Is it bad if your daughter likes pink?

A toddler in a pink dress talking to a doll in a pink dress

“PINK CARDI!” my daughter yelled.

“Pink cardi is wet because we just washed it,” I said. “You can wear it tomorrow. Why don’t you wear the white cardi now?”

“WANT PINK CARDI!”

There were a few problems with this whole scenario:

1. This interaction was taking place at bedtime. Yes, my child insists on wearing a cardigan to bed. She wears one every day too. This cardigan fixation has been going on for over a month. She has only agreed to go cardi-less twice in that time – both days when it was over 32ºC (90ºF) out, and even she had to admit that it was too hot for knitwear.

This isn’t a thing, is it? I mean, I know toddlers are prone to unusual obsessions, but I couldn’t find any other examples of kids that were cardigan-obsessed in all of the Googlesphere.

2. She likes pink. A lot.

There’s nothing inherently wrong with a little girl liking pink, is there? But part of me, the self-conscious liberal, feminist part, isn’t so sure.

Go to the girl’s section of any clothing or shoe store you’re hit with a sea of pink.

Wall of mostly pink children's shoes

The same thing happens in toy stores. Sometimes you can buy two versions of a toy – a boy’s version in bold, primary colours, and a girl’s version in pinks and pastels.

Two bags of Mega Bloks, one in pinks and the other in primary colours

I’m looking at you, Mega Bloks.

And we’re paying for choosing girlified toys – just making a toy pink can increase its price tag by anywhere from 2-15%.

There’s something about pink that denotes sterotypical girliness – dolls, princesses and bubblegum sweetness – and I’m not entirely comfortable with that. I want my daughter to be the rough-and-tumble, grass-stained-knees sort of kid, and the gooey pinkness of all things ‘girl’ seems at odds with that.

And yet.

I bought her pink shoes. I’ve dressed her in pink clothes – often ones purchased by relatives, but some I’ve picked out myself too. She has a pink balance bike and a pink toy stroller. So am I part of the problem? Is it any wonder that she’s in danger of becoming a little pinkaholic?

I know she’s only two, and this week’s obsession with pink cardigans could easily become next week’s obsession with…I don’t know, yellow raincoats. Toddlers are weird. And I know that while she likes pink things, she also loves playing with trucks and robots and poking puddles with sticks. She uses her pink stroller to push around a giant Iron Man teddy bear. She’s no delicate flower – and I want to make sure she stays that way.

Pink itself isn’t the problem. It’s just a colour. Not one that I wear myself very often, since it only emphasizes my fire face, but I get why people like it. The problem is a culture where colour-coded toys and clothes teach children gender stereotypes from a young age. Pushchairs, doll houses, beauty products and domestic toys are often sold in pink, teaching kids that looking good and taking care of things is what’s expected of girls – and should be avoided by boys.

I suppose I should take comfort in the fact that one of the Popple’s current favourite books is “Feminist Baby“, which includes the following rhyme:

“Feminist baby likes pink and blue. Sometimes she’ll throw up on you.”

“I like pink and blue!” the Popple shouted during a recent reading. So there’s hope.

She also likes the page with the line, “Feminist baby says no to pants.” I’m kind of hoping that bit doesn’t catch on.

Rhyming with Wine
Two Tiny Hands
R is for Hoppit

20 Replies to “Is it bad if your daughter likes pink?”

  1. I guess the problem is, is it her own decision or has she been moulded by a culture and if so, what other signals or beliefs has she picked up on? I wrote a poem recently called ‘Little Girl Blue’ because of the reaction when my daughter is in ‘supposedly’ boys clothes. I guess I will just keep having a conversation and giving her the space to create her own thoughts and ideas. There’s nothing wrong with pink but any colour should be up for grabs. #DreamTeam

  2. I 100% agree withyou. I have friends who refuse to let their daughters wear pink, and I’m like listen if this is about empowering choice, then you need to let your kids choose. My toddler daughter goes from sparkles and her baby dolls to playing with her big brothers’ action heroes and diving in mud. It swings both ways. let’s just let them be! Yvadney x #DreamTeam

  3. My girls (6 & 2) LOVE pink and they LOVE dolls… but they also LOVE climbing trees and LOVE riding their bikes. I think it’s about trying to keep a balance. I wear pink all the time (it reflects on my pale face and gives me a bit of colour! Haha) so I can’t really complain if they like pink. It is a concern, though, that we’re influencing them and causing them to take on societies pre-set, subservient roles…

    P.S. I love that you googled whether cardigan-obsession is a thing! Lol #dreamteam

  4. Oh I love that there’s a feminist baby book! Just brilliant! Oh and I love that she shouted she loves pink and blue. Georgia grew up loving green – she’s a complex character and not one to conform for sure and Ella loved blue always – definitely not a girly girl. Hmmm is there more to the choosing of colours than we can explain?! Maybe! I love a bit of pink! #DreamTeam

  5. It’s so hard to avoid outside gender influences isn’t it? I’ve always tried to steer my girls away from the idea that there are “girl things” and “boy things” but it’s become a lot harder since my eldest started school. It sounds like the Popple likes lots of different things though which is good. I’m sure the obsession with pink cardis will switch to something else at some point too! 🙂 #familyfunlinky

  6. That book sounds really cool! My daughter wanted pink everything. She gravitated towards it from being very young and the love affair is still there now she’s 8. It’s a nice colour, I don’t blame her! It’s just one of those things!

  7. Haha, this made me chuckle. I can imagine my 2 year old doing a similar thing to the cardi demand! Incidentally, my daughter has slept in a cardi…but only in the winter. She did refuse to have bare feet for over a month though, including during warm nights. They’re awkward creatures.

    I feel the same about pink. My daughter likes it and it really suites her. But I also don’t her to stick to stereotypes. I guess it’s about balance and options. I let Little H pick things and if she chooses pink then I guess I have to go with it.

    What really needs to happen is for more boys to wear pink rather than girls wear blue. Then there would be such a big deal!

    #FamilyFunLinky

  8. I can kind of understand why all the pink stereotyping annoys a lot of people but it doesn’t bother me. I hated pink growing up but my daughter loves it and will always choose the pink version if she has any choice. That being said she is no delicate flower and is more daring and adventurous than her 8 year old brother has ever been, she just knows what she likes. When it comes to clothes obsessions, she’d much rather not wear anything at all and keeps saying clothes hurt. I’m really hoping she grows out of that one!
    #DreamTeam

  9. I didn’t realise we pay more for pink toys – that’s bonkers! #familyfunlinky

  10. Some people just like pink. My son liked it for a while there, and his current fave is yellow. Just because she is a girl who likes pink, doesn’t mean we are pigeon holing or stereotyping or whatever. You have a lovely little girl who wears cardigans and likes pink. But that is rubbish that we pay more for the ‘privilege’!! #fridayFrolics

  11. I hear what you’re saying and paying more for a pink thing really pisses me off. I don’t however see a problem with pink, maybe because I like it but then I also like blue. Zara loves pink and I suspect is a little like Popple on that front. Toby also like pinks, although I suspect because Zara does and I am totally OK with that too. It is just a colour. I am trying to to emphasise any colour on them or make any reference to colours and gender and just let them get on with it. That said, their wardrobes are distantly pink vs blue – there doesn’t seem to be a great deal of wriggle room on that from especially in the boys shopping department. I did just buy him some pink shorts though, because I liked them, and you know, he links pink. So whateves, lets see what comes of this and what colours they like in a few years! Thanks for joining us at #familyfun

  12. We probably just need to go with the flow at the end of the day!! I had someone say I could go mad and bug lots of pink things for my 2nd my reply was probably no I’ll make her wear Roberts old clothes!! I’m totally starting to buy more gender neutral clothes for him now so I have a stash of non pink 2 year old clothes when she gets there!
    ‪Thank you for linking up to the #familyfunlinky‬

  13. Ahahaha, Youngest has clearly been reading that book as she is going through a phase of saying no to pants! I try to steer my two away from pink but then if they want to wear it then we should let them. I do wonder if they want to wear it because they have been socially conditioned by the shop displays etc or if it is really their own will. Hmmm. #FridayFrolics

  14. I personally believe kids will just play with whatever they are drawn to. Both my boys have been brought up the same, yet are into entirely different things. The thing that bugs me with genders is clothes shopping for my boys. Everywhere I go has 3 ailses of girls clothes, and one for boys. There’s not enough choice! I do wonder about mega blox though. Why the need for the pink bag? Surely primary colours are great for all! Thanks for linking up to #FridayFrolics

  15. Ok, as a mom of three-2 of them are girls aged 16 & 9-I feel so dumb…I didn’t know we were paying more for pink!!! (I read the link-Thank you for including that!) And silly me, I considered myself informed…You know, being aware of the stereotypical toys for girls & talking to them about gender bias and sexism in advertising and television, etc. How did I miss that? What else am I missing?

    But back to your question-I think if your daughter enjoys the color pink then so be it!!! It’s her choice! As long as you’re not forcing it on her it’s fine!!!

    Needless to say, I enjoyed this post! Very good!!! #FridayFrolics

  16. #familyfunlinky My post this week that I linked up is about how girls are objectified and gender stereotypes are learned from a young age. Pink seems to be all powerful in marketing for girls. I love that Elsa from Frozen wears blue… No problem with pink but just hate the way is is rammed down girls’ throats

  17. The fact that women pay more for the same products because they’ve made them in a different colour just drives me nuts. It’s like a Pink Tax. I’ve no problem with pink, but don’t understand why it’s such a thing. Other colours are available!

  18. My little lad loves a bit of pink, along with pretty much every other colour he can get his hands on! In fact his coloured cup selection method revolves not around the actual colour options but around which one is at the very bottom of the pile and thus takes longest to get to! #FridayFrolics

  19. I’m absolutely with you although I kind of have the opposite problem. My little girl is definitely of the rough and tumble variety and the only dolls that she has ever had (which have been imposed upon her by kindly relatives) have generally been abandoned in the garden while she digs for worms. I love that about her, and she is more of a lover of blue which is fine by both me and my hubby. Her little brother however is quite liking the pink, and also his sister’s princess shoes (blue). I also have no issue with this and will happily go along with his request for a pink bow in his hair while he plays at home. The hub however DOES have issues with this as do most of the male members of our family. I found this really interesting. Thanks for linking to #DreamTeam x

  20. Mine are the opposite in cardigans – very hard to get them to agree to wear them even when needed! Eldest is the same with pink. I’ve never been much for pink but, like you, other people got her clothes in pink and then I did sometimes too, and then she wanted pink. I don’t think the pink is a problem itself though. Not if they genuinely like it. It is if they think they HAVE to have pink because girls should. Hard to know the difference with little kids though, and I’m sure some level of conditioning is usually involved. On the other hand, my other daughter likes blue. Always has. She will always choose blue, and she will fairly equally like princessy things and dinosaury things, for example.

    Thanks so much for joining us for #FridayFrolics

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