So, a Barbie doll beat me down.
As surely as if my daughter had grabbed Babs by her spindly little legs and whacked me over the head – I am beaten.
Today, I desperately want to stand with Greens Senator Larissa Waters, as she is roundly ridiculed in the tabloid press for daring to suggest that we stopped choosing our kids’ toys based purely on their gender
I would love to go along to one of her and Play Unlimited’s ‘No Gender December’ playdates, where my kids can play with fair-trade toys that are neither pink nor blue.
But I would be a traitor. I would be a fraud.
Because my little girl loves pink, and tutus and princesses. And my little boy loves dinosaurs and trains.
And that, my friends, is the cold hard truth.
It wasn’t meant to be this way.
I didn’t find out the sexes of either of my children before they were born, in part because I didn’t want to start gender stereotyping them before they even really existed. You know, “Is he kicking? Oh, you’ve got a little soccer player in there….” and so on.
There were no pink and blue baby clothes, only shelves filled with tiny piles of bright reds and greens and earthy neutrals.
For years, I pretty much resisted buying anything pink and fluffy for my first child, a girl. She loved wearing shorts, and she loved her little boy mates, and she was physical and feisty and outspoken.
But then The Pink Creep began. My home was swallowed by a gradual rising tide of tulle and plastic in every shade from peach to fuschia. You see, parents are not the only ones who buy things for their kids. In fact, your first child receives so many gifts, you don’t make even half of the decisions about what they wear and what they play with.
But there is a grace period when you get to make the decisions (and hide the stuff you hate), until that dreaded day when your child wakes up and has An Opinion.
And my daughter’s Opinions go like this: I Like Pink Things. I want a baby doll. I want a pink fluffy pram. I want jewellery. I want to wear your lipstick. And I want a Barbie.
A Barbie, FFS.
Meanwhile, my son’s Opinion is this: Roooooooar! I am a dinosaur. And Where’s Thomas?
Like Senator Waters, I find it kind of infuriating. I am deeply irritated that the toy shop is divided into pink and blue aisles. It really annoys me that when I buy a book for a child and ask for it to be gift-wrapped at the counter, they ask me “boy or girl?”, as if the two genders cannot even share wrapping paper.