I was in the elevator headed out to walk my dog when the doors opened and there was a little girl in full Spider-man regalia on her bike. She had short hair but I knew instantly that she was a girl.
I remember loving Spider-man (I knew every word to the theme song). Her mother entered the elevator and said, "she's a girl. I know she doesn't look like a girl but she's a girl". I replied, "she looks like a girl...a cool girl. I loved Spider-man when I was little".
The look of disappoint on this mother's face saddened me. I thought about how hard is was going to be for this little girl NOT to wear pink and play with dolls. Gender stereotyping is so strong in this culture...but two moms are working to change that.
Abi and Emma Moore - sisters and mothers of girls - started Pinkstinks a campaign to raise awareness about the damaging gender stereotyping of children.
They were concerned about the pink-is-for-girls blue-is-for-boys dichotomy - how bright-colored "boys" toys tended to focus on work and outdoor activity while pink "girls" things were domestic and homely. Even more alarming was a new range of beauty toys aimed at girls as young as 3.
"Girls' toys are very much about being in front of a mirror. Beauty parlours, makeup, brushing your hair," Abi says, pointing to a catalogue featuring toddlers in a pink bedroom scene, hair dryers and vanity cases on the dressing table. Emma says: "Think for one minute about sitting your three-year-old down at one of these beauty tables and giving her a makeup set. What is that telling her? By the time she's 16 or 17 she wants a boob job, her bum done, her vagina vajazzled."
Slap, Pinkstinks' newest campaign, calls on retailers to move makeup out of the pre-school bracket and to stop giving it away free with other products. More importantly, the campaign targets parents who, Emma says, "must start thinking more about this, because if this isn't the sexualisation of children, I don't know what is."
I hated pink when I was a girl. I resented getting dolls on christmas morning. I wanted to play with my brother's Hot Wheels speed track. Girl toys were boring. Bravo ladies...bravo.