Pink stinks, but what can parents do against it?

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I give in, I´ll buy pink stuff. For one thing, it´s all my three-year old wants. She has yellow goggles and floaters and this makes her frustrated because she sees ALL the other girls with pink ones, she wants the pink set too.

She tried on a green tiara the other day, “Green is for boys, pink is for girls”. I uselessly do my best to revert this: “No, green is for everyone, you even have a green tiara! It´s also my favorite color: green”. “But green is for boys…”

Luísa must find really strange that I keep insisting that there is no such thing as “pink is for girls and blue for boys” while it´s so obviously clear everywhere. Even younger babies can tell it.

She wants a pink bicycle. I´m gonna have to make it pink, I know that as much as I want her to enjoy other colors, if I buy her a red bike, she will be very frustrated every time she sees all the pink bikes the other girls have.

How can we fight the pink uniformity?

This is a serious issue. As Pink Stinks blog will tell us, it´s about way more than a predominant color, it´s a way of bringing up girls to be obsessed with superficialities and in physical appearance rather than in putting value in intelligence.

The commercial world that children experience is as if the women’s movement had never existed.” Ed Mayo, in his Pink is for Boys, Blue is for Girls post.

Just the other day Luísa chose her party dress to go on our afternoon bike ride. We ended stopping at a beach where some friends were hanging out. The children were all wet in swimming suits playing in the sand and Luísa kept her beautiful pink dress intact. She could have sat in the dry sand, but she was cautious enough about the dress not to do so.

Should I be proud or worried about it?

Caterina with Luísa´s clothes

How can we compete with billions of dollars spent in marketing for children every year?

Are children nagging throughout corporation manipulation?

The movie The Corporation made me more aware of how the corporations manipulate kids into buying stuff (or into nagging to parents who will finally buy the stuff). I learned in the movie that in 1998 a study was made on how kids react on marketing.

They asked parents to keep a diary for three weeks and record every time their child nagged them for a product (when, where and why exactly).

This was not to help parents cope with nagging; it was made for corporations to help kids nag more effectively.

They found out that between 20% and 40% of the purchases would not have occurred if it wasn´t for nagging, or 25% of the visits to a theme park.

You can watch the less than 10 minutes video on exactly the story I´m telling from The Corporation here.

PARENTS ARE MORE LIKELLY TO BUY PRODUCTS WHEN KIDS ASK FOR THEM – They know it, we fail as victims to their smart approaches in making our children nag.

In the book “Influence – The Psychology of Persuasion”, there was also a tail about how a toy company would display before Christmas lots of commercials on a specific toy. The kids would have their parents to promise to buy them that toy for Christmas, only that the toy was “mysteriously” not available at Christmas anymore. The toy would “suddenly” be displayed again a few days after Christmas and the parents would buy it out of the guilt to the promise they made to their kids before.

How can a girl nowadays not have a pair of hello kitty sandals?

Luísa has this pair of sandals that has too many “pinky” factors not to be bought (or nagged by girls). It´s pink, it sparkles, it has a bow, it has hello kitty and it has stars.

After I was philosophically looking at these sandals, amazed at the power of marketing, I started to realize how many other girlie toys, clothes and devices have at least three of the pink success factors. Besides the ones in my girl´s hello kitty sandals we can find hearts, other cats and furry animals, princesses, barbies, butterflies, fairy decoration and so on.

These hello kitty sandals cost US$12,00 while the sandals I use, the only pair I have, costs US$4,00, by the way.

Luísa is really crazy about shoes. Very often she asks me to buy her new shoes or sandals. She keeps saying how much she needs the pink ballerina shoes.

I say: “You have two pairs of sandals, that´s good enough”.

“But I need new pink sandals”.

“Mommy only has one pair of sandals and you have two pairs of sandals and another pair of shoes, this is great enough”.

“But my shoes are old, let´s give them to another child”. The little rat, already using charity as an excuse to be an avid consumer.

“We will buy new shoes and sandals when yours are getting small, that´s it”.

She will make us discuss this several times a week. She is so persistent that sometimes I feel like buying her the damn thing. What keeps me from doing so it´s knowing that it wouldn´t stop her pleas for new shoes (it would rather increase them).

I´ll keep avoiding the pink predominance in our house (it´s almost impossible), but I feel like my hands are tied. I talked about this before with Can your girl escape the pink world? And the question remains. How can we fight the hello kitties, sparkly hearts and stars, pink, cats, flowers and all the like?

How do we prevent the future generations from finding such a stinky pink world?


This article was originally posted on Tripping Mom by Marilia Di Cesare on January 17, 2011. Republished with authorization. Click here for all other posts.


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