Going to the pink side

September 27, 2011

I don’t know exactly when it happened, although I suppose it was inevitable. Gradually over the past year my eldest daughter has begun to go over to the pink side. A year ago she was happy liking a range of colours. When asked, she would say green was her favourite, because of her love of Tinkerbell. If asked to choose a cup, clothes or a teddy they would always be green. Then the other day we were in a clothes shop choosing her winter coat and she started saying, “pink – pink – I love pink! Can I have something pink?” She tried on a green coat but soon dismissed it for a pink one (though to be fair the pink one was nicer).

Why does it matter? At a certain age – perhaps it is four – fitting in with your friends becomes of the utmost importance. Girls like pink, my daughter is a girl, therefore she likes pink. I always went my own way – I had to do things a little different from everyone else. My mother attributes the fact I had twins to this – I had to do something a bit different to everyone else. It’s not always the easiest path. I want her to be happy and not to get teased, but I liked the fact she was individual. I want her to be confident enough to say she likes something, even if no one else does.

This week there is a pirate and princess party at her school. They did the same thing last year and my daughter was adamant she was going to be a pirate. I explained to her that the other girls would probably choose to be princesses but she didn’t care. Pirates have more fun. Princesses sit around brushing their hair whist pirates are off on an adventure. We play pirates a lot and she spent many hours with her cousin pretending to run away from sharks and hunt for treasure. So what does she want to be this year? You guessed it – a princess.

This is fine obviously, you don’t see many pirates who are girls. She has become aware of gender this year, which is a natural stage of development. My argument is not with her wanting to be girly, it’s with the fact our definition of being a girl is so limited. Why do girls have to like pink and only pink? Why do they have to be a princess to feel special? She is obviously not going to grow up to be either a pirate or a princess – it is just pretend – so why can’t girls be pirate princesses? Why can’t they like green, blue or any colour they want?

Perhaps I’m worrying about this too much. Should girls wear pink?

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