It isn't often that a news article really gets inside my head!
This one which simply has a photo of a young boy with pink nail varnish on his nails in a child's brand of clothes advert really makes you think. Not at face value, but when you look at some of the discussion and delve a little deeper, some of the implications begin to make you ask questions.
The article was in the Wall Street journal.
It is really worth a look and the comments just keep on coming.
It even spawned further discussion through 'The Mad Momma'
another blog I enjoy.
In my mind, pink for girls and blue for boys is rubbish. Kids like bright colours and it is often dependent on their characters as to how much attention they wish to pursue. BUT, and it is a big but, you cannot look at society without accepting the gender connotations that match with colour. These are so strong that children will throw tantrums if they don't have their favourite colour top or decide they are not thirsty if the drink is in the wrong colour cup!
I think parents need to lead in terms of pushing children to make their own choices but also be aware of the societal expectations. It is important to have gender differences, I still believe that a boy should be a boy and a girl should be a girl. Yes, as defined by society, but it allows you to enjoy the colours of grey in between too when you are happy with the understanding of who you are.
The point of this article, again in my mind, is that a parent perhaps should not portray their son in pink decorated and painted nails on a world stage. This is close to exploitation. The parent understands societies connotations, the child does not. The child however is subject to peer pressure and all the negativity that potentially surrounds his parent's choice.
Young children are not trend setters, multi national marketing companies are. Whilst they can manipulate kids into tweens wanting padded bras and boys wearing Ben Ten merchandise, a parent has to be more circumspect.
The idea of gender and how it can and has been manipulated by society is fascinating.
I think roleplay for kids is great fun and important. I think fathers having play fights with their daughters and painting boy's toenails with rainbow colours is great in the family home BUT on a global scale, sometimes there is a need to have closed doors for exploration of what a child wants to wear, do and how they act in public.