Have you ever wandered down the girl’s toy aisle? It’s pink suffocation. The toys in the ‘girl’s aisle’ tell us everything a little girl needs to know about complying with the gender code. It tells her that beautiful girls tend to be blonde. And they wear tiny sheer fairy dresses. They have big pointy boobs and cinched in waists and most of the Barbies still stand on their toes – like cis gendered dominant culture aspirants. Even they look like they are reaching for something unobtainable. How must a small brown girl feel?
How must a boy feel who wants a doll, but the pink aisle tells him it’s just for children with vulvas. It’s hard to cuddle a truck. He must go to the aisle for children with penises, where someone in a corporate marketing agency has decided he loves toys with big wheels, things that are noisy and go fast or dig hard. Things he can’t nurture his softness with.
From before children are even born we start coding them with a prescribed gender. The ‘baby reveal’ is a whole new phenomena where a child’s gender is revealed with a balloon pop, where guests are invited ‘wear blue or pink, what do you think?’. It suggests, before the baby enters the world, that there are only two choices. It isn’t cognisant that some children are born intersex, that some are born with male genitals and identify as female, and that others are born female and they identify as female but they fucking hate pink.
This ‘blue and pink’ code is the seed of a toxic gender culture that attempts to bind our children to a heteronormative world. Where girls are beautiful and magical and they nurture babies and do pretend washing and cook plastic sausages and boys love Hotwheels and dragons and stuff you can smash. We limit these small limitless beings into complying with binary projections of what our society expects gender to be. And how society expects these two to behave.
In California they have introduced a law that will force retailers to have a ‘gender neutral’ toy section. It all happened because a 10-year-old girl asked her mother why some toys were off limits to her as a girl, but would be okay to play with if she was a boy? She was the daughter of a California lawmaker who used this question as inspiration for a bill that doesn’t prohibit a boys and girls section but requires toy stores to have a reasonable selection of toys in a gender neutral section.
‘The segregation of toys by a social construct of what is appropriate for which gender is the antithesis of modern thinking’. Thank you.
Some might think this is paternalistic. Trivial. But I believe it’s much more potent. There is something sinister in pink for girls, blue for boys. Having your gender prescribed by your parents, by your community, and by corporations before you know who you are is toxic. It hurts kids.
When we stop modelling hyper-feminine and hyper-masculine role models to children through the clothing we make them wear and the toys we allow them to choose from, we can give them the space to discover who they are, what they love, how they interact and learn about the world. Imagine who they could become; boys who love babies, girls who love building, children who love the freedom of free play.
We need to go back to the beginning and break the binary gender code. This is how we stop domestic violence.