Tuesday 27 Sep 2016

Pink Invasion
Jennifer Flaten

Whew, I managed to get all the Christmas shopping done, took it right to the wire. I am a procrastinator I know. What can I say; I love the thrill of waiting until the last minute to complete my shopping.

There is nothing like charging through the store throwing things into your cart right and left to make you feel alive. You don't know the adrenaline rush of grabbing the last toy off the store shelf before someone else does. It also, really limits the decisions you have to make, the store has the toy or it doesn't. If it doesn't you, grab something else, no dithering.

Anyway, I managed to return from the toy store with all my limbs intact, my bank account wasn't so lucky.

I am very happy to have the holiday shopping done; I don't think I could look at another toy let alone visit another toy aisle. I have been down so many toy aisles; they began to blend into a never-ending conga line of plastic toys.

Let me share a few observations I made while toy shopping. One thing I found aside from the astonishing number of toys and kid related items available, is that there is a strange trend in the toy aisle.

Have you noticed the preponderance of pink?

Previously, the pink was contained to the Barbie aisle, home to all things Barbie. This aisle, bounded on both sides by shelves full of shocking pink dolls and frou-frou; stretches, it seems to eternity.

Who knew that Barbie came with some many pink accessories?

Only the strong survive a trip down the pink aisle, the weak take one look down that Pepto-Bismol pink corridor and run straight for Tylenol.

Nope, the pink I am talking about is something more insidious.

To see what I am talking about you need to take a gander at any toy catalog, there you will find all the stuff that is usually neutral color or a more strong color, i.e. "boy" colors has turned pink.

That's right ordinary toys for use by either a boy or a girl are popping up colored an insipid shade pink.

For example, you can now find baseballs and footballs in pink, why the baseball bats are a happy pink color too. I'll admit I was too cowardly to check if the hockey sticks had made the pink switch. I just didn't want to know.

Now, these are some pretty mundane examples of the pink revolution. I found the weirdest items in the outdoor section.

Take for example, a bow and arrow set. To me a bow and arrow is pretty gender neutral. Whether you are a boy or girl, either you want to learn to shoot a bow or you don't. I can't see a pink bow changing a girl's opinion of hunting.

Usually, bows come in camouflage or a dark color; something discreet, after all it is for hunting. Not that the deer would notice whether the bow is colored or not, but it does seem to make a certain sense. I want to know, why the switch to pink?

Do marketers really think that by making a bow pink it will encourage a girl to pick up a bow?

Speaking as a girl, I can honestly say that changing something into a girl friendly color makes absolutely no difference in how the girl views it.

Personally, I just don't find the idea of pink bows and guns very appealing. Even though I have little girls and want them to be strong and capably women, I find the idea of making items pink just to appear more girl friendly rather disturbing.

Hopefully, my girls will decide to play football or hunt because they want to, not because the gear is pink.

In fact, I find it downright offensive to think that they (who ever they are) think that girls are so dopey, and are so easy to manipulate.

To my eyes, this is a form of dumbing it down for the girl. You can hear them (again, who ever they are) saying, well make it pink so the girls "get it".

So why doesn't this work both ways?

You don't see Barbie turning up in "boy" colors to attract boys to playing with a doll. Sure, there is the Ken doll, but no one, not even girls actually play with him. GI Joe is a doll, but again not many takers. Basically, you don't see anything "girl" being color changed to appeal to boys.

Let's band together and stop this pink invasion, maybe I could get some T-shirts made, just not pink ones.

Jennifer Flaten lives where the local delicacy is fried cheese, Wisconsin. She writes about family life, its amusing or not so amusing moments. "At least it's not another article on global warming," she says. Jennifer bakes a mean banana bread and admits an unusual attraction to balloon animals and cup cakes. Busy preparing for the zombie apocalypse, she stills finds time to write "As I See It," her witty, too often true column. "My urge to write," says Jennifer, "is driven by my love of cupcakes, with sprinkles on top. Who wouldn't write for cupcakes, with sprinkles," she wonders.

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