Pink for Boys and Blue for Girls

I have always been curious with how children decide that pink is for girls and blue is for boys. No matter how hard we try to dispel the myth, eventually girls will pick pink for themselves and the boys will go to many lengths not to pick pink. In my classroom we have plastic color plates for snack time.  I deliberately place the “girl” colors in front of the boys and the “boy” colors in front of the girls.  The boys show disappointment when they get to their seat and find their pink plate and the girls try to negotiate a trade over the pink and purple ones. I tell them all kinds of stories of men wearing pink and woman wearing blue.  It doesn’t change their minds.  This inevitably leads to a discussion of stereotyping and bias.  We read books on equality, We learn we are the same  and we we are different.  We share news from home on mom and dad’s role in the house.  “Daddy gives mommy flowers but mommy doesn’t give daddy flowers”.  “Mommy does the dishes daddy goes to work”.   Of course we try to change these viewpoints and we even succeed sometimes. And sometimes we don’t. Take this picture for example;

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Here is the story as dictated to me. “Look Nan we made different pools. The girls pool is purple”  I asked, “why purple?” Answer: “Girls like purple”  At this point I ask, “how do you know that?”  Answer: “Ok its everybody’s pool.”  They continue, “the blue is the boy pool where the donkey is.”  I ask, “why is there a donkey in the boy pool?”  “Because its grey. if it were white its suppose to be for girls.”  “Orange is the mother pool, the centipede is there because its camouflage” (I stopped asking questions at this point, they had caught on to my purposeful questioning!) “Green is the boy/dad pool and yellow is the warm tub because the horse is a mammal and likes warm stuff.  Red is the mom and dad’s pool and red is the angry color and they are angry”. I definitely didn’t pursue this one.  In conclusion there is no conclusion. Every year these children develop stereotypes and bias and it is our job as educators to make them aware of how silly it is that pink is for girls and blue is for boys. What happens with pink and blue in YOUR classroom? comment here

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