‘If the color is pink then it’s a girl and if it is blue then it’s a boy’, ‘We will finalize the room color after the gender reveal’, ‘why are you wearing pink? Are you a girl?’-these are few common sentences heard on gender reveals, birthday parties or one can say on daily basis. Even before the birth of a child the society has already ‘Gender-alized’ colors for them then whether it is their clothes, rooms, birthday cakes or their toys. BLUE represents security, faithfulness, authority and dignity and mostly in Eastern culture and our society these are the qualities of a man as people have a perception that only men can provide security, they have the main authority and power and they are the dignity of the family, while on the contrary, PINK represents femininity, innocence, well being and gentleness which are said to be the traits of a woman.
It is usually seen in stores that one can easily distinguish between girls section in which every-other thing is pink and boys section where almost every product is blue. Gender differentiation is not limited to children’s goods only but this highly impacts on a child’s psychology as well and these things in the future automatically become a rule of the world where it becomes necessary to follow it then even if a boy wants to play with dolls or girls want to play cars, it doesn’t matter, rules are rules and this gender differentiation based on colors and other factors has become one. Children are color-coded from infancy where they are dressed in blue and pink according to their genders. These differences are even observed in children’s toys, clothing, thinking, psychology and it has even caused limitations to what a man or woman’s interests or behavior should be.
Has anyone seen kitchen set in boy’s toy section or cars or action figures in girl’s toy section?
The answer is obviously ‘No’ because these are the stereotypes that have been made and are taught to a child from a very young age. Kitchen set, cleaning sets and Barbie dolls in those big pink packets are meant to be for girls and the cool toys like action figures, hot wheels and guns are meant to be for boys and this human psyche is induced in a child’s mind from childhood and it all starts from home. Gender differentiation in children’s goods is a latter step; the initial step is the upbringing which is not gender neutral. The gender differentiation that has been carried on for centuries has its own pros and cons. The disadvantages are that children are not confident about their choices or are not free to have their own voice or choice of products because of the norms and restrictions. Children lack self-esteem; they are not familiar with the interests of the other gender and always feel pressurized while making choices. They are less creative and always have fear to express their feelings. On the other side, this can even have pros like children are not confused about their identity when they meet other kids, they know who they are and are not against the society norms.
I’ve seen people talking about couples who have two-three daughters and saying that you should’ve at least had one son, having only daughters mean that the family is incomplete but having only sons or even one son means the family is complete. I have received gifts specifically of pink color with the reason that you are a girl. One of my young cousins has mostly dolls in her toys and every other thing in her room is pink because she is a girl while her brother’s room is painted blue with toys like cars and action figures because he is a boy.
I do agree that there are many skills and jobs that are gender-specific and that is where a bit difference in genders can be counted as an advantage but in today’s world there is more freedom for every gender as compared to old times and people are more open minded, even the parents give gender-neutral upbringing to children making them confident and have awareness of their identity. There are many young-male chefs who were away from the thought that kitchen is meant to be for girls and there are many women who are famous in the world of sports like wrestling and boxing which are said to be male-dominant sports and they are trained from a very young age. We have great examples like Sana Mir (Pakistan Women’s cricket team captain), Zakir Qureshi (Chef), Samina Baig (Mountaineer) and many more great examples are there. There are a lot of female drivers, people think that cooking and stitching is a woman’s job but almost every chef and tailor is a man.
In my opinion, both genders can play both the roles, a man can be more pink than a woman as well as a woman can be more blue than a man, there is no need to specify and limit the gender roles though specific colored clothes, toys or type of work. A boy/man can be emotional and nurturing and a girl/woman can make major decisions and have authority. Qualities are inbuilt and not made on the basis of society norms. We should encourage boys and girls to play together, avoid weird themes like blue and pink, focus more on the individuality of the child and teach them that being different is okay, and remind them that toys and clothes have no gender, children are free to play with whatever they like and are comfortable with. And yes COLORS DONOT DEFINE GENDERS.
“Gender is given too much importance. We should be able to see humans just as humans.”- Sadhguru