I don’t know if you remember about my firstborn having a tiff with the color pink. To this day, he doesn’t like it very much because in his head he associates it with girls and he thinks it’s a girly color. This has nothing to do with what he observes at home or even at school. To make it simple, we found out why he started building a negative association with pink and I’ll let you know that. But first let me introduce you to the boy who likes, no, LOVES pink.
My second-born son.
Yes. You heard that right. If there was any negative association going on at home, this wouldn’t have happened. My three-year-old is MAD about the color pink so much so that he wants to be pink himself. Pink hair pink eyes. He wants his whole room to be pink which will never happen because he shares it with his brother who happens to hate the idea.
How is there such a stark difference between my kids? They’re both being raised in the same household. They’re both being raised with the same values. Then how did this happen?
I’ll tell you how.
My firstborn started screentime at two years old and I made the mistake of starting off with the classic “Peppa Pig”. You’d argue that the entire family of pigs is pink in the show. How could a show with an opinionated female protagonist, where more than half the characters are pink in color, teach him that pink is only for girls?!
Well, it’s all thanks to her brother George. He is obviously clueless about his own color and hates the color pink. The tiny pig who has been shown not to know how to talk throughout the show or as much as we have seen knows only a couple of words, and two of them are “Pink!” and “Yuck!”. Yes, together.
This was fed into the little impressionable mind of my child to such an extent that I am not able to reverse it. I’m not forcing him though he will get out of it when he is ready. But it made me realize that these tv shows have such a huge impact on our children! After nearly three years of never having seen the show again, he still has strong feelings about the color. And it’s just the label pink that he has an issue with. Call it salmon and he’s fine with it.
Doesn’t it show you that we control and break these so-called stigmas about colors and chores having a gender? We need to not only practice what we preach, but we also need to actively monitor the nuances in what they’re watching and internalizing on TV when we give them screen time.
My little one started screentime a little before 2 and a half years when I started letting him sit with his brother when he played PlayStation or watched some show on Netflix. He started teaching him and let him play with himself a few months down the road and, at barely 3, now he fights for his turn. Somewhere along the road, my little one fell in love with the color pink.
What did I do differently with him? The truth is that I did nothing. I didn’t become more of a feminist. I didn’t even try new ways to be raising a feminist. I didn’t encourage him to like a particular color. In fact, my own favorite color is blue and not pink so it’s not like he’s trying to copy me which many kids do.
We just let him make his own choices and he felt the happiest with the color pink. Slowly, my elder son also gave in after trying relentlessly to convince him that pink is a girly color and just accepted that he happened to like it. He started showing him pink things and toys because he knew his brother would like them.
Let’s raise our children to make choices that don’t have judgment attached to them and let them live by those choices. Let them choose what color they want to wear. Let them choose their happiness! Because in the end, it doesn’t matter what color they like. What matters is the people they become.