Highlights

  • Around the 1940s, the idea of pink for girls and blue for boys was born
  • Gendered toys can be harmful to children in the long run
  • California became the first state in the U.S. to ask retailers to display toys in gender-neutral ways

Latest news

India Vs England: Pujara shines as India extend lead past 250

India Vs England: Pujara shines as India extend lead past 250

Tennis stars come together for Wimbledon’s Centre Court Centenary Celebrations

Tennis stars come together for Wimbledon’s Centre Court Centenary Celebrations

Over 12,000 employees sacked by India startups in 2022: report

Over 12,000 employees sacked by India startups in 2022: report

'Attacks on judges for verdicts dangerous': SC judge who heard Nupur Sharma plea

'Attacks on judges for verdicts dangerous': SC judge who heard Nupur Sharma plea

Team India Captain Rohit Sharma out of quarantine

Team India Captain Rohit Sharma out of quarantine

Blurring the pink and blue lines: Is gender neutral play for children the way forward?

Decades of socialisation have led us to believe that boys wear blue, have short hair and play with trucks, whereas girls like pink, grow their hair long and play with dolls. But do kids really want that?

Pink is for girls. Blue is for boys. Decades of socialisation have led us to believe that boys wear blue, have short hair and play with trucks, whereas girls like pink, grow their hair long and play with dolls.

Also watch: Playground of influence: the business of kidfluencing is a ticking time bomb

The rise of the pink and blue gender myth

Around the turn of the 20th century, toys were rarely marketed to different genders. By the 1940s, manufacturers quickly caught on to the idea that wealthier families would buy an entirely new set of clothing, toys and other gadgets if the products were marketed differently for both genders. And so the idea of pink for girls and blue for boys was born.

Today, gendered toy marketing is stark. Walk down any toy aisle and you can clearly see who the audience is. The girl aisle is almost exclusively pink, showcasing mostly Barbie dolls, kitchen sets and princesses. Conversely, the boy aisle is mostly blue and features trucks and superheroes. Toys marketed to boys tend to be more aggressive and involve action and excitement. Girl toys, on the other hand, are usually pink and passive, laying more emphasis on beauty and nurturing.

Why can’t boys play with barbies and girls play with fire trucks?

This is a question for the toy industry where clichéd views have become the norm. From the moment a child is born, friends and family innocently buy gendered baby products.

But do kids really want their toys dictated by gender norms? There is no such thing as boy stuff and girl stuff. Toys don’t have a gender and let’s not assign them one. The idea is to encourage children to pursue their interests, without being burdened by societal expectations based on gender. Gendered toys can be harmful to children in the long run, limiting their growth & career choices and discouraging them from trying out different things.

Moving beyond pink and blue: A gender-neutral environment

Our views and opinions on what children should and shouldn’t play with are a product of hidden social rules many of us feel should be followed. But it’s time we were made to see that toys should be universal.

The good news is that many have started to move away from this ideology by making simple changes. California became the first state in the U.S. to require large retailers to display toys and childcare items in gender-neutral ways.

Similarly, a campaign group in the U.K. ‘Let Toys Be Toys' has been lobbying the toy industries to stop limiting children’s interests along gender lines.

Apart from that, many organisations including Lego are working towards bringing about the change. Lego has also announced that it will work to remove gender stereotypes from its toys after a global survey. While Lego has vowed to end gender disparity in its toys by 2022, another organisation, Mattel, launched a line of gender-inclusive dolls for kids in September 2019.

Creating a gender neutral play space

Times are changing, but are we ready to let go of our gendered lens? There’s more to gender equality than allowing girls to study and boys to choose feminine pursuits like baking. Perhaps, taking away the lens of gender from parenting will pave the way for a more equal world, where young boys won’t be ridiculed for wanting to be a princess.

Also watch: Societal stereotypes prevent women from choosing STEM careers

Up Next

Blurring the pink and blue lines: Is gender neutral play for children the way forward?

Blurring the pink and blue lines: Is gender neutral play for children the way forward?

The rise and fall of the Maha Vikas Aghadi

The rise and fall of the Maha Vikas Aghadi

Decoded | India invites foreign investment as Davos World Economic Forum reflects global conflict

Decoded | India invites foreign investment as Davos World Economic Forum reflects global conflict

Decoded | Quad Summit 2022: Can the Quad counter China in the Indo Pacific?

Decoded | Quad Summit 2022: Can the Quad counter China in the Indo Pacific?

Decoded | Sedition law explained: Time for 'colonial baggage' to go?

Decoded | Sedition law explained: Time for 'colonial baggage' to go?

USA: 20-year mega-drought, worst in 1,200 years, continues; water scarcity lessons for India?

USA: 20-year mega-drought, worst in 1,200 years, continues; water scarcity lessons for India?

More videos

Decoded | The life and death of Sidhu Moose Wala

Decoded | The life and death of Sidhu Moose Wala

Decoded | Texas school shooting: the problem with America's gun culture

Decoded | Texas school shooting: the problem with America's gun culture

Decoded | Getting a foreign degree: what do the numbers say?

Decoded | Getting a foreign degree: what do the numbers say?

Decoded | Can judicial reforms enable the delivery of swift justice?

Decoded | Can judicial reforms enable the delivery of swift justice?

Explained: how Russia is obstructing delivery of weapons to Ukraine

Explained: how Russia is obstructing delivery of weapons to Ukraine

Decoded | FM Nirmala Sitharaman's outreach at Silicon Valley: Be part of India's growth story

Decoded | FM Nirmala Sitharaman's outreach at Silicon Valley: Be part of India's growth story

Decoded: India rubbishes NYT article on Covid death toll calculation by WHO

Decoded: India rubbishes NYT article on Covid death toll calculation by WHO

Ukraine Invasion | Biden calls Putin a 'war criminal': Who is a war criminal and what happens

Ukraine Invasion | Biden calls Putin a 'war criminal': Who is a war criminal and what happens

EJ explainer: India's precautionary shot, world's booster shot - is there a difference?

EJ explainer: India's precautionary shot, world's booster shot - is there a difference?

Amid Omicron scare, what is this talk about Delmicron? Here's all you need to know

Amid Omicron scare, what is this talk about Delmicron? Here's all you need to know

Editorji Technologies Pvt. Ltd. © 2022 All Rights Reserved.