Why aren’t boys choosing pink?

| October 11, 2017 | 0 Comments

We put a premium on choice in modern-day America. Everything and anything can be up to you. If you have the money, you can choose your cup size, your make of car, or where you’ll go on vacation. If you have the grit, you can choose where you’ll go to college and what kind of career you’ll have (or so we maintain). Certainly, in any case, you can choose which clothes you wear, what kind of music you listen to, what toppings you’ll have on your pizza.

Which toys you’ll play with, if you’re a kid.

Not.

I have my reservations about the “choices” available to kids, when really, their options are quite limited.

And there’s another problem: If children do have free choice when it comes to toys, then why are their choices so predictable?

Among four to six-year-olds, the Disney Princess fanbase is still dominated by girls, while you rarely find a boy in pink. Are these the results you’d expect from an absolute freedom to choose?

Princesses and princess merchandise are a wildly, wildly popular choice with young girls. You could argue that this is because they have appealing and positive qualities–perhaps they have interesting storylines, or are great material for make-believe, or allow children to feel fabulous and pretty. Princess stories often include characters singing about their feelings, and finding love–mightn’t that be appealing, too?

But if the pinkified, princess-laden sphere of children’s toys has all of these objectively sound virtues, shouldn’t all children like princesses?

 It can’t be simply about the quality of the products, the amount of entertainment they provide, or any other objective factor. Something else is going on, at the edges of this huge pool of princess fripperies. Girls are being pushed into this stuff, while boys are pushed out.

Why aren’t boys choosing these toys that emphasize beauty, love, and romance–values that are, or should be, undeniably universal? Wouldn’t it be to boys’ benefit if they were to dress up as characters that sing about their feelings and find a romantic happy ending? If being fabulous and pretty is empowering, why aren’t boys required to try some of that, for their own good?

You can’t answer these questions without some statement like “Because girls are supposed to be/do/like such and such, and boys are supposed to be/do/enjoy some other thing”. It all comes down to sex roles. What you like, wear, do, or become is bounded by being either a girl or a boy, and that’s that.

This is why the idea of choosing pink or blue is such an illusion. It’s hard to choose something that’s clearly not meant for you. It’s impossible to choose a toy that your parents never offer you.

 

featured photo credit: Bellevue Fine Art Repro (Scott) ecb-year end2016-7984 via photopin (license)

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Category: featured, Romance, The (Sex)es, TV and Movies

Huey Wu

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Huey Wu is a Senior studying Comparative Literature. When not writing in a journal, writing for class, or working as a writing tutor, they enjoy volleyball, puzzles, and gentle company.

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