The Pink Plague
Interesting article on Care2 about whether girls are being brought up to choose oppression through marketing and “pinkification.” Bratz Dolls are all about objectification, Barbies tell girls they can do anything as long as they look perfect, pink is evil, blah blah blah. To an extent, I agree — the hyper-sexualized dolls don’t send a good message, and those big-headed Bratz are just plain creepy. But I also kind of wish people would chill out.
I get being pissed that girls are still steered towards “girly” toys that are about fashion and cooking and whatever. And I get worrying that Barbie leads to decades of eating disorders and some seriously messed-up feet. But the color pink isn’t, in itself, evil. Being a princess isn’t necessarily bad. (A princess with the same name as yours truly — though different spelling — from a certain sci fi trilogy was pretty f-in’ cool.)
There comes a time when, for whatever reason, just about every girl I’ve ever babysat or had contact with gets obsessed with princesses. They want the frilly dresses and the tiaras. But as far as I can tell, most of them don’t stop being who they are. You just tend to have four-year-old girls doing flying tackles in tutus — which, quite frankly, is hysterical. And as for Barbies, I LOVED them as a kid… Of course, I turned some into punkers (my mom’s green eyeshadow made for surprisingly effective hair dye) and forced others act out scenes from horror movies. To each her own.
It’s not until girls hit about age 12 that they start thinking that pink = girly = weak = not showing up boys = having to look perfect = let’s all be brainless. And at that point, you can’t blame Barbie. You can blame marketing images and our hypersexualized society and unrealistic images on TV and all sorts of things, but I’m not sure you can blame pink. At that point, pink is the symptom, not the disease.
S.G. has a plague of pink. But it’s not like you accidentally wash your red socks with your white t-shirts and the ensuing pinkness sucks your brain out of your ear. It’s that the Desperate Housewives tell their cheerleader daughters that they have to be sexy and pure, accomplished and yielding, capable of bringing home the bacon and making sure they always fry it up in a pan for their menfolk. It’s that any girl who makes it clear that she’s smarter than the boys is ostracized. It’s that any girl who doesn’t look like Barbie is a failure.
Toys and tiaras aren’t doing that to girls. Little girls can dress up as princesses and still kick ass, if we let them. But in S.G., most parents don’t let them. That’s not Barbie’s fault. That’s their own damn fault. And until that stops, no amount of banning pink will make a damn bit of difference.