Sick of Pink Stuff

Updated on January 20, 2013
S.M. asks from Zanesville, OH
12 answers

My husband says I overthink everything, and he's right, but I had to ask some other moms. Do your girls naturally tend towards pink toys, clothes, etc, or do you think they choose that stuff because they're "conditioned" to do so? I never liked pink, even as a child, my favorite color was blue. I still liked dresses and dolls, but I also played with matchbox cars and legos.

Ever since I found out my second child was a girl, I've been concerned about forcing her into sterotypes. So far I've been really pleased with how it's gone. She loves her baby dolls, but she also plays with her brother's construction toys and dinosaurs.

Then my mom got the kids big wheel bikes. My son got a blue & orange one, and my daughter got a pink & purple one. When they came in the room, they both went straight for the right bikes without asking. That bothered me just a little. Then I let my son pick out a present for his sister's birthday. Hhe wanted to get her a doctor kit, but he insisted on a pink one, because pink is for girls. I didn't protest, since he picked what he thought she would like, but I don't know where he picked up that idea. Next, my inlaws got the kids blocks for Christmas. My son got bright red & blue primary colors, and my daughter got pastel pink & purple. It's really starting to get to me. My daughter will play with all the blocks, but my son won't play with the "girl" ones. I'm ready to throw the blocks out the window!

I feel like I did a better job of this when my son was little. He loves the typical "boy" things, but one of his favorite toys is his play kitchen. I had a really hard time finding one that wasn't pink! We finally got one that was green & silver, and he still plays with it. When I paint my toenails, he begs me to paint his too, but he wants a "boy" color like blue or gray. What happened?

How can I make my family (especially grandparents) understand this without sounding like a paranoid weirdo? My daughter is such a free spirit. She refuses to let me do her hair, but she's obsessed with fancy shoes. She loves playing in mud, but she also likes to dress up like a princess. I don't want to push her into a corner!

EDIT: I need to clarify a few things. No I didn't mean that because I didn't like pink as a child, that I don't want my daughter to have any pink toys or clothes. But I want to give her the choice to gravitate towards certain colors as she chooses, not be pushed in one direction or the other. She wears a lot of pink clothes because she gets mistaken for a boy otherwise. I just don't think she needs a pink pastel version of every toy that her brother has.

A year ago, my son would sometimes say that his favorite color was pink, but now he insists that pink is for girls. I don't know when or how this happened, but it makes me sad that he's already being pushed into a certain mindset. We didn't get him a pink kitchen set because the grandparents would lose their minds, not my idea.

As for pink being a "girl" color and blue being a "boy color, historically that is a pretty new concept. Look it up if you're curious.

Also I'm not a free range, hands-off parent, not by a long shot, and we don't let the kids walk all over us. In regards to my daughter not letting me do her hair, she would sit down and let me comb it & put hairpins in, but as soon as I turn my back the hairpins are gone and her hair is a wild mess. That's just her preference, and I choose not to turn it in to a battle every single day.

What can I do next?

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answers from Boston on

It is so hard and you can't change grandparents. I was better abt this w my first too. My 2nd is more girl and grandma loves it. No answers but sympathy from me.

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answers from Augusta on

well it doesn't matter what you like.
It only matters what she likes.
If she likes pink then let her wear it or have things that are pink.
If your son doesn't want to play with pink toys don't make him.
It only matters what they like. It's not about you.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

Well, you are buying into this stereotype too. You didn't buy the pink kitchen for your son. And I imagine it goes beyond the idea that you just don't "like" pink.

We managed to avoid pink for a long time with our daughter. Then around 2, when she was learning her colors she decided that pink and purple were her favorite colors. She started telling everyone this and THEN we started getting the pink and purple toys. No different from our son, he started telling everyone his favorite color is orange....the toys and clothes started coming in shades of orange.

My son is "all boy". He also thinks pink is a "girl" color, no matter what we try to say to him. But he can often be found playing house or kitchen with his sister. He's even been spotted using her doll house. So I am far happier seeing that he isn't falling into the trap of those types of gender stereotypes, than worrying about boy colors and girl colors.

The idea of "boy" colors and "girl" colors comes up pretty quick in preschool. That's probably where your son gets the idea. Look in a toy store...the "girl" toys are often in aisles with pink signs and labels. The "boy" toys are blue.

I wouldn't over think it. Your right, it is not necessary to get everything in pink. And sometimes it gets to be a bit much. Sometimes is a bit nauseating. I would just avoid it where you can. Exchange toys if you feel like that's an option and not stress too much over colors.

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answers from Los Angeles on

IMHO, There is such a thing as taking this type of thinking you have here, too far. Be careful.

I fundamentally disagree with your anger towards this issue. Pink is a 'girl' color and boys and girls ARE different. Both are true statements and both are OK.

Instead of throwing the blocks out the window, so to speak, I would focus on teaching both your kids that they can play with any color they wish. That yes, generally speaking pink is for girls and blue is for boys, in the respect that it is a cute way to distinguish the two but that it is absolutely fine for girls to play and like blue and for boys to play and like pink.

This is not an evil idea(lism) that is out to get you or your kids.
Do not let your issue with this take over and have too much power, then you will come across as a 'paranoid weirdo', to use your words.

~I almost didn't respond. I was put off by the way you come across in this post. Just b/c you do not/did not like pink as a girl, that means that your daughter can't and won't either? And it is like nails on a chalkboard for me to hear people say "she refuses to let me" < fill in the blank>. Hello? You are the parent. Exclaiming that your child is a 'free spirit' is no justification for not teaching your child(ren) that you are the parent and that you set the rules. If you want your child to sit still so you can brush her hair than make it so.
Just my .02 cents worth. take it or leave it. I will step down from my soapbox now----->if it makes you feel any better you can push me off! ;)

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Indianapolis on

My favorite color is purple.

Hubby loves to buy everything in pink for our girls.

In the end, it doesn't matter!

You yourself admit that you bought your son a play kitchen but avoided the pink one. WHY? Why is it ok to buy the "boy colors" for a play kitchen but not "girl colors" for blocks or a bike?

I think this is your issue. And you need to stop projecting it onto your children. My mother forced me to wear dresses and do all those girly things. And now at 26 I don't even own a dress. Your children will like what they like, no matter what you do.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Grand Forks on

I'm not a fan of the colour pink. I find it really refreshing when I see little girls dressed in green and blue etc. When I was a girl I loves blue and orange. If I had a girl I would not have purchased a lot of pink stuff because I would want gender nuetral items that would be used by boys as well. I wouldn't make a boy wear his sisters hand me down pink boots or sit in her hand me down pink car seat etc. I'm sure many girls will choose pink because they are conditioned to it through marketing, and because their friends have pink and it is natural to want to be like your friends. It is fashionable for girls to like pink. Boys also want to be like other boys. It's normal. There is a difference. I'm not saying that a boy should not wear pink or have pink things, but he shouldn't be forced to.

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answers from Pittsburgh on

My son is a pretty cool 8 yo if measured by the yardstick of today's children, AND parents. He is a great athlete(sadly this is most important I have found), extremely intelligent and is very sweet. And his favorite color is pink. Whenever there is a color choice that is what he goes with. That he has never cared what people thought speaks to his confidence in himself and that he is not a follower. This is the value that I have worked to instill rather than any gender-equality type of thing. Maybe that's because I don't have girls in the mix-who knows. It just doesn't bother me at all. I love pink and am proud of it. Hate blue and always have. My theory is that our color choices are a little bit pre-wired and for whatever reason the blue side of the wheel apeals to males more.
I think if I had a daughter I would probably teach her to be proud of who she is-even her love of pink. As a woman in 2013 I just feel that we should have surpassed that kind of thing.

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answers from Washington DC on

I don't specifically buy or hate pink. My DD is just as likely to play with Transformers and dinos as she is to dress up frilly. Does she like pink? Sure. And purple and green. I would simply tell them that you understand that they were going for "cute" but there's no reason DD can't use regular colored blocks and it causes less fighting if all the blocks are the same. Small differences have been the bane of mothers for centuries. But I also wouldn't overthink a pink bike. My DD has a pink trike, but a red/blue shopping cart.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

I like the color pink but I do think it has been WAY overdone in the past ten years or so.
Honestly, I think toys are marketed more to moms than kids, and there are a lot of moms who love to make their girls as girly as they can.
I still remember my MIL giving me a hard time for painting the nursery blue, with white trim. I didn't know the sex of the baby (I never wanted to) and she was just beside herself, but what if it's a girl!?
I said, well blue is MY favorite color and the baby's not gonna care one way or another, right?
Like anything else I think it's only an issue if you make it one.
One of the best things you can do to keep these "influences" from affecting your children too much is to 1) only watch commercial free TV and 2) never take them toy shopping. Pick out the toys yourself, without them, you know what they like anyway!

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answers from Honolulu on

I didn't get wadded up about it when my kids were born and little.
I have a boy and girl.
My firstborn is a girl.
SHE liked pink. SHE liked girly things. SHE chose what she likes. Now at 10 years old, she likes blue, but still pink or purple sometimes.

My son, was born 2nd. Into a home, that has an older sister. Things in the house were PINK and GIRLY stuff.
My son does not like pink.
He likes "boy" stuff.

With both my kids, they are who they are. They are themselves. They are not told by me what color or toy they should like. THEY choose.
My son is a total boy.
My daughter is a total girl.
BUT they both have... toys and things of both genders. They each have their own color preferences.
My daughter likes Hot Wheels cars. And plays it with her brother.
My son likes the "Littlest Pet Shop" toys. And plays it with his sister.
So what.
I don't manipulate it or them into being gender neutral or ambiguous.
They are, themselves. And they are free spirits too. Most children, are.
I don't over think this.

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answers from Washington DC on

I am totally there with you. I hate how people, society, whatever, feel the need to color code girl stuff pink. I dislike that there are pink soccer balls, pink baseball bats, pink Legos to denote that these are toys/equipment for girls. To me, it almost sets up a "separate but equal" situation between boys and girls. Of course, boys and girls are different, but they aren't so different that they need to kick different color soccer balls.

The book "Cinderella Ate My Daughter" does a much better job articulating this frustration than I could. But I completely agree with you. It is one thing if our daughters choose pink for themselves, but to limit their choices to pink and purple before they really have a preference is not something I want to do.

I had put a purple and orange balance bike on my daughter's wish list for her second birthday. Yes, this was the "boy version." I intended on having her use her brother's old Elmo bike helmet. My friend - who is a girly girl herself and is raising her daughter to be the same - insisted on getting us the pink version of the bike and giving us her daughter's Disney princess helmet. I exchanged the bike, and the helmet is sitting unused in our garage.

I think if you just keep it to "Can we explore more color options other than pink and purple for our daughter?" and leave the whole boy/girl thing out of it, you'll likely find a more receptive audience when it comes to the grandparents. My friends and family know my feelings on the subject, but people will do what they want to do. We haven't banned pink in our house by any means. I'm sure some people think I'm being a little ridiculous, but hey, they're my kids. I'll raise them how I want. I do get teased that my daughter will often say her favorite color is pink if she's asked. That is totally fine with me, because at least I know that she chose it herself out of several options that she has been given. She's only 2. We have plenty of time for her to marinate herself in pretty pretty pink princesses. While I still have a lot of say, I'm going to let her see that there are a lot more colors on the spectrum.

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answers from Washington DC on

your attitude is the right one, but don't get so wedded to it that it turns into rigidity from the other end of the spectrum. you can't totally weed out societal influences, nor should you. but you can calmly and consistently counteract the ones you don't like.
don't make a big deal of it. the way you handled it when your son got the doctor's kit is the right one. you can (in a calm moment when the subject arises naturally) let the family know how you feel, but don't try to dictate what they do. your discussions on the topic with your kids are taking root even if it seems your son is bucking you (that too is healthy in a very frustrating way.) let him work through it in his own time, with your strong quiet pov resonating in the background.

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