cares? Or are you the sort who purposely dresses their girls non-girly just to make a point?

Oh and here's a little snippet of information for you... While both mothersand fathers contribute to the gender stereotyping of their children, fathershave been found to reinforce gender stereotypes more often than mothers(Ruble, 1988).


Chelsea MsMummy said...

I believe the way all children will 'be' is pre-determined when they are in our tums, no amount of pink, blue, green, grey or purple will affect this! People should chill out and let their kinds go with the flow :) xx

Louise said...

She is your girl put her in what you want! She will choose soon enough. And as for toys - by boys have lots of role play stuff that is all classed as girls toys - a sweet shop, play food. Not sure why boys aren't meant to pretend to sell sweets! My friend got accused as dressing her daughter as a doll by a health visitor! People should just mind their own business x

Jess @ CatchaSingleThought said...

This kind of thing really gets my goat. I am a firm believer that it takes more than the colour of an outfit or the types of toys children have to shape and determine their personalities. We have some friends who have two little boys and the dad gets really stressed about when they come round here and play with Meg's pushchair. It's ridiculous! Having a child of each gender has allowed me to see how natural it is for them to play with all 'gender specific' toys. Just like Princess is as happy fixing as she is playing with her dolls, Eli loves brushing my hair as much as playing trains.
Equally (I'll get off my soapbox in a minute I promise) I think, dress them however you want! We had so many comments when we found out Meg was a girl and we bought her pink outfits, the same with Eli but you know what? I think babies look darn cute dressed up in pale pink and pale blue and it helps out the random person cooing over them in the street to know doesn't it ;o) I highly doubt that it will affect their personality to have been dressed in one particular colour. I sincerely hope people are a bit more complex than that. I wasn't affected (too much) by the attractive shellsuits my parents dressed me in as a child after all!
Good post, and you are 100% right!!

Misty Bird said...

Very well said, I completely agree! Let's get our pink on! x

Misty Bird said...

That's exactly it Louise. I think people these days think they can have an opinion on anything and everything, even on something as simple as colour of clothes. Thanks for commenting xx

Misty Bird said...

Yay, thank you! I quite enjoyed your soap box moment there!
I think gender stereotyping is just another thing that health visitors and the like have invented into scaring us into doing what THEY think is right.

I shall continue to stereotype my kid for as long as I bloody well like! Thanks for commenting hun :D x

Louise said...

hope you don't mind but I am going to link to this in my next post - you have inspired a new post :-)

Emily Foran said...

I have 2 of each and loved having a girl to dress in pink (or more often purple because it's my favourite colour). My toddler loves walking around in his sister pink slippers and he looks damned cute - so what!?
When you have boys and girls you can't worry about it, as they'll decide what they like whatever colour etc. I thought we were over all the pink/blue stuff - anything goes (especially if Mummy likes it)!! xx

Misty Bird said...

Exactly, I think we seem to put our own personal preferences on to our children more than we stereotype them. I love the colour pink so I loved to dress Princess up in it. If I didn't like the colour, I wouldn't do it as much! I do agree when you have boys & girls though that you don't get to decide what they like.
Thanks for commenting x