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AIBU re gender neutral expectations?

(127 Posts)
SrAssumpta Wed 22-Jul-15 13:38:30

When I was pregnant with DD I was a bit of a gender neutral nazi, it was all very well intended but perhaps a little obsessive and my desire for a gender neutral world for children seemed to produce an intense dislike for typical "girly" toys etc.

DD is 4 now and although I don't ever recall actually saying anything negative about the typical toys geared towards girls, it's definitely rubbed off on her and while I'm so proud of the little person she's become, I can't help but notice that she seems to think she should be choosing Batman over Barbie, pirates over princesses etc. I would have really liked to see what her preferences would have been had I not put such emphasis on gender neutral everything?

I heard a conversation the other day two women saying how the pink bikes with ribbons make them sick and raving about what little tomboys their girls are, but this is still seems like putting expectations on the children? It actually makes me cringe how much importance seems to be placed on girls not liking girly things nowadays and I think it's gone from gender neutral to anti typical girl?

formerbabe Wed 22-Jul-15 13:43:25

I agree. On here it seems to be

Girls and boys can like pirates, superheroes, climbing trees etc

Its ok great if boys like princesses and pink, but not if girls do.

It is very strange to me. Lots of mums come on here protesting about pink for girls yet no one cares about blue for boys.

RachelWatts Wed 22-Jul-15 13:44:36

It always seems to me that everyone hates stereotypical girly pink things, unless they're for a boy, in which case that's wonderful!

I personally think there's nothing wrong with pink, girly things, provided that's not all that is available for little girls, and any child can choose any toy they want. Pink is not inferior.

asmallandnoisymonkey Wed 22-Jul-15 13:47:04

I think it's a bit like feminists saying in one breath that girls should be allowed to be who they want and think how they like (something I totally agree with) and then in the next breath having a go at people for liking pink or giving anything vaguely pink to their daughters. Hypocritical much? I'm allowed to think how I like as long as it tallies with your world view on what I should and shouldn't like, eh.

Mehitabel6 Wed 22-Jul-15 13:47:36

I think that people should leave children to be children and wait and see their preferences. MN is the world gone mad- pink and frills out for girls but applauded if boys choose it!

MrsGentlyBenevolent Wed 22-Jul-15 13:55:36

Yes, unfortunately it's becoming the total opposite of my childhood (no, don't play video games, here's a barbie, you're a girl hmm). It's just as bad saying 'no pink! Don't you have any self respect?? The world won't show you any if you play with dolls and experiment with make up!!'. Let kids be kids, some are just naturally drawn to 'stereotypes', that's OK. They shouldn't have to worry they are disappointing their parents by what clothes they wear, books they read or toys they play with, especially if they seem to be 'confirming to society'.

ProcrastinatorGeneral Wed 22-Jul-15 13:56:07

I have children of both sexes. They share their junk. It works. The toddler plays dinosaurs and dolls with old toys of his big sister, they're all addicted to Lego and the toy kitchen is territory that's fought over quite often.

My eldest is a girl, I tried to minimise the barbie pink clothes but purely because there was so damn much of it and it's not a colour I like. She had plenty of paler pink, lilac and lemon and so on, so it's not as if I was anti-girl, just not in love with that specific shade of pink. As she grew most of her tee shirts tended to be from the boy half of the supermarket as she became obsessed with science fiction telly programmes. Now she's older she can have what she wants in a better fit from tee fury, ript and qwertee so it's all good.

My middle child, at the age of four went on a raid of his sisters wardrobe and stole all her party tutu skirts and spent a summer wearing them with a succession of dinosaur and doctor who tees.

Always their choices when they were able to express an opinion. I've tried to be pretty laid back.

midnightvelvetPart2 Wed 22-Jul-15 14:00:11

Its only on MN that the whole pink for girls thing is reviled, in RL my next door neighbour is pregnant & has found out that she's having a girl. Therefore everything must be pink, the clothes, pram, blankets, nursery, socks, toys everything. In my local Entertainer shop the girls' aisle is clearly delineated by having a pink floor, therefore my boys won't set foot in it as they are primary age & anything pink is immediately for girls, no matter what I say. I think that if the whole pink stuff for girls wasn't working then the marketing angle would have been changed by now. The fact is that it does work.

I see no problems in girls having pink toys, it annoys me however when something that is unisex such as Lego or a toy wheelbarrow or a VTech walker that was available in primary colours suddenly has a 'girls version' in pink, which parents then buy as its 'for girls'. Why produce more of one thing when the original was working perfectly well!

slightlyconfused85 Wed 22-Jul-15 14:00:36

I have a dd what was bought a wide range of gender neutral toys. She is now 2.8 and positively loves pink, glitter, princesses and fairies. This was her choosing, based on her preferences and perhaps those of her buddies at the childminder, and I don't care at all. Glad I haven't made a fuss either way and she will be who she will be

Raasay Wed 22-Jul-15 14:01:19

I have boy girl twins so we had all sorts of toys in the house and they were about 3 yo before they really understood which toys were personally theirs.

My DD played with trains and cars etc but preferred dolls and arts and crafts.

My DS was the other way about.

My DS is rough and tumble naturally but also very well mannered and caring.

My DD is very creative naturally but also a dab hand with tree climbing and sword fighting.

We've never made a big deal either way regarding gender norms. But they are being brought up in a feminist household where they are taught that men and women are equal and I'm as happy for my son to be a ballet dancer as I would be for my daughter to be a plumber.

One of my friends has brought her DD's up to eschew 'girly' things and as a result the older one really doesn't fit in at school. She won't play the girls games but the boys don't want to play with her. It's very difficult.

chrome100 Wed 22-Jul-15 14:02:58

I hate the demonisation of pink. Yes, it's good for females to have choices and not to be classed as "princesses" but the key is CHOICES. To say pink is bad is to suggest being female is bad and having male, tomboy traits is good.

I like make up and dresses and doing my hair, but I'm also an Engineer, like downhill mountain biking and hate cooking.

Encourage children to follow their interests, regardless of their gender.

FirstWeTakeManhattan Wed 22-Jul-15 14:03:11

The MN world is an odd one sometimes.

We have 2 DD and 1 DS, all under 8. We buy girls stuff, boys stuff, and neutral stuff. They all play with everything. No-one bats an eyelid if DS dresses as Jasmine, or if DD plays rugby all afternoon.

They can switch from acting out the story of Frozen with their dolls to climbing trees and building robots with Lego.

I don't push a big agenda with any of them, i just try to make sure they know they have choices.

Despite this, they can play very differently with the same toys. DD1 is much more emotive with her playing, and DS usually makes everyone have battles.

I'm also careful in the language I use with them, but the reality is that they can't live in a bubble and there's loads of powerful influences out there that filter through to them on different levels.

seaoflove Wed 22-Jul-15 14:03:29

It is very strange to me. Lots of mums come on here protesting about pink for girls yet no one cares about blue for boys

Exactly! The "Pink Stinks" campaign pisses me off, because is there a similar campaign for boys? Why so much snootiness and judgement over what a girl likes to do/wear/play with, whereas boys can do what they hell they like and nobody cares?

Ironic, isn't it? Almost like we're preparing girls for the kind of double standards they'll experience throughout their lives hmm

cailindana Wed 22-Jul-15 14:05:23

It is beyond bizarre that as a long standing feminist I have never once seen any feminist say girls shouldn't like pink or having a go at anyone for liking link and yet these threads come up all the time saying that's what feminists think. Where on earth has this come from???

maybebabybee Wed 22-Jul-15 14:09:08

what the hell is wrong with pink???

I'm a feminist, I'll wear/like/dress my DC in whatever fucking colour I like.

As a child I loved barbies/glitter/princess stuff. Doesn't appear to have done me any harm!

midnightvelvetPart2 Wed 22-Jul-15 14:21:01

Can I add, as I'm hearing my neighbour through the walls at the moment, its not just pink. Its the whole slew of things that comes with pink & the colour is indicative of a type of parenting that is at odds with mine.

My pregnant neighbour whom I mentioned above already has a girl & a boy. The girl is in Reception next year & she has been brought up fully in the pink for girls thing. On its own that's not too remarkable, however the pink stuff seems to go hand in hand with the belief that girls must be pretty & have long hair, they must be indulged & whilst her brother is made of sterner stuff & able to be told no, the girl when she's tantrumming must be placated & given in to to stop the tantrum, she must be daddy's little princess & daddy will say jokingly that he will kill all of her boyfriends as they won't be good enough for her. Her T shirts must all have a princess logo on as will their Baby on Board (Princess on Board pink) car sign. She is not a pleasant child to be around as my boys have tried to play with her & has grown up with the notion that a tantrum will get her what she wants, ime it always does when I have seen it, or her grandmother will promise her sweets or a new toy to stop it.

What I'm trying to say is that all-pink can be indicative of a lifestyle where a little girl is brought up to be a pampered princess expecting to find her Prince Charming. Mothers on MN are generally not that type of mother & we tend to raise our children to be rounded intelligent adults capable of forging ahead on their own whichever gender we raise. (sorry for referring to MN mothers as one huge amorphous blob). & as such, an all-pink attitude along with all of its trimmings & glitter tickers &' x Days until I Marry my Prince' are usually avoided or subverted by us as a conscious decision, hence our boys in fairy dresses & wellies grin

LainyC13 Wed 22-Jul-15 14:21:48

I'm currently pregnant and 3 days over due and friends were shocked that as a strong believer in feminism (as is my husband) that we painted our daughters nursery pink and brought pink clothes etc.

I've spent 10 years of my career in a male dominated business and have been very successful. I enjoy traditionally male hobbies- motorbikes, weight lifting etc. Yet you will rarely see me without a full face of make up & embrace being a woman!

My husband and I plan on bringing up an independent, strong willed daughter. Who's not defined by what colour her bedroom or clothes are...

goodnessgraciousgouda Wed 22-Jul-15 14:40:39

I don't think there is a problem with pink itself - more that it seems to be such a lazy, unimaginative option. Having a few things in pink, why not, but it suddenly becoming pretty much the only colour you buy is pretty vom inducing.

It's really a shame that there aren't more gender neutral clothes for newborns especially. Unless you go for yellow, white or grey, it seems to be really tough to find colourful stuff that isn't very specifically targeted to a particular sex. It's not a principle thing, but considering that many people wait until the birth too find out the sex of the baby, you'd think companies would have cottoned on to the fact that genuinely neutral options would sell well.

Blue is my favourite colour, so baby will get blue stuff regardless if boy or girl.

ILiveOnABuildsite Wed 22-Jul-15 14:44:02

I think it can be hard not imposing at least part of your own beliefs on your children. I never avoided pink for dd and she is quite a girly girl, does ballet, has a bright pink leotard for gymnastic, loves tiaras, wands and princess dresses. But she is also dinosaur mad and has chosen a green poncho dinosaur towel for herself this summer over girlier/princess ones and when I took her to buy a new umbrella she was adamant that she must have a Spider-Man one. I think she is a good mix overall.

maybebabybee Wed 22-Jul-15 14:46:28

I don't think there is a problem with pink itself - more that it seems to be such a lazy, unimaginative option.

Why pink more so than any other colour, that literally makes no sense whatsoever :S

liquidrevolution Wed 22-Jul-15 14:53:35

seaoflove there is a blue stinks campaign, but its not as well known...

I hate pink frilly stuff and don't dress my DD in it (it also does not suit her). We didn't know what we were having until I gave birth so everything was bright coloured anyhow.

However, she is only just turned 1, when she starts showing a preference (am thinking at around 2.5) I will be happy to buy her pink and frills. I just want her to have the option.

Except for lego friends, which I find very unecessary grin

museumum Wed 22-Jul-15 14:54:25

People don't complain about "blue for boys" because after the first year boys get to wear/have green and red and brown and orange. Their things like bikes and tools and mini adult stuff are normal adult colours.
Girls have everything made pink. Even Lego ffs!!!

Tbh in the first year I know a lot of boy mums who hunted for clothes not in pale blue.

SrAssumpta Wed 22-Jul-15 14:55:37

I really don't understand how people have so much trouble finding things for girls that aren't pink, DD didn't have one pink babygrow (though it's actually my favourite colour) and we had no trouble, it was definitely never an issue getting multicolours, stripes, polkadot, primary colours etc, I also can't understand why people talk about "girls sections" only having x, y and z you are also free to shop in the boys section. It's often ourselves making these limitations, plenty of clothes out there it doesn't matter a feck what department it's from.

museumum Wed 22-Jul-15 14:56:35

About three years ago I was at a big Brownie event. Probably around 2000 Brownies in waterproofs and wellies. Seriously there were less than a handful not in pink or purple!!
If a similar number of Cubs gathered I'm sure their jackets and wellies would be a sea of cour and not all blue.

SrAssumpta Wed 22-Jul-15 14:58:13

*People don't complain about "blue for boys" because after the first year boys get to wear/have green and red and brown and orange. Their things like bikes and tools and mini adult stuff are normal adult colours.
Girls have everything made pink. Even Lego ffs!!!*

Just because they make pink things doesn't mean it's mandatory and what's wrong with buying your daughter "boy" Lego?

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