That blue and pink gender thing

Today Ingrid talks about the blue v pink thing we force on our kiddies…

As the silly season is upon us and people look to buy Christmas presents (as usual I’m leaving everything to the last minute) I thought I’d weigh in on the whole gender neutral toy debate.

Personally, I was always a so-called ‘Tom boy’ when I was younger – climbing trees, playing bullrush and getting dirty. I had a couple of dolls but my mum never got me or my sister a barbie. I for one am happy about that – my sister on the other hand always felt like she missed out. Goes to show that not all girls are the same. And while I did have a couple of dolls I also loved playing with my Lego trainset and my He-man sword (this was often with my childhood best friend – who happened to be a boy).

I think it’s hard to avoid the whole dolls vs cars thing, especially as your children get given presents by others that you don’t get to choose. This is part of the reason why I love giving books as presents (even though books are obviously often targeted at girls or boys as well).

I like the idea of not forcing the girl/boy stereotypes and trying to balance this with what your child is naturally drawn towards.

I heard someone on the radio talking about their three daughters who played with dolls and grew up to be a scientist, a doctor and an engineer. That would suggest that dolls don’t maketh the career..

I’m factoring all this stuff in with raising my son (who’s not even 2), but think the feminist values (and by feminist I’m referring to believing that everyone should be treated equally regardless of gender) I’ll try and instil in him will be way more important for his life journey than any cars or dolls he may play with along the way.

And just finally on that whole pink versus blue debate (wasn’t that the point of this article?). Personally I’ve always preferred blue myself, and even remember hating being dressed in pink from an early age. There was actually a time when pink was for boys and blue was for girls (see more here). Not to mention that one of Italy’s national soccer teams, Palermo, has pink as its colour. This means 11 grown men running around in pink soccer jerseys. And they still manage to win matches.

I think this intricate chart from I fucking love science sums it up pretty well :


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  1. Great read! Very interesting to think about! So true about the people buying you presents thing! I did recently buy a friend’s daughter a cool blue car. I bought cause I thought it looked cool and fun but when it came to giving I did feel I needed to justify so I didn’t offend- my own insecurity from the whole pink blue thing clearly! my friend and her daughter both loved it! I will def keep in mind what you said with future gifts!

    • I definitely find myself falling into buying stereotypically pink or blue presents, but try to challenge myself not to.

  2. Great article Ingrid. So true, we never had much pink in the house until my daughter was born and now my 2yo son loves it. I’m happy to let him have the pink cup/plate/toy because I don’t think it matters at all. Today my husband had a pink shirt on and master 2 said “Daddy’s got a pink t-shirt. Lucky Daddy!” I think I need to buy him a pink t-shirt 🙂

    • Thanks! Yeah, my little man is often attracted to what might be considered stereotypically ‘girl’ toys. I have no problem with it but hubby is not so keen. I’m still working on him!

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