by Eva St. Clair December 03, 2017
Pink has now become so strongly identified with femininity and in particular, being a girl, that to select something in pink is symbolic of identifying as a girl. It means that a child looking at the two shields isn’t seeing just a pink shield and just a red one, and choosing the color they’d rather have. It means that the child is saying “I’m a girl and I like this shield” or “I’m not a girl and I like this shield.”
by Eva St. Clair July 12, 2017
It’s hard to dissuade her of other conclusions that she’s drawn - she’s already figured out that pink means “for girls.” This is confusing to her because she and her brothers play with dolls and tea sets and other things that come in pink boxes, so she doesn’t seem to think that the actual toys are limited to girls. There are always girls and boys in the non-pink aisles. But observational data to the contrary about the pink aisle is weak. I’m struggling with all four kids to get them to see beyond pink - which brings me to the worst offender of all...
by Eva St. Clair May 02, 2017
My daughter is a little obsessed with pandas.
For her birthday last year, I bought her a toy panda family - parents and four kids. They came sweetly dressed in classic Victorian-era clothes.
The first thing my daughter did was take the clothes off the pandas. I suppose that makes sense, since, as we all know, Animals Should Definitely Not Wear Clothing. Tiny as they are, the clothes were promptly lost to the Charybdis that is the toy chaos of my basement. So the pandas went for months and months without any clothes and we just played with them au naturel.
With their clothes lost, we couldn’t tell Mommy Panda or Daddy Panda apart - they’re identical without clothes on. Same thing for Sister and Brother Pandas. That meant that all of their activities and roles were perfectly equalized, since the characters could stand in for each other with no perceivable difference.
by Rebecca Melsky November 03, 2016
When my daughter was 2, she was given a big, fuzzy, neon pink box of generic princess dress-up clothes. She adored it. She (and practically every little friend who came over) wore the dresses constantly. My initial reaction to all this: Dread. Frustration. Fear.
What was my brave, smart little girl going to turn into? Was I a bad feminist for letting her prance around the house in these frilly, sparkly dresses? After all, it wasn’t too long ago that I had promised I’d never buy my daughter anything pink.
Then, one day, while listening to her pretend to drop her kids off at school and then go to work while wearing her pink princess dress and tiara, I had a realization. I harbored beliefs about what my daughter could or could not do while wearing a princess dress - but she did not.
by Eva St. Clair December 10, 2015
Last week was the first time my daughter’s new Cars Busy Dress went through the wash. I was in my sons’ room putting their laundry away. The Busy Dress was near the bottom of the basket underneath their clothes. I was about to walk out of their room to go to hers when my eye caught sight of the car. Instinctively, I reached in the basket and pulled the dress out, all ready to put it away in my sons’ dresser - because it was blue and had a car on it.
What the...what?? What just happened? I helped MAKE that dress, and I made the mistake of assuming that because it was blue with cars, it belonged in my sons’ room.
by Rebecca Melsky October 27, 2015
Halloween is coming, and it’s got me thinking.
I’d like to conduct a thought experiment. Will you play along for a minute?
Imagine that there is a new superhero in popular culture that is all the rage.
Imaginethis superhero is male and wears a spandex suit of greenand a shimmering cape of gold.
by Eva St. Clair March 15, 2015
Deena Skolnick Weisberg is a Senior Fellow at the Department of Psychology at the University of Pennsylvania.
I’m a developmental psychologist, and my research studies how young children grow and develop. So I know, both from my own experiences growing up and from my academic studies, how important it is that all children feel that all their needs and wishes are respected. Sometimes these needs and wishes seems contradictory to adults or even to other children, like being a boy and liking pink, or being a girl and wanting to play hockey. But these needs and wishes are experienced by children simply as things that they like and that make them happy, and should be respected as such.
by Rebecca Melsky December 03, 2014
I have to come clean about something. In the midst of working on that previous princess post, I decided to ask my daughter about princesses. I was hoping to get a 4-year-old’s version of our argument so we could say, “Look! See! We’re right!”
But I didn’t get that. In fact, she gave me literally the opposite of our argument. See for yourselves.
by Eva St. Clair November 22, 2014
by Rebecca Melsky October 27, 2014
Before my daughter was born, my husband and I made the bold statement that we were not going to buy her any pink clothing. If someone gave us a gift, we said, fine. We won’t return it, but we won’t buy her anything pink ourselves.
If someone had pressed us at the time, we don’t think we could have given a coherent, articulate answer. We probably would have spouted a mish-mosh of the following: