You Say, Pink is Evil! I Say, I Don’t Believe There Is An Insidious Plot to Takeover Girlhood


Contrary to popular media culture belief, as the mother of two girl children aged 4 and 6, I do not spend every waking moment of our lives ruminating on the subject of pink politics as it concerns my girls, but the media and certain organizations hell-bent on breaking the so-called mould of stereotypical girlhood would have you believe I do.

To date, I have not suddenly become paralyzed with indecision when it comes to choosing pink Lego over non-pink Lego for fear of raising marginalized and/or gender-conforming human beings, nor have I lost sleep over the fact that Mulan now wears a ball gown instead of traditional Chinese garb. Why? Because I’m not entirely convinced that policing Lego colours or banning princesses is the way to go.

You won’t catch me standing in line picketing a JC Penny or Forever21 because they’ve decided to print t-shirts that call into question my daughter’s intelligence or because they’ve succumbed to so-called traditional marketing opinion and ironically assumed that boys do stuff better, because I wouldn’t have purchased that T-shirt in the first place.

That said, I am unmoved but the fact that certain individuals think nothing of supporting the status-quo, because like those of us who are hardwired to rage against the machine, it takes all kinds.

My own personal philosophy when it comes to raising my children is Live and Let Live. It’s something my own mother used to say to us, her three girls while we were growing up. As a single parent, I assume she was under intense scrutiny for the things she did and did not do, but it didn’t matter to her because she felt very much in charge and empowered by her own life. She wasn’t politically swayed one way or the other as it concerned the popular feminisms of the day, because if a single woman of colour raising a family while working full-time isn’t “evidence” of female empowerment, I don’t know what is.

With arm’s length regard, my mother embraced the notion that the odds were stacked against her by virtue of her being left alone to raise 3 daughters, but that didn’t stop her from instilling a value-system that would support her direct needs and us, her 3 daughters. If she had succumbed to popular opinion—and gossip—and believed the hype that young women who do not have the physical presence of a male figure in the home are supposedly more inclined to be baby-mommas, or have difficulty in school, or to be promiscuous young women, then perhaps our lives would have turned out very differently.

If also, for example, she had believed the marketing flavour of the day in which white systems of beauty were touted as the “ideal” they weren’t given a moment’s contemplation or discussion. She never, ever attempted to ban Pink from our home, nor did she say we could not play with white dolls or have white friends. She didn’t restrict our clothing or tell us that we couldn’t enjoy princesses, she simply left it up to us.

The reason being is that my mother didn’t believe in putting too much stock into agenda-bearing organizations whom she felt undermined her ability to make her own decisions that directly affected her life. And this is key. In life, we are given the beautiful opportunity to do what works best for us without feeling the pressure to do, act, see and hear a certain way based on someone else’s very different set of circumstances. Which means that if you find a way to honour your personal set of circumstances, you can live your life. And others can live theirs.

Having the beautiful influence of my so-called strong mother means that at the end of the day, I’m just not sure how seriously agitated I get with a pontificating movement—is it “just me” or does this anti-pink sentiment seem overwhelmingly academic to you?— that wants me to support a belief-system that touts the perils of giving the overwhelmingly materialistic offspring of an overwhelmingly materialistic society a pink toy which is believed to carry an insidious plot to conform all girl-children into mindless pink automatons. To me, this is a privileged, self-absorbed First World problem, and in the grand scheme of things, while I do believe it does warrant *some* discussion, it’s the least urgent of our problems.

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