Just when I thought I had safely bypassed the “terrible twos” stage, and wondering why they don’t just call it the terrifying two’s, my daughter started acting up real drama, over what I could never imagine: pink outfits.
We did nothing to encourage the predilection – we didn’t paint her room pink or buy her pink clothes – but she suddenly developed a new passion for the color pink, with an accompanying interest in Disney princesses. Every morning we end up waking all of our neighbors because she simply refuses to wear anything that is not pink. Knowing I have to pick my battles, I have bought plenty of pink outfits for her, but it never seems to be enough; sometimes they are dirty, or not the right length, or not the right shade of pink.
In Iran, where I am originally from, the concept of blue for boys and pink for girls is not very common, in fact maybe non-existent. Children wear a combination of colors regardless of their gender; this group on Flickr does a good job in summarizing the attire that children do wear.
But as I started talking to the other parents in our daycare, I discovered they suffer through similar scenarios with their daughters.
According to a Time article in 2007, girls might have a preference due to biological programming. I am not sure I buy that, because even here in America, it was not until the 1940s that retailers and manufacturers responded to society’s need for gender signifiers and “interpreting” consumer preference as pink for girls, blue for boys, but I have no other explanation for it.
I got fascinated by the topic and found that the most recent research on color preference in monkeys has shown females prefer warmer colors like pink and red — supposedly an infant primate’s pink face brings out its mother’s nurturing instincts. A color preference study of Caucasian and Chinese men and women showed both Caucasian and Chinese women strongly preferred red and pink, while only Caucasian men strongly preferred blue and green.
I am still not convinced. I can think of at least one reason why girls prefer pink: because they have been influenced by gender stereotypes as they were growing up. Even though I did not emphasize this in our household, my daughter is completely surrounded by it through her friends at daycare, TV shows and even the toys that are available for purchase. But then again, driving to work today, I saw a sports Audi in hot pink, and could not resist exclaiming, “Oh I got to have one of those cars!”
As we begin searching for appropriate pre-schools, I have come across a school that requires the toddlers to wear a uniform. I am now contemplating whether this will be good in reducing our morning dramas, or whether it will be devastating for our little girl to have to wear a brown uniform every day instead of her beloved pink outfits.
Thanks for reading,
Layla – Guest Blogger
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