Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Stereotyping.

There is an interesting article in Times 2 today, really as a result of the birth of our new Princess, Charlotte, Elizabeth, Diana.  It is all about the stereotyping of boys and girls and I do so totally agree with every word of it, so I am going to attempt to give you my views.   It will be difficult not just to paraphrase the article, but I will do my best.

For the last couple of decades or so little girls seem to have been conditioned to wear pink.   Now that we have a new princess I have no doubt at all that within a week or so all the shops selling clothes for babies and little girls will be absolutely choked with pinkness.   Look at how when the Duchess of Cambridge wears an 'off the peg' dress rather than a designer number, the shops sell out of that particular number within a couple of hours.   There is absolutely no accounting for the daftness of women sometimes.

So it is to be hoped that they will resist the temptation to dress her in that girly pink.   Yesterday in the ice cream parlour I noticed a little girl of around six or seven in a bright pink and white spotted
dress, which could only be described as a party dress.   She was wearing it with silver shoes and her hair was tied up with bright pink ribbons.  I am sure she had deliberately chosen to wear that outfit (I tried to imagine my own mother giving in to my desires to wear anything other than what had been put out for me to wear on a specific day!!).   To add to that her finger nails were already pink-polished.

I just don't remember anything like this when I was a child.   Clothes-rationing and lack of money contributed largely to what we all wore.    School uniform came first, then the new best frock for the Sunday School Anniversary and then a new Winter coat (I would always have grown out of last year's).  My mother had, as it happens, a hatred of pink, so my best dress was never pink, and never pretty and frilly(which I always wanted).   I particularly remember one green and white striped linen dress with a detachable white collar, which I wore with white shoes and with a straw boater hat with a green ribbon.  (oh, how I longed for a straw bonnet, such as was fashionable in those days - one with flowers round the brim).   She always told me I was not a bonnet kind of girl - I suppose she was right, or I was conditioned to believe it, because I have never worn those kinds of clothes since.

Baby Charlotte will be brought up as a country child at their new home  on the Sandringham estate.   Hopefully she will be brought up in dungarees and wellies and mixing with horses and dogs.  if the young couple follow that line then hopefully the fascination with pink for a girl and with silly girly clothes will fade for ever.   Princess Anne managed it with her daughter Zara; let's hope that the young couple follow suit.





21 comments:

Kristi in the Western Reserve said...

My younger daughter and her husband were determined to have no gender stereotyping and never dressed their girls in pink. But the younger, Clara, is a very "girly girl" and made them a bit sad when they began to teach them the names of colors and she began to refer to pink as "the pretty color". But your new Princess's mother left the hospital dressed in a very springlike yellow print and I think they will steer clear of the problems you fear.

Gwil W said...

A van load of pink paint was delivered to the ranch a couple of weeks ago. I managed to pick the 2nd and 3rd names for the baby but not the first. So I guess Paddy Power won't be losing any sleep over it. I suspect Georgie and Charlie will have to learn that nursery song about pink and blue toothbrushes when they are a little bit older.

Pondside said...

It's never really bothered me, how people raise their boys and girls, just so long as they raise them to be kind.

MorningAJ said...

Nobody has ever treated me as a 'girlie' girl. What used to wind me up was that my mother would dress me as a miniature version of my sister. (I guess she hated it too.) I can remember two particularly annoying blue and white numbers that were a sort of gauzy stuff with white flock on them. But pink never happened.

I DID have a lovely skirt with a border of penguins around the hem. I loved that.

donna baker said...

I really don't think you can make the child girlie or not. Some little girls just like all the girlie things and some don't. My son wouldn't wear flannel or corduroy ; I couldn't believe it. He was just a tike, but refused. My granddaughter loves to dress up, but mostly just wants to runs round naked and hates to have her hair brushed.

Mac n' Janet said...

I was never a girly/girly, more of a tom boy. My Mom bought us clothes made to last, particularly shoes. I still don't wear much pink.

Joanne Noragon said...

I think we are more inclined these days to let children experiment with their likes and dislikes. My granddaughters certainly are full steam down that path, and it would be a waste of energy to deter them.

Simon Douglas Thompson said...

I'm sure the Princess will be given a shotgun as soon as her eyes are properly open!

Becca McCallum said...

Interestingly enough, blue used to be seen as a 'girl' colour because the Virgin Mary was always depicted in blue, and red was popular for boys because it was supposed to be manly, akin to red (Mars the God of War, etc). Somewhere around the beginning of the 20th century it switched around.

Heather said...

How times have changed. I think, apart from shoes, school uniform and underclothes, I often wore hand-me-downs and a new winter coat caused great excitement on my part. I don't like to see little girls being dressed ahead of their years. It seems to deny them part of their childhood. I am sure our new Princess will be reared with commonsense and lots of love.

angryparsnip said...

What a great post today. I have a lot to say about colors and how we use them.
I have so much to say that I think I will write a post about it.
I think a lot has to do with the parents foibles and the child's own make up.
I think raising compassionate intelligent children is important.


cheers, parsnip

The Weaver of Grass said...

Goodness me - suddenly my comment box has moved to the top - don't know why.

Thanks for your contribution - now we shall all go over and read Parsnip's post on the subject.

Elizabeth said...



Yes, much too much pink altogether . Gretchen loves it but is always very grubby as well which I consider healthy!

I always had to wear my school winter coat in the holidays because my frugal mother thought it was 'extravagant' to have two. Anything extravagant was considered a bit unsuitable....
handmedowns were good.
How I longed for a fluffy 'bolero' like Waverney Heanley and Stephanie Bright had!
I had to wear a friable cardigan over my party dresses.
I'm sure all your commentators could go on for hours.....
my role model was George in The Famous Five who was a girl but everyone took as a boy!
Who was your children's literature role model?

John Gray said...

Children have a great deal of autonomy about themsekves today......
I wore what was given me AND NO MESSING

JoAnn ( Scene Through My Eyes) said...

But what if you adore pink? Both my daughters chose pink on their own - without any help from me. My oldest daughter now sorts her laundry by lights, darks and pinks. And she is almost 50 - and just adores pink. I think raising kind, respectful and generous kids outweighs what color they are dressed in.

Cro Magnon said...

And let's hope that they keep her away from the limelight too. They do seem to be doing that already with George. I think they're quite a sensible couple.

thelma said...

Perhaps we should ask whether it is the children's fault for liking pink or whether it the manufacturers who dictate fashion. I stopped and looked at dozens of 'fairy' long dresses at Asda yesterday (wondering whether I would have been happy in them as a child) and decided that they were a bit like sweeties and this attracted little girls. My own two grand daughters have always had their own 'style' and pink does not feature...

The Weaver of Grass said...

Thanks to you all - some very interesting replies.

Frugal in Derbyshire said...

Brilliant Post
I could write a HUGE comment on this post, it has inspired so many thoughts!. I have two girls, who I tried not to influence into girlyness. They are both very different in some ways (one a firefighter, one an office manager)but both are feisty while feminine girls.
My grand daughters are similar, but the younger one (age 10) definitely was influenced by the pink, princessy thing, only recently coming out of this as she is permanently seated on her pony now.
Regarding clothes when we were young. I only had hand-me-downs from my older sister for a few years as I soon became bigger than her! My mother was an excellent dressmaker and was brilliant at smocking too, I remember most of my dresses as being smocked. We had a new coat and shoes each Easter. bought from the Co-op with coupons mother my had saved with "The Co-op Man".

Minigranny said...

I do agree with you on this - hate to see little girls in styles that are too old for them!! For me it was mainly hand me downs and I was a tomboy so always ended up rather scruffy and grubby!! My daughter avoided pink like the plague with her two until they started to ask why they couldn't have pink !!

galant said...

The strange thing, historically when pink (an invented colour) first became available as a material from which clothes could be made, it was a masculine colour. Personally, I dislike it for clothes but it's a wonderful colour when used (carefully used, I might add) in interior decoration. Even the great interior designer, John Fowler used it to great aplomb in Wilton House.
I once had a very pale shell pink dress when I was about 20, from a very good shop in Torquay, but the pinkness was mitigated by rows of vertical black lace down the bodice (it was a shirt waister, the kind that Audrey Hepburn might've worn) and around the peter pan collar. I loved it. And when I was about 12, I pestered the life out of my mother for a 'shocking pink' dress for my first grown up party. I'd heard of the colour 'shocking pink' based on Schiaparelli's famous colour (and her perfume 'Shocking') and so my mother had one made for me by a friend in a sort of pink satin. I loved it but I suspect it was quite hideous!
Margaret P