Blue is for Boys
The other day I popped out to get some bits for our evening meal and took Plum with me. I decided to treat her to some sweets, and pointed out various options so she could decide what to get – things like Magic Stars, Jelly Snakes, Freddie Frog, and some little chocolate balls in a cardboard box.
There were two designs of box (which was a little bigger than a matchbox). One was pink, with a Hello Kitty design and the other was blue with a Monsters Inc design. I know she likes both of these things, so I pointed out both to her. Her response took me by surprise.
No Mummy, the blue ones are for boys.
I have no idea where she got this idea from. Certainly not from home – we’ve never assigned colours to specific genders and all three children wear all kinds of colours. We’ve been careful not to try and suggest that certain toys are for boys or girls too and in fact any of them are as likely to play with a doll as a tool set (except maybe Bean who is moving on from those kinds of toys now – but he happily played with both for many years).
-It worries me that even though we have tried hard to avoid instilling these gender distinctions, Plum is still hearing it from somewhere and it’s having an influence on the things she is choosing, at three years old. It makes me sad because I know that she loves Monsters Inc, and has no real idea of who or what Hello Kitty is, beyond it being a cat she quite likes the look of. I hate the thought that she is denying herself something she likes because someone somewhere has led her to believe that it’s only for boys.
I know we can’t protect our children completely from the outside world, but I’m still really disappointed about this situation. Of course, we’ll keep doing what we have done and make no distinctions and hope that it’s enough.
For what it’s worth, she chose Magic Stars.