This week I have come across the Pink Stinks campaign wherever I turn in the news – well done Abi and Emma! It’s great to see a small organisation really get the word out about their cause. I met the twins Abi and Emma Moore very briefly at the Everywoman conference last year when Pink Stinks had just been launched. I was impressed with both the passion and belief that they had for pink stinks and am pleased to see that they are getting a lot of support in their campaign.
Pink Stinks is a social enterprise that believes that girls are not achieving their full potential because they are being taught at a young age to conform to all being pretty, princesses or ballerina’s or fairy’s. They believe that the media’s obsession with stick-thin models, footballers’ wives, and overtly sexualised pop stars is denying girls their right to aspire to and learn from real role models. Pink Stinks wants to redress the balance by providing girls with positive female role models – chosen because of their achievements, skills, accomplishments and successes (this is pretty much taken word for word from their facebook page).
So what do we think of the Pink Stinks mission?
Generally I think it’s a good one. I’m always very supportive of anything that encourages girls to be independent, think for themselves and become more confident and I genuinely love their t-shirts (which you can buy here)
The problem that Pink Stinks have is that everyone is focusing on the anti-pink campaign and not the limited choices that this engenders. So while I think the priniciple is right, the message is getting lost as everyone is debating whether toys should be pink and NOT their core message that we need to give girls the right role models and positive choices.
In todays world, toy stores are more gender segregated than ever and I often despair of finding empowering toys for my 2 and 1/2 year old daughter; I personally would like more choice than than princess cookers, hoovers and baby dolls. I would like more dress up clothes for girls that are not princesses and fairies or god forbid nurses. Where are the girls Doctor outfits, Vet outfits, or police women?
Retailers frequently say that they are only providing what customers want, but I think this is a cop out. Retailers do have an obligation to provide choice and forcing all children to fit into a pink or blue mould is doing a disservice to both our boys and our girls. Let’s bring back a range of colours and options.
I do however think the gender stereotypes swing both ways, as evidenced by these magnetic words for boys and for girls (I first came across these on the Pinkstinks website). I’ll be honest, I think the girl ones are stomach churning, but the boys are equally lazy and formulaic. Personally, I find it easier to give my daughter boy toys than encourage my son to play with girl’s toys. The other day we stopped my son from putting a heart on an christmas card to his best friend (who is a boy). From his perspective he was just copying what one of his girl friends had done for him, and rather than allowing him to give his friend the card with the heart my husband and I suggested that he write out a new one and the words “boys don’t put hearts on cards to their friends” came out of my mouth. Where did that come from? Here, I am asking my son to conform to a societal male norm while at the same time encouraging my daughter to buck female ones. Thankfully, I’m aware the problem and actively working to adjust my own limiting views to give both my children the opportunty to be all that they can be and allow them to make their own choices in this world – hearts and all.
Does pink stink? No, most girls love it, but please give us more choice!