Pink/blue scientific calculators

(79 Posts)
FairPhyllis Fri 18-Oct-13 13:15:59

I needed to buy a new scientific calculator today so I was looking on the Casio UK website and was flabbergasted to find that along with the bog standard grey/black ones you can also get ones in blue or pink (and in no other colours!). I then looked to see if they were available at WHSmith, to see if this a freak thing that isn't actually available at general retailers, and lo and behold WHSmith not only have them on their website, but actually do their own pink scientific calculator as well (but no blue).

Perhaps this is something you have encountered before if you are a parent but as I am not I was really shocked that it would occur to anyone to gender a scientific instrument.

And where does it stop? Pink instruments for science undergrads? Pink stethoscopes for medical doctors who are women? Do the women scientists at CERN go into a meltdown if things aren't coloured pink for them? (educated guess: I bet they fucking well don't)

Are girls and women now so utterly brainwashed by gender messages that the only way science can be made acceptable to them is by pinkwashing things? Or is it a sign of patriarchy's discomfort with women engaging with science that it feels it has to send them a message: 'we'll let you do this as long as you remember you're just a woman after all'?

impty Fri 18-Oct-13 13:22:29

So I agree about pink being everywhere. I have 2 dd's both were given the standard grey scientific calculator when they started school. Both have been lost. Dd1 replaced it (herself) with a pink one. She likes pink. Dd2 replaced hers with a grey one, she likes grey/black, even her room is black.

I'm simply not going to panic about it.

SinisterSal Fri 18-Oct-13 13:24:31

i don't intend to panic. I'll be unsurprised, depressed and disgruntled.

impty Fri 18-Oct-13 13:26:51

Well I did let out a large sigh when I saw it! So it didn't fill me with joy.

EustonRoad Fri 18-Oct-13 13:30:08

I have a pink scientific calculator - I use it at work - it stops it getting mixed up with my colleagues grey ones and I can tell it apart from my daughters' grey ones if I bring it home. I bought it because I thought grey was boring - I would have bought an orange or green one if they were on sale. Doesn't stop me being a feminist or working in a male dominated financial job.

TheDoctrineOfSpike Fri 18-Oct-13 13:31:51

But Euston, they are not available in a common range of colours of which one is pink.

NotDead Fri 18-Oct-13 13:33:23

Awesome! why shouldn't serious kit be available in pink! where are the sparkles?! smile

BuffytheAppleBobber Fri 18-Oct-13 13:45:40

Maybe everything should be pink. It's inevitable, really.

<waves pink sparkly wand>

SinisterSal Fri 18-Oct-13 13:49:31

it's just , to me, WHY be a girl doing maths?
Just do maths.

I was thinking you would never ever get people's other identities clearly demarcated like that when it's irrelevant. Not any more. Because we recognice that emphasising the differences fortifies the differences and fosters us and them.
Can you imagine colour coded calculators, toys, biros, anything and everything, colour coded to 'appeal' to black people/gay people/travellers anyone else.
It doesn't stop anyone doing maths* but it is divisive.

*Or maybe not - I think there is research to show that people are susceptibe to the Stereotype effect. So a a girl doing a maths test scores higher than a girl who is reminded she is a girl, and then does the same maths test. But i can't really base my argument on that as I can't remember the details grin

noblegiraffe Fri 18-Oct-13 13:53:11

It's not great, but it at least has all the same functions as the non-pink calc. It's not like they removed the trig button because trig is too hard for girls, and replaced it with a make-up mirror.

BuffytheAppleBobber Fri 18-Oct-13 13:53:49

I remember the same research Sal I think it was in delusions of gender.

noblegiraffe Fri 18-Oct-13 13:54:36

You're right, Sinistersal, it's called stereotype threat and it does lead to underperformance on tests where a stereotype exists. Fascinating stuff.

crispsarenotoneofyour5aday Fri 18-Oct-13 13:56:27

My DS (13) chose the pink one and it is much admired at his (boys) school - apparantly it is/has "swag"

SinisterSal Fri 18-Oct-13 13:58:14

Yy I think that was it, Delusions of Gender

Should've just made a stab in the dark that book has it all

Keepithidden Fri 18-Oct-13 13:58:17

Does it specifically say on the packaging that they are for girl/boys men/women? Or is it just that it is implied, although not by the packaging?

I ask because a lot of the ELC toys are gender coloured, if you choose to view them that way, despite the marketing seemingly being gender neutral. I wonder what the companies are attempting to do by producing these different coloured items yet not specifically marketing them at different genders, despite it being obvious in the context of the gender sterortyping that happens in society.

Sometimes I wonder whether they are stuck between trying to cater to a marketplace that has been moulded by patriarchal values, yet at the same time being at the forefront of industries that are trying to adapt to changing attitudes?

Maybe I've just talking rubbish though and they're just cynically trying to screw as much cash out of as many people as possible regardless of who they are!

SinisterSal Fri 18-Oct-13 14:00:13

I think your last point is correct KeepItHidden.

But creating this drip drip drip of insidious low level othering is what results

FarelyKnuts Fri 18-Oct-13 14:10:30

I wish they would cater to the gay market and rainbow-fy everything for me grin It would be so lovely and colourful!

However on a serious note, yes its bloody irritating and its everywhere. Girls are being pinkified from birth and it is insidious. From clothes to toys to calculators!
Perfect example this morning buying knickers for my 4yo DD. Every shade and bloody design of pink and NOTHING else. We go to the boys section and find a multipack with red/orange/green/blue/purple underpants.

Keepithidden Fri 18-Oct-13 14:22:08

Farely "the pink pound" (oh the ironing!), is recognised as a sizeable market share so I reckon your'll probably see your wishes soon enough.

Sal said it earlier though, you'll have to watch out for people saying "A a gay person? doing maths?"... ....Except they probably won't, they'll just be jealous of your calculator.

I'm getting Casio-envy already, mine's a rubbish grey one.

FairPhyllis Fri 18-Oct-13 14:24:41

It doesn't say on the websites that the pink/blue calculators are intended for females/males (although the WHSmith one has the blurb 'look pretty in pink ... '). And the functions are the same, so yes, you can do all of the same stuff, but why is it thought necessary to differentiate at all? If it's about having a wider range of colours available why not do all the colours of the rainbow instead of choosing only and exactly the two colours which, in our society, are gendered? As Sal says, why do you have to be a 'girl or boy doing maths' rather than just 'doing maths'?

I'm not panicking but I do find it extremely depressing given the disparity of men and women in the sciences at every level.

It's just one component of a constant and insidious drip-drip-drip message to girls and women that they are 'other'. You can laugh off individual examples such as this one, or feel confident that your daughter will be OK because you'll be a feminist example to counter all of this crap. But on a societal scale all the combined instances of this kind of thing end up subconsciously narrowing girls' expectations of what they can do with their lives, because they are so used to having it prescribed to them what they can and can't do as women.

grimbletart Fri 18-Oct-13 14:28:24

The multi-colours was what we used to find for boys and girls when my (now middle-aged) daughters were little in the 1970s. I mourn the passing of a huge percentage of choice for girls' clothes and things. It is bizarre, sad, annoying and every other negative you can think of. I also think that although marketing plays a big role now it cannot be the whole answer because otherwise they would be providing blue calculators for young boys and it seems from the OP that they don't.

It's marketing + stereotype + backlash. We need a backlash against the backlash!

Viviennemary Fri 18-Oct-13 14:33:00

What is this obsession on MN with the colour pink. If you don't like pink don't buy pink items. If nobody did they would soon stop making them.

Keepithidden Fri 18-Oct-13 14:37:08

I'm not panicking but I do find it extremely depressing given the disparity of men and women in the sciences at every level.

I agree completely, the stats on the male/female divide particualrlay in science education is depressing. Maybe this kind of marketing is a completely misguided (or even deliberately guided) attempt to reverse the trend and encourage women/girls into science? A kind of short-term sop, without any longer term consideration of the negative consequences specifically the "othering" Sal et al mention?

I can picture it being used by politicians and those high up in the educational establishments as a "look, we are trying to encourage the girlz" type excuse.

impty Fri 18-Oct-13 14:38:10

I have a pink scientific calculator - I use it at work - it stops it getting mixed up with my colleagues grey ones

When questioned about her choice in colour this was dd's reply. It seemed logical and well thought through to me!

Having many different colours would be better, and if one different colour then a gender neutral one would be best, I agree. On the other hand I can see why the marketing department went for pink.
although white might have been better, as phones, ipods, cars etc all seem to be white at the moment

grimbletart Fri 18-Oct-13 14:40:18

What is this obsession with stores with the colour pink?

I'd love to know which came first - the stores reducing choice to the colour pink to corral the female market. Or tiny little girls just out of their Moses baskets deciding (out of the blue, ha ha) that pink was the only colour.

When is a choice not a choice? When there is bloody little else to choose from I'd say coupled with a damn great brainwashing campaign by whoever....

FairPhyllis Fri 18-Oct-13 14:44:06

Keep It's interesting you say that - this reminded me a lot of that supremely patronising EU science video called 'Science - It's a Girl Thing'.

I think even if that's the claimed motivation it's extremely misguided, because then you are signalling to girls, 'Look! you're allowed to do this even though you're a girl!' and girls' opportunities then become defined by what they are told they are allowed to do, rather than it simply being a given that they can do anything, because they are human beings.

OutragedFromLeeds Fri 18-Oct-13 14:47:46

They're not gendered, they're coloured. I think by the age you need a scientific calculator you're well beyond pink is for girls and blue is for boys tbh.

ErrolTheDragon Fri 18-Oct-13 14:55:16

Ooh, look what comes up if you search for girls calculator' (take a scroll through the 'also viewed' too.

Whereas if I google 'boys calculator' the first page of hits are things like Tanner stage calculator.


FairPhyllis Fri 18-Oct-13 14:59:48


I see I can also get a pink dish drainer. That'll give me something to look at when I'm pregnant, barefoot and confined to the kitchen.

OutragedFromLeeds Fri 18-Oct-13 15:02:20

If you search 'girls calculator' that's probably the sort of thing you want.

I searched 'boys calculator' and got an Everton FC one. What des that mean? Boys can only do football themed maths?

kim147 Fri 18-Oct-13 15:02:24

I've never seen a blue calculator. However one of my tutees has a pink scientific calculator.

I'm surprised they've not got removable backs to personalise them.

ErrolTheDragon Fri 18-Oct-13 15:04:47

I was a bit hmm to see the RSPB offering pink binoculars. Given that obsessive serious birders seem to think they need to dress in camo/sludge green the colour might of itself make the product inferior. (and its more expensive than the equivalent black)

NoComet Fri 18-Oct-13 15:23:18

Very useful, means I instantly know which is DD2's when it's left lying around.

ErrolTheDragon Fri 18-Oct-13 15:26:33

>Very useful, means I instantly know which is DD2's when it's left lying around.

But if you have anything other than one boy and one girl, it'd be much more useful to have a range of colours, wouldn't it. No reason at all why the 'alternative' should be pink (and for this particular calc, blue).

NoComet Fri 18-Oct-13 15:28:24

Sadly I didn't get a choice of blue, so DD1 and I still have identical grey ones.

Yes, in general I dislike pinkification, but it's massively easier only to get your head round one type of scientific calculator as a parent or a teacher.

Lots of different colours or a decent panel to write names, would of course, be better.

NoComet Fri 18-Oct-13 15:32:16

Enroll too true. I have two DDs and DD1 tends to get blue and DD2 pink, which isn't ideal. Especially as DD2 is more more socially adept, fashion conscious and girly girl.

ColderThanAWitchsTitty Fri 18-Oct-13 15:40:50

How old are the student who need scientific calculators? Aren't they quite old for pink/blue confused

I don't need a pink calculator to remind me I have a vagina and my vagine doesn't make me like pink.

So why are pink blue the only colours ever available if it'sn't a gender thing?

NoComet Fri 18-Oct-13 15:46:13

It's easiest to start Y7 with the calculator your going to use all the way through, so thinking about it, wearing a feminist MN hat, too old for pink.

Wearing my mummy not wanting my children to grow up hat DD2's pink calculator is just a bit of fun.

It is very pink and that's no bad thing as she is very good at losing gadgets.

SoonToBeSix Fri 18-Oct-13 15:47:38

OP maybe you could spend your time pondering things that actually matter. Some people actually like the colour pink. I assume the calculators are not labelled "for females only" ?

kim147 Fri 18-Oct-13 15:52:08

Nothing wrong with a pink calculator. Or a blue one. Or a red one. green one, purple one, yellow one.

Except those other colours don't seem to exist nowadays. But pink and blue do.

NoComet Fri 18-Oct-13 15:53:12

Also there is a practical reason why girls would want the soppiest pinkest calculator, ruler, protractor and why my DDs like flowery paperchase pens, it stops the boys asking to borrow them.

I'm sure it's another sweeping stereotype, but many of the boys are totally hopeless at bring the right equipment to lessons.

This hasn't changed in 30 years, I still have rulers with my name etched deep with a compass because a certain boy 'borrowed' everything.

SinisterSal Fri 18-Oct-13 15:58:22

That's us told.

Thanks SoonToBeSix.

Or maybe you should read the thread before commenting, you'll see why people believe that it does matter.

TheDoctrineOfSpike Fri 18-Oct-13 16:00:32

<orders pink mass spectrometer and sparkly purple microscope>

FairPhyllis Fri 18-Oct-13 16:11:17

Funnily enough Soon I do think that as part of a wider picture it does matter, which is why I started a thread which you obviously haven't read.

If you don't think it matters that women are recognised as fully human and aren't boxed into a fairly narrow set of prescribed life roles which they are sent social signals about from birth (including but not confined to the labelling of objects as 'acceptable for women' by pinkwashing them) - then why bother commenting?

Oh yes and I work in a science field which is why I give a shit.

<hmm, I can't find a pink field ultrasound or palatograph anywhere, and my field recorder is a boring grey, but perhaps I can vajazzle it just to remind myself I'm a woman? Cos I might forget otherwise>

BuffytheAppleBobber Fri 18-Oct-13 16:11:26

Brains, actual wiggly brains are pink!

<ponders implication of this flash of insight>

kim147 Fri 18-Oct-13 16:14:58

I'm surprised the science equipment manufacturers haven't cottoned onto this yet. Same stuff but in a whole range of colours to jazz up a laboratory.

Because white is so last year.

SoonToBeSix Fri 18-Oct-13 16:32:42

I have read the thread, and like I said if the calculators were pink and labelled for girls/ women only then yes I would agree that is an issue. But the manufactures are not making pink calculators for females, they are making pink calculators. If female consumers choose to buy them that is their personal choice as it would be if a male customer bought one.

SinisterSal Fri 18-Oct-13 16:39:23

That's disingenous SoonToBeSix, we all know what the colour codes mean. Since day one when the visitors bring a pink or blue balloon into the maternity ward.

ColderThanAWitchsTitty Fri 18-Oct-13 16:58:56

Soon to be six, are you really completely unaware that pink for girls is a thing? And blue for boys? really?

Because it's not worth talking to someone who hasn't even got a basic knowledge fo the culture they are having an opinion on.

FairPhyllis Fri 18-Oct-13 17:10:56

Yes, to say that pink and blue aren't meant to mean anything in a context when they are the only non-grey colours on offer is thoroughly disingenuous. Even though the calculators do the same thing, it's still dividing the world into 'objects for men' and 'objects for women'.

Human brains are super super good at categorisation - it's a very powerful process that underpins all kinds of cognitive activity from language to abstract reasoning to social behaviour. It's just wrong to say that our perceptions of things aren't affected when objects are presented as belonging to a particular category, even if it's an artificial category distinction or one which we don't think should be important. And we all know, if we have normal perception, categorisation and social skills that our society has established the categories 'male' and 'female' and associates certain colours with them. You'd have to actually live under a rock to not know that.

Soon's post is like the Kinder Egg thing where they made pink eggs with dolls in and blue eggs with cars then, then threw up their hands saying 'Gosh no we absolutely don't promote our products as being for one sex or the other!' To suggest this is to vastly insult the categorisation skills of the average human brain.

ErrolTheDragon Fri 18-Oct-13 17:26:25

>Also there is a practical reason why girls would want the soppiest pinkest calculator, ruler, protractor and why my DDs like flowery paperchase pens, it stops the boys asking to borrow them.

I must admit to having bought myself turquoise gel pens to ensure there was at least one in my pot that DH wouldn't nick.

I think that approaches likethis are well-intentioned but completely missing the point - like that stupid 'its a girl thing' video. The 'girliest' of girls are perfectly happy looking through a kickass steel-grey telescope, thank you very much, and entranced by proper chemistry sets (neither 'foam monsters' nor soap) .

TheDoctrineOfSpike Fri 18-Oct-13 18:12:59

It stops the boys asking to borrow them because they are "girly" and boys don't want girly stuff.

And why not? Oh yes, sexism, I remember!

TheDoctrineOfSpike Fri 18-Oct-13 18:15:08

Brains are pink? But That Bastard Poirot grin said they were made of "leetle grey cells".

Bloody patriarchy.

NoComet Fri 18-Oct-13 18:41:51

Now there you see my DDs are in no danger, the telescope is brown wood and big enough to need it's own shed, the microscopes are pale grey and black (flower petals are actually fascinating because if the way the colours are distributed), chemistry is in escapable because both DH and I are chemists of sorts.

IME boys like butterfly gardens too and polished rocks clearly become jewellery, it's good soldering practice. Actually harder than electronics, which both DDs can do.

EBearhug Fri 18-Oct-13 19:02:19

I'm a bit split on this one. Firstly there's all the blue for boys, pink for girls crap, and it is so tiresome that everything gets marketed in a sexist way like that.

But we do desperately need to improve the numbers of girls who choose to do maths and science and technology, and if they've been so indoctrinated into the "pink means it's for girls" idea, then maybe it will make them more likely to consider maths than they otherwise would have, in which case it's a good thing.

(It's the end of the week, and I'm in quite a good mood and prepared to give everyone the benefit of the doubt just now.)

BuffytheAppleBobber Fri 18-Oct-13 19:07:06

Brains are pink, look

Or, don't look if you don't like actual gloopy images of brains grin

I conclude from this that brains are for women to use. Intestines are quite bluey. Therefore, digestion is an activity for men.

I'm not really sure where I'm going with this... thlwink

TheDoctrineOfSpike Fri 18-Oct-13 19:12:34

If you conclude with "the way to a man's heart is through his stomach," Buffy, I may have to summon Drusilla to drown you in the apple bobbing bucket.


BuffytheAppleBobber Fri 18-Oct-13 19:15:58

I will have to get Xander to bring me back grin

BuffytheAppleBobber Fri 18-Oct-13 19:16:30

And, hearts are red. With blue veins. My symbolism is going all screwy.

NoComet Fri 18-Oct-13 19:19:14

Actually, DD2 would claim that ownership of a pink calculator was taking a stand against the scientific indoctrination that she gets everyday.

EBearhug Fri 18-Oct-13 20:24:06

I'm wondering if I should get some pink tinsel put up in the datacentre or something.

They did change the signs on the doors which said, "Take care! Men working behind doors!" It's no more safe if I'm the one who's been lifting floor tiles. I got an apology, too, which was more than I'd asked for or expected.

WhentheRed Fri 18-Oct-13 20:43:10

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

EBearhug Fri 18-Oct-13 20:45:12

Wanna pink camouflage bible now.

ErrolTheDragon Fri 18-Oct-13 20:49:55

>a pink camouflage bible

so that would be useful when you're in need of divine inspiration while hiding in a feminine environment, would it? confused

kim147 Fri 18-Oct-13 20:51:03
WhentheRed Fri 18-Oct-13 20:55:46

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

KaseyM Fri 18-Oct-13 21:30:20

How's this for having your head screwed up by the patriarchy....

I have that very Casio pink scientific calculator - when I first saw it on Amazon I was like angry WTF do they need a pink calculator?! Just another fucking pinkification of perfectly normal everyday stuff. I'm not buying that shit!! Then I was like hmm - but if I purposefully don't buy it because it's pink, am I not denigrating all things girly...??

.... so I bought it. blush

And that is how y friends is how the patriarchy gets inside your brain, twists everything around with its fucked up logic and leaves you dazed andconfused ....

kim147 Fri 18-Oct-13 21:33:59

It's nice having different colours for calculators. A bit of individuality never hurts.

But like Kinder eggs etc, the colours they choose show absolutely no imagination.

I can hear the conversation. Let's do our products in different colours. People like different colours. What colours can you think of?

EBearhug Fri 18-Oct-13 21:47:36

If they did calculators in all colours of the rainbow, I'd probably want to buy them all, so I could line them up like the spectrum. They're clearly missing out on a marketing opportunity.

I do still want the pink camouflage bible, though. I have a collection of bibles from various forebears, and they're all black or dark blue or dark green or dark red, and a bit dull.

NoComet Fri 18-Oct-13 21:49:51

Unfortunately I fear the pink pipette filler would still get nicked. We had so few that worked the men would have got past the pinkness very quickly.

Also a pink calculator does just what a grey one does. The problem with kinder eggs and some happy meal promotions is the boys get a car that has play value and girls get some sort of doll or worse plastic jewellery that falls apart.

DDs were very scathing about a recent Lego promotion that did cars and planes clearly aimed at boys and a friends figure having a picnic for girls.

HalloweenDidi Fri 18-Oct-13 22:03:36

I have 10 pink calculators that I lend out to pupils who forget to bring theirs to my lessons. I bought the pink ones because I want to be able to spot one of MY calculators disappearing into a pupil's schoolbag. Interestingly, in my classes, the girls don't want to use my pink ones so they bring their own all the time, the boys think my pink calculators are cool and seem to "forget" their own calculators more regularly.

I would have preferred red or green tbh, but my basic requirement was that it stood out from the ones most pupils have (the basic grey ones that we sell cheapish at school) and pink fulfilled that requirement.

Girls perform slightly better at Maths at GCSE at my school than boys do, and our A level classes have slightly more girls than boys as well. I do appreciate this may not be the case everywhere, but it has been in all the schools I've taught in. University Maths degrees tend to be roughly evenly split between the sexes, even though the stereotype is that Maths is a male subject. I don't see pink calculators changing that.

WhentheRed Fri 18-Oct-13 22:15:15

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

EBearhug Fri 18-Oct-13 22:21:24

Oh, that worked, WhentheRed. That was far too many pink bibles, and I'm over the idea now.

KissesBreakingWave Fri 18-Oct-13 22:56:09

If they're going to get away from grey I want hi-viz colours. Can never put my hand on mine more than two seconds after I put it down, and the one on my phone is horrible to use.

HalloweenDidi Fri 18-Oct-13 23:12:31

Oh yes to high viz colours, what a brilliant idea! Sod the pink, day-glo orange is the way forward.

ErrolTheDragon Fri 18-Oct-13 23:27:09

>Oh yes to high viz colours, what a brilliant idea! Sod the pink, day-glo orange is the way forward

for calculators....not binoculars though!

Hulababy Fri 18-Oct-13 23:29:02

My dd has one of these calculators. She is in Y7. She chose the blue one.
Just because pink exists doesn't mean a girl has to buy it.

notanyanymore Sun 20-Oct-13 23:46:59

whether its pink, blue, grey, green what the fuck ever really doesn't matter. if you were posting that the pink calculator only worked up to a certain level (i.e you can 'add' and 'subtract') but nothing else (as its not relevant to a woman calculating the groceries and washing dishes...) i might agree but as it is your basically talking shit.

Bunbaker Mon 21-Oct-13 00:07:33

DD has a blue one.

My company sells calculators. I market them on the web, but I can honestly say that I don't pay any attention to the colour except to say what colour they are.

Disclaimer: We don't make them, we just sell them.

BeCool Mon 21-Oct-13 00:31:06

I saw a pink drill for sale in Lidl today. shock No other colours apart from standard black.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now