Pink is Just a Color and So Is Blue by a Long Island Mom
When my younger was 3, he loved the color pink. I bought him a Dora doll, a stroller, and a couple of other dolls he asked for. While in preschool, he wanted My Little Pony, Littlest Petshop, and Zoobles, which apparently were marketed mostly to girls. Then one day, I heard my older son telling my younger one that he was “like a girl” because he liked the color pink and enjoyed playing with kitchen toys. After hearing him taunt his brother, I had to have a serious talk with him. In my mind, teasing like this is what leads to bullying later.
I told him how he also liked the color pink when he was little. I needed him to understand that toys and colors do not define who children are. Colors were just colors, and toys were just a way for young children to learn about the bigger world around them.
We even talked about how their father loved to cook, so what was the big deal about a little boy playing with the kitchen set?
Inspiration for a Children’s Book
My two boys became the inspiration for my book, Pink is Just a Color and So is Blue.
Anti-bullying and anti-teasing education often starts in middle school. Unfortunately, by this age, many kids already have an engrained set of beliefs and ideals. Teaching kids to be accepting and open minded should begin when they are 3, 4, and 5 — not 10, 11, 12. If they learn young that we don’t all have to fit into a mold, I believe they will become better “tweenagers” and teenagers.
Pink is Just a Color and So is Blue hopes to break some of the old gender stereotypes about children’s toys and gender specific colors. Why should the play kitchen be considered a “girly” toy? We want our boys to be nurturing dads and husbands. So what is the big deal with little boys wanting dolls and a stroller?
I don’t have girls, but growing up I mowed the lawn, helped my father paint, and put in tiles. I was athletic and loved sports of all kinds. Today, I love to cook and take care of my boys. But I can also figure out how to fix the chain link in a toilet tank! And I still love to paint!
When my older son was little, I bought a kitchen set for him to play with. If the look on my husband’s face could kill!!! He couldn’t understand why I would buy such a toy for our son. I had to remind him that he was a great cook himself! When our boys were little, he helped to change diapers, bathe them, and feed them. To me, that made him a greater man!
A Brief History Lesson on Pink and Blue
I did a little research online to find out more about where the whole notion of pink and blue came from. Some of these things I included at the end of my book.
For instance, in the early 1900s fashion magazines promoted the color pink as being appropriate for men. Being a shade of red, as it is, it was considered strong and masculine. Blue on the other hand, was cool and dainty, and as such was a great color for women!
Pink is a beautiful color. And so is blue. But what is it about our society, that we have this need to put everything in nice little boxes? Why do we have a need to label and categorize everything? Why can’t we just let our kids be kids. Let them explore. Isn’t our ultimate goal as parents to assure that our children grow up to be self confident, happy, secure, and productive men and women?
If we as adults become more open-minded, then it will automatically flow into our kids. When kids are accepting, they are less likely to tease or bully. So let’s spread the message that toys are just toys… and Pink is Just a Color and so is Blue!
Niki Bhatia lives in Long Island and blogs at niketabhatia.blogspot.com.