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Pink Uniforms for men.

(54 Posts)
TiggyD Wed 21-Nov-12 10:15:31

There are very few men working in nurseries. About 2% of the early years workforce are male. The reasons men give for not going into the sector are the low status of the job, low pay, and the fact that it's seen as women's work.
My question is this. Is it right for nurseries to choose pink as the colour of their staff's uniform?
It's not really combating the image of being women's work, but then again pink is just a colour and it shouldn't be seen as "women's", but it is and it will put men off, but it shouldn't...
This isn't a stealth campaign or a stealth moan. I really can't decide what I should think. At the moment I'm coming down on the side of pink not being helpful in not putting men off and nurseries would be better off avoiding it, but what do you think?

drjohnsonscat Wed 21-Nov-12 14:12:49

CailinDana is right. It is seen as demeaning for men to wear pink in a way that it's not demaning for women to wear blue. Because it's humiliating for a man to get too close to womanly things somehow where it's not humiliating for a woman to do manly things (because obviously being a man and manly things are better). I hope this is changing but it's not changing fast enough and it's limiting for men and women.

I don't think the nursery should have to change the colour because it underlines the thought that some things are ok for women but not for men. But on the other hand, it would be great to have more men in nurseries so don't want there to be any unnecessary barriers. Hopefully we will all get over all this rubbish one day and allow men to be nurturing as they are naturally anyway.

Durab Wed 21-Nov-12 14:24:21

The whole pink is for girls thing baffles me.

Toys and clothes are far more gender specific (mostly by making them pink) than they were when I was a child, despite the progress we've made in so many areas. OTOH my DS1 (11yo) and his friends wear loads of shocking pink and pink chinos seem to be all the rage among boys/young men. DH would be less keen, but it is worn my lots of men of his age. My Dad would be horrified if I bought him pink shirt.

TBH I think the real reason that childcare is not the done thing for men, is the poor pay. It's still something that mums do to supplement the family income - not a job for the main earner sad

GetAllTheThings Wed 21-Nov-12 14:29:22

My question is this. Is it right for nurseries to choose pink as the colour of their staff's uniform?

I don't think it's right. I don't really see why there should be any uniform tbh. Nobody ( including the one male ) at my dd's nursery wears a uniform.

I guess in one way it might show the youngsters that pink isn't an exclusively female colour, but there's obviously going to be some contention about it, where there wouldn't be with a more 'neutral' colour.

I would guess the motives behind it aren't considered and along the lines of making it gender neutral, I'd assume it's because they just didn't think about it very hard.

namechangeguy Wed 21-Nov-12 14:30:25

Re the rates of pay, I don't know what they are. What I do know is that friends have paid in excess of 1,000 pounds per month for full-time nursery care for a single child, so there does seem to be a lot of money within the industry. It obviously is not filtering down though. Do nursery owners just skim off huge profits, or are there large overheads?

OneMoreChap Wed 21-Nov-12 14:34:48

If you want to look at things like scrubs they come in all sorts of colours for all sorts or roles - and 3X is large.

TiggyD Wed 21-Nov-12 14:42:20

For a qualified nursery worker in my area of the home counties it's £14,000-£16,000 ish.
In my fantasy nursery I would offer polo shirts in blue, green, red, blue, yellow, orange and purple and let the staff choose just because I think a choice is nice.
I think the problem with young lads is because pink looks 'gay' rather than 'female'.

KRITIQ Wed 21-Nov-12 16:18:40

I don't think the colour or the look of a uniform will be the deal breaker for anyone who wants to go into a profession. Plenty of jobs involve wearing uncomfortable, silly or weird outfits, but people still do the jobs.

I think if you are looking for barriers, pay, status and promotion prospects are probably the main ones. In our patriarchal society, these are characteristics that men are supposed to value and they generally aren't conditioned to see caring as a suitable role for a man (a stupid shame.) So, they probably will have never been encouraged to think of such a career, by family, by teachers or by friends. In my experience, often move into caring professions later in life, perhaps when they've actually experienced caring for others and value it and have got to the point in life where pay and status aren't big deals for them.

drjohnsonscat Wed 21-Nov-12 16:27:28

I think it looks "gay" because it looks "female" iykwim. Two entirely distinct groups that some men need to distance themselves from in case they get tainted by gayness or femaleness.

namechangeguy Wed 21-Nov-12 18:37:49

I am not sure gay and feminine are necessarily the same look. Are you confusing homosexuality and cross-dressing? Most gay men appear to dress pretty much as men.

KRITIQ Wed 21-Nov-12 18:40:19

Well, yes, but that's deeply sad if about the worst insult or slight one can level at a man is to suggest that he is in any way like a woman. sad

In my view, homophobic in such a context are linked closely to the phenomenon of "male is what is not female." Being gay, or seen to be gay, is like being a proxy female and therefore, not "male" enough.

Seriously though, why is it THAT bad to be associated with female characteristics, even when it's meant to be a slur? My FIL is quite often misidentified as female, but it doesn't bother him any more than getting anything else wrong on a first impression. My ex DH also experienced this from childhood onwards but again, it was no biggie.

What's the deal?

LynetteScavo Wed 21-Nov-12 18:47:34

I think a pink polo shirt is way better than a tabard with bears on it. Or any tabard for that matter.

I have a loathing of tabards. - in fact I'm not keen on nurseries having a uniform, although I do see how they are easier for staff.

ATM pink is fashionable for men, but how long will that last?

But, yes, I think it is right (acceptable) that nurseries choose pink as the colour of their staff's uniform, if they chose to have a uniform. If young men have a problem wearing pink, then they are going to have a problem singing "I'm a little teapot" complete with actions.

OneMoreChap Wed 21-Nov-12 19:12:09

ATM pink is fashionable for men, but how long will that last?

I had a pink shirt in 1974, if it helps....

RiaOverTheRainbow Wed 21-Nov-12 23:40:55

I've only skimmed the thread, so apologies if I'm repeating anyone.

I think men so insecure in their masculinity that they'd turn down a job with a pink uniform are unlikely to want to work in early years at all.

Himalaya Thu 22-Nov-12 08:31:27

I must admit I would be put off by a nursery with pink uniforms. They must have thought "hmmm, we employ people in an area of work that is predominantly female, I know lets dress them in pink" - it does not bode well for them having enlightened ideas in general about girls and boys.

Plus what the OP said about making male staff feel like they are in the "wrong job".

namechangeguy Thu 22-Nov-12 09:34:21

Can I just say, as one of the weaker sex, that I have no problem with pink. I have a pink shirt on right now, at work, where people can see me. It's rather dashing, if I am honest.

Those people who think that my shirt is demeaning, or makes me more feminine, or identifies me as gay are living in the 1950's. An I am in my 40's, not some metrosexual 17 year-old with my jeans waistband round my knees.

KRITIQ Thu 22-Nov-12 11:44:41

Weaker sex? What's that? confused

grimbletart Thu 22-Nov-12 11:55:09

It's a variation KRITIQ on that well known saying "as a mere man...." To be seen frequently in angry letters to the Daily Fail grin

drjohnsonscat Thu 22-Nov-12 12:16:09

Kritiq, yes you've got the point I was trying to make. I'm not muddling up homosexuality and cross dressing! Of course not.

namechangeguy Thu 22-Nov-12 13:21:22

It was an attempt at levity, as was the dashing bit. It seems even my humour is weak sad

I do like as a mere man, grimble. I might appropriate that!

grimbletart Thu 22-Nov-12 14:04:26

Don't do that namechangeguy - it's a phrase seen everywhere and when read you absolutely know it is going to be followed by a stream of misogyny - and you are not one of those terrible chaps.

namechangeguy Thu 22-Nov-12 17:20:15

grin I am getting everything wrong today! Thanks for the warning.

GetAllTheThings Fri 23-Nov-12 11:12:15

Men who wear pink shirts earn more than those who don't apparently....

Twas on the Today program yesterday. Not sure how scientific the study was though and the only links I can find are The Express and The Daily Mail.

OneMoreChap Fri 23-Nov-12 11:24:44

Don't do that namechangeguy - it's a phrase seen everywhere and when read you absolutely know it is going to be followed by a stream of misogyny - and you are not one of those terrible chaps.

I shall cry...

grimbletart Fri 23-Nov-12 12:23:20

Ooh sorry OneMore.... of course I meant blokes not chaps grin

nannynick Fri 23-Nov-12 12:39:54

I feel a nursery should not have Pink or Blue as a main colour of their uniform or logo. I feel that young children quickly associate those colours with gender.

Tabbards are horrible. Wgen I temped in nurseries a black tabbard was part of the temp ahencies uniform. Incidently the other colours were: white polo shirt, red sweatshirt, black trousers, black shoes - that applied for all temps regardless of them being male or female.

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