There’s nothing wrong with pink: My response to a feminist message

A couple days ago I saw this video–it’s an advertisement for GoldieBlox, a new engineering toy for girls. You might have seen it too, floating around your social media feeds. When I watched this, I instantly felt a little disturbed.

The girls are adorable and it’s a fun set up (I wanted to help build that thing!) but there was a blatant message strewn as subtitles across the screen that rubbed me the wrong way.

In the quirky song it proclaims that girls’ toys all look the same–that there is too much pink and they want to start using their brains.

girl toy

And in the very beginning of the video three bored little girls are even watching a princess show that is made out to look like unintelligent jibber jabber. So what do the girls do? They declare, more or less, that boys get all the toys that create an intellectual stretch and they want that too. Even the caption to this viral video states, “Fewer than 3 in 10 graduates in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics are women. And barely 1 in 10 actual engineers are women. Early in a girl’s life, the toys marketed to her are usually things that don’t encourage her to enter those fields.”

I call bull.

The lyrics in that video, first off, *I could bet money on it*–weren’t written by little girls. They were written by adults in a society where women want to be empowered and strike down stereotypes to the point where there is no more distinction on what girls may prefer or what boys may prefer. They were written by a world that equates pink and princesses and unicorns and tea sets to a gender that never rises above or gets an education or steps outside of the home.

stuffed animals

Now, just to make sure you don’t take me wrong–I’m not saying girls should be limited to playing with dolls. I just didn’t think that was an issue worth calling out. Growing up, I had a fascination with Hot Wheels cars just as much as I did with my polly pocket collection. I ran around with bare feet in the summer catching frogs and I also loved to prance around the living room in my ballet tutu. There is no “Pink Police” catching girls in the act of doing something that might constitute as a boy behavior. We’re over that hump.

Scan 132950056

Liking pink, dancing around in a princess dress one-size too big, and cradling a plastic baby doll isn’t a sign of weakness or unintelligence. It’s how females are often programmed. There have been multiple studies suggesting the scientific reason behind why women are generally drawn to pink more than men are. You can read one study right here.

But science and studies and societal norms aside, it’s time that we take a step back from feminist views and ask ourselves, as women, why we’re so afraid of being feminine. Why do we think the only ticket to Stanford is swearing off polka dots and skirts and being offended at the characteristic of “girly”? Why do we think that the only way to truly strive in today’s world is to break out of the mold that our great grandmothers and great-great grandmothers seemed to follow with their petticoats and sprayed hair and soft hands? Is it because we want to prove we’re somehow better…or smarter?

fifties lady

One of my favorite actresses is Zooey Deschanel and she said something that really underscores this topic of being feminine in today’s society.

“My theory is that people in this day and age want to dismiss things. So they want to be able to dismiss you,” Deschanel says. “They say, ‘You don’t belong, you don’t deserve this because here’s why, and let me find an intellectual argument for why you wearing pink or cuff sleeves or a bow makes you not worthy of your accomplishments. Everything you’ve done doesn’t matter because you wore the wrong thing or you speak in a way that’s feminine or you identify yourself as feminine.’ And I just think that’s bull****. And smart people are doing it, and that’s surprising to me. I’ll give them being smart, but they’re being very shortsighted.”

pink top

Love that.

Another quote I love is from “The Joy of Womanhood” talk given by Margaret D. Nadauld in 2000. She said, “The world has enough women who are tough; we need women who are tender. There are enough women who are coarse; we need women who are kind. There are enough women who are rude; we need women who are refined. We have enough women of fame and fortune; we need more women of faith. We have enough greed; we need more goodness. We have enough vanity; we need more virtue. We have enough popularity; we need more purity.”

The truth is–we aren’t put in a box, girls.

We can do anything and be anything.

But there’s nothing wrong with the way my niece’s eyes light up at a huge coloring page of a unicorn or the way my nephew giggles at the sight of a Nerf gun. It’s no “damage” of society that a two-year-old boy would rather kick a tea set than play with it and that a four-year-old girl will cry when he does so and kiss her baby’s head because, in her words, “it made the baby cry”.

Here is the deal sis

These kids haven’t been taught from society yet. They haven’t been told to be tougher or to play with “smarter” toys or to call out for a change on what they unwrap on Christmas day. If the little girls find joy in building blocks too–good. So did I. But that doesn’t mean they’re any smarter or headed down a better path with those toys than when they’re cradling a stuffed kitten with a pink collar.

There is nothing wrong with being feminine, despite what our society says. There’s nothing wrong with tackling an engineering major and there’s nothing wrong with enjoying sports. Likewise, there’s nothing wrong with NOT enjoying those things.

feminine lady

There’s nothing wrong with NOT being an engineering major either, might I add. You can be a dancer, lost in sparkle and tight hair buns, or a mother with a handful of kiddos–and you are STILL a strong, smart woman who makes an impact on the world.

So, like the video does, I call out for change too.

Stop saying it’s bad to live the stereotypical traits of a girl.

Stop declaring, in essence, with propaganda in commercials and Hollywood and books, that women should become like men and if they exhibit any quality of a typical “girl” they aren’t using their brains or won’t go as far.

Stop taking the feminist movement so far that we lose our femininity.

Because there’s NOTHING wrong with preferring pink.

cupcakes

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11 thoughts on “There’s nothing wrong with pink: My response to a feminist message

  1. Thank you for all the time and effort you spend in writing your blog. I love the inspired words that you share. This post was specifically amazing in strengthening women and girls. Thanks!

  2. As a guy, I can tell you there’s a real pressure to be masculine because being in touch with one’s feminine side is seen weakness. So I totally agree with you Kayla, there’s nothing wrong with femininity, not for a girl or a guy!

  3. Okay, maybe this is just me, but I don’t think these toys have a feminist agenda. Engineering toys already exist and anyone can play with them, but GoldieBlox are made specifically to appeal to girls. They’re colorful and “cute” and come with a story. If anything, it’s playing into the stereotypes for girls, and just a genius marketing gimmick. I personally only have sons, and they love to sing, dance, cook, play with trains and dolls, and make an enormous mess of anything within their reach. Kids are kids. Older girls (young women) need more support in selecting hard sciences as fields of study if that is their interest. Having engineering toys available that appeal to younger girls is a step in the direction of identifying an interest. As with anything in our capitalist society, if you have a problem with the toys, don’t buy them. Your dollars speak louder than words.

    • Couldn’t agree more! These toys aren’t anti-girly, they’re PRO-girls. They’re not saying girls shouldn’t have girly dolls and soft bunnies, they’re just supplementing those toys with toys designed to help support girls in the sciences and engineering fields — a space which, previously, had been vacant.
      Betsy, you hit it right on the head with that comment.

  4. Kayla, I believe that Audrey Hepburn said it best: Good job!

    I believe in PINK…
    I believe that laughing is the best calorie burner.
    I believe in kissing, Kissing a lot!
    I believe in being STRONG, when everything seems to be going wrong…
    I believe happy girls….are the prettiest girls.
    I believe that tomorrow is another day & I believe in Miracles!!!!
    – Audrey Hepburn

  5. I agree with you! I do get annoyed that we, as parents of girls, are so limited in our choices of gifts for our girls though. Sometimes even I get sick of all the pink, purple, or princess crap splattered on everything! I do think it’s a great idea to give girls more choices when it comes to toys, but that doesn’t mean we have to eliminate pink. And, it doesn’t mean we have to make it about not using our brains if we do like pink!!
    I too grew up playing with boy toys, playing outside in the creek behind my house, and doing “boyish” things. And, no one seemed to care all that much back then whether or not we picked up something pink, or liked princesses.

  6. I’m a preschool teacher who keeps the lego in my small manipulatives area in a pink bucket to encourage both boys and girls to play with it. From what I can tell of “Goldie Blocks”, they seem a little closed ended. If you want to encourage thinking with any toy, it needs to be able to be used in any way the child chooses – open ended. Hot Wheels can go in the doll house beds – it’s all good. Good toys stimulate creativity and imagination, whether traditionally for boys or girls …. I’m not that impressed with “Goldie Blocks”.

    Another soap box – While I love the color pink, especial on babies, and even women, I am cautious about pushing a pink princess persona on my daughter. “Princesses” are generally spoiled, not expected to work and wait for a man to “rescue” them to live “happily ever after”. Walt Disney for years has set women up for disappointment, because more often than not, life just doesn’t turn out that way. Even Kate Middleton’s life is hard, as was her deceased mother-in-law’s. I don’t want my daughter to aspire to be a princess. I want her to be a good and giving person who is smart and can do hard things and make it on her own merits. And for my sons, I caution them that “When you rescue a damsel in distress, all you get in the end is a distressed damsel”. I want them to be paired with a wife to whom they can be equally yoked.

  7. Well said Kayla! For so long women fought for their equal rights and that battle is won for the most part. Now it seems to me that the new idea is: It’s not good enough to have equal rights, but women need to be better than men. I wish we could just be allowed to be who we are to the best of our ability as men and women and accomplish our goals without having to be better than any body else.
    Keep writing!

  8. I think using one study to demonstrate that it’s proven that girls prefer pink is flawed. For instance,

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19413425

    I have no problems with the positive elements correlated with femininity by any means (such as empathy), but I think it’s doubly important that we get rid of the harmful masculinity paradigm and allow men to embrace typically “feminine” interests or emotions without fear of reprisal.

  9. Holy Crap. How are we not best friends? First of all, I adore you and that you get it. I have been reading many of your posts and find myself saying “Preach, Sister” out loud…even though I’m a Mormon too and we don’t normally holler those kinds of things. I love pink. I, too, am a career woman- obviously not your cookie cutter Mormon wife…and I live in the Idaho Mormon Belt. Thank you for being brave enough and bold enough to eloquently express your feelings.

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