Part Six of I-Don’t-Know-How-Many in a series of posts inspired by “Miss Representation.” If you haven’t seen the trailer for this movie, and you have 8 minutes, please watch it here now.
Mention the phrase, “pink legos” and stand back. (Did I mention you should have popcorn handy?)
I’ve already blogged about my defense of pink. Readers (in the double digits! Go, me!) have read about it. It doesn’t seem to be taking hold across the nation, yet, though.
Girl On Saturday,(aka, “Penis Mom”) – my new hero, by the way – tweeted that she may have her angry feminist card revoked for buying pink legos for her girl. Miss Representation’s twitter feed is has quite a few angry tweets about this (new?) campaign of marketing pink Legos to girls. They have a hashtag devoted to calling out marketers and manufacturers who demean girls and women, called #NotBuyingIt. As in, if they send sexist messages, you shouldn’t buy the product. I’m right there with them. Go Daddy can suck an egg. But such anger towards pink? Please allow me to offer an alternative.
Buy them. Buy the pink legos. But buy them for boys.
Hear me out. Please, I am begging you…hear me out.
When I was in elementary school, my dad had a rehearsal with his students at our apartment over Christmas break. The show was “Jesus Christ Superstar,” and these were high school kids. He was telling me about how great these kids were, and how I was going to swoon and fall in love – IN ABSOLUTE LOVE – with the kid who played Pontius Pilate. “I’m telling you, Aliza, you are going to want to MARRY this guy,” or something like that.
When he rang the doorbell, my dad let me answer the door. When I did, I was not prepared for what I saw. He was not a kid. He was at least 8 feet tall (to me, anyway.) He had a full moustache and beard (it was the 70s.) And he was black. Dark black. Standing in front of me was the blackest black black blackity black man I’d ever seen in my short life. Handsome, true…but that was not what I took away from that experience.
Intentional or not, my dad sent me the message that it was okay for white people to fall in love with black people. Not just okay…it was fine. Not just fine. It was fine with HIM. And while at that age, I wasn’t considering the complexity of race relations, it did make me wonder why I had assumed the kid would be white. Mostly, I walked away from that shrugging, and thinking “Gee – I guess I can marry a black guy if I wanna – that’s kinda cool…” The revelation was transformative, shaping my thinking and outlook to this day.
Wondering what this has to do with pink legos?
Consider the message would you be sending if you bought pink legos for boys.
- To the manufacturer, you’d be letting them know their marketing is off base and outdated. That EVERYTHING can be manufactured in bold colors or pastels, and that either gender should be encouraged and shown to be buying whatever color appeals to them.
- To little boys, you’d be sending them the message that girls shouldn’t have the market cornered on pink. It is simply a color in the spectrum, just like blue is. (Boys don’t have the market cornered on blue, anymore, do they?) It is not just okay for them to like and use pink – it is FINE. Just like my dad sent my young brain the message that there is nothing (or should be nothing) out of the ordinary for whites to marry blacks.
Imagine the ripple effect of this over time. Perhaps girls would be further empowered if we weakened the stranglehold pink has on both genders. Maybe a boy who liked pink wouldn’t be afraid to wear it. Maybe his friends would be less likely to make fun of him. Maybe being accused of doing something “like a girl” would no longer be considered an insult. Maybe pink and other pastels would regain their rightful places in the color spectrum.
So go ahead and buy the pink legos if your girl likes them. Buy them for your boys if it has never occurred to them. The younger the boy, the better. You will be planting the seed early. Pink does not equal girl. Girl does not equal inferior.
I admit, though another motivation for pushing this trend. I get the subversive psychic giggles at the thought of the photos being uploaded to the Lego website. Photos of dads buying pink legos for their sons. And pictures of the boys playing with them. Do it. It’ll drive the ad execs crazy.