Thursday, 16 October 2014

Minimising pink

This morning I was pretty disappointed, sadly not surprised, to read the TV show 'Family Feud' thought it appropriate to label particular types of jobs as male or female. Female jobs (according to survey questions posed to 100 Australians) included cooking, cleaning etc. You get the picture. While the answers are obviously disappointing, it is more outrageous that the questions were asked in the first place.

Having spent the last few years at work promoting women in engineering and women in leadership, I may be hyper-alert to gender stereotypes. However, it doesn't take an expert to realise that exposure to these stereotypes starts at birth. Girl babies are marked pink, boy babies are marked blue.

Right from day one with my daughter I committed to minimising the pink in her life. We hadn't found out the gender so everything we had before her arrival was unisex. However, as soon as the 'New Baby Girl' cards started arriving, I realised I had my work cut out. Everything was pink. Everything! It's not that I don't like pink. I do. I just also like green and blue and yellow and I don't think it's necessary for a girl to be labelled a girl by putting her in pink all the time.

As I was reading about this Family Feud debacle, J was playing with her gears toy. I was feeling pretty proud, thinking she was bucking the stereotype - doing some science. Right on cue she looks up and says, "Mummy, I need help putting in the yellow flower". So she calls the cogs flowers. That's ok, they do look like flowers. I hope the boys call them flowers when they grow up too.

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