For a vast number of people this image or images like it drag up all sorts of controversy…with a great number of those people being men. This is my 6 year old, who was 2 at the time. We bought him this pink baby doll and pink stroller for Christmas….and him and his brother (then 4) had matching pink pajamas. I was pregnant with The Girl at this time and I posted this image to a due date message board I was a member of and oh how the sparks flew. “Boys shouldnt play with baby dolls…especially PINK ones in PINK strollers”…”why are you putting your little boy in PINK…he’ll turn out gay” and many many other ridiculous statements. Why cant boys play with pink strollers and pink baby dolls? And so the hell what if he’s gay? Certainly my color choice in clothing isnt going to effect the person that he is or the gender that he chooses to love…something that is genetically predetermined. Who made up these asinine rules about colors and toys being owned by a specific gender? I’ve never understood this thinking and some of the comments that surround this issue make me cringe for the children of these people. What are you teaching your child by your reaction to this? What happens in 20 years if YOUR child turns out to be gay and they remember the condescending insinuations about someone’s sexual orientation and how it’s something to avoid. I cant imagine that this issue would be an isolated thing in their paradigm.
The double standard in this issue also makes my head spin. On 1 hand it’s perfectly acceptable for my daughter to play with hot wheels and tonka trucks and wear blue and wrestle with her brothers….but once I put my son in pink and hand him a baby doll and a stroller, all hell breaks loose. To this day he still loves playing with baby dolls…or cooking food in the play kitchen with his sister and at school. When I watch him play with baby dolls and see how sweet he is to the little girls at school, when most 6 year old boys would rather be rolling in the mud…I know I’ve done a good job as a mother. He is gentle and kind and is going to make some women (or man!) an excellent husband and some lucky kids an excellent father. This ideology seems very reminiscent of the 50’s when gender roles like “women stay in the kitchen” and “you cant do it like a man can!” were common place in our society. Why have we not moved passed this sexist way of thinking? Oh sure women can vote and be CEO’s and blah blah blah….but seriously, what is the rational that is used to justify this type of segregation. Pink is for girls….blue is for boys….SAYS WHO!
I overheard a recent conversation at a local store in the toy aisle between a mom and dad. The mom wanted to buy her little boy a baby doll and the dad was not having it. He literally ripped the doll out of her hands and put it back and then stormed out. I stood there shocked as I witnessed this and the mom walked off after her husband looking defeated. It totally broke my heart for her and for her child that wouldn’t get that doll that his mom so clearly wanted him to have. In my own life I have a ton of people who would also be totally opposed to allowing their boy to wear pink or play with dolls. It makes me really sad knowing that even if the child asked for it, he wouldn’t be allowed to have it just because it’s a “girl toy”. That just seems wrong on SO many levels to put these finite rules around toys and what color is for girls or boys (hey that rhymed!). In our house, the world is a rainbow and no one can own a rainbow.
“We’ve begun to raise our daughter’s more like our sons, but few have the courage to raise our sons more like our daughters”- Gloria Steinem