Would You Buy Your Son a Pink Toy?

Gendered Colors | reflectivemama.comBaby and I recently went on a playdate to the park with a couple other friends and kiddos. We were enjoying a beautiful day, soaking up the sun on a quilt in the grassy field. As a pulled out a new toy for Baby to stave off boredom, one of my friends says, “Of course he has a pink toy.”

Hold up. The toy is question was a small dog that jingles (like Tinkerbell! – not helping my case…) with a colorful polka-dotted tummy, chevron striped ears, and yes, pink fabric skin. When I purchased said toy, my favorite part was the wooden teething ring that dangles from the bottom. Now, however, my favorite part is the velcro loop coming out of its head so that I can attach it to a highchair, stroller, grocery cart seat, or other baby container so he can’t throw it or drop it five seconds after I give it to him. I really hadn’t noticed that the jingly dog was mostly pink until that moment.

Why is this noteworthy? I’m a girl who loves pink. Not all pink, but a few distinct shades make me very, very happy. When I was little, I prefered navy or royal blue, then I went through a Tigger phase, finally discovering my love of my pink in high school, and it has stuck ever since.

Now my days are mostly filled with toys of the blue, green and red variety. It’s all good. Just means more pink for me. Yet the pink toy in question was actually acquired months ago, just before Baby’s first plane ride.

I had walked down the baby toy aisle at Target, and gave Baby a chance to play with different toys. I wanted some extra ammo on hand for emergency plane entertainment. Personally, I really hoped he’d choose the little stuffed teddy bear and we’d hit the lovey jackpot. Unfortunately, he couldn’t have cared less about the teddy bear or a similar little lion stuffed one bin over. But the jingly dog was a winner.

Having mourned that fact that Baby would not share in my love of pink while he was still in utero, my friend’s present day comment jarred something in me. First, because her assumptions about why Baby had a pink toy were wrong. Yes, I love pink, but I am not pushing that onto my son. But days later, I’m still pondering the incident. Why shouldn’t Baby have pink toys? I’ve read a lot about potentially negative consequences of the recent pink explosion among girls’ toys and clothes, but I’d never before put much thought into how it could also affect boys.

My love for pink aside, my feelings towards not buying pink things (or purple for that matter) for my son really bothered me. If I had a daughter, she would certainly play with toys that were blue, green, and red, and have clothes in all of those shades. However, I just haven’t been able to bring myself to consciously buy a blatantly pink toy, sippy cup, or outfit for my son. I know this is wrong, gendered, and stereotyped, but there it is. And I’m not sure what to do about it. (I did lobby my husband to get a pink glitter baby bathtub, but we compromised and opted for the blue glitter version instead.)

I am tempted to go on a pink shopping spree to challenge myself (and society) on the ridiculousness of the boy-girl color scheme. Yet my well-known affection for pink is holding me back. It would be easier for me to purchase pink things for my son if it were simply a matter of pushing back against culture. Instead, I feel like everyone would assume I’m just pushing my pink obsession onto my son (or trying to turn him into a mini frat boy).

I’d start with purple instead, but my husband would rather put Baby in pink anyday. He’s an extremely loyal KU fan, and associates any shade of purple with K-State. Go Wildcats! (Arizona Wildcats, of course.)

Would you buy your son a pink toy? Why or why not?


5 thoughts on “Would You Buy Your Son a Pink Toy?

  1. Shell

    I have three boys and I’ve found that there’s an odd kind of reverse discrimination when it comes to boy/girl toys.

    Girls: yes, they can play with anything! Give them “boy” toys because they can do anything boys can do. Don’t fence them in with just pink and purple, let them have it all!

    Boys: what? Why are you giving them girl things? That’s so weird, that’s not for them, what are you doing to your child?

    Sigh. I think it only gets worse as they get older. You have to figure out what you think is okay and ignore all you’ll hear out there(b/c you’ll hear a lot).

    Found you from SITS.

  2. Kalliste

    I really wish there were just toys and colours for kids, not blue and cars for boys and pink and dolls for girls. I don’t really see how a colour represents the sex of a child.

    Anyway, if it were me and I was trying to challenge society i’d probably be buying my son a baby doll or something that is generally considered a girls toy and see how he reacts to it.

  3. Mommy A to Z

    My son ends up with plenty of pink toys because he gets into all his sister’s things :) Thanks for linking up at the Manic Mondays blog hop! Check out this week’s blog hop at: http://mommyatozblog.com/2014/06/22/join-the-manic-mondays-blog-hop-622/.

    1. farrahudell Post author

      Love it! My son is my only, but hopefully one day that will change to the oldest. We are lucky to receive wonderful hand-me-downs from my niece and nephew, so I’m sure there will be more pink in our future!

  4. Kristen {a Modern Mrs.}

    I would most certainly purchase a pink toy for my son! I don’t have a son, so I’m speaking hypothetically, but I have no qualms over dolls, the color pink, painting nails, or anything else that a son may want or do… especially since, if we had one, he would have two older sisters. Desiring a pink toy, and/or playing with one, will not harm your son’s development in any way, and shame on that woman for her ridiculous commentary!


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