Let Toys Be Toys: Bullying: the role of gender-based marketing

Note from Carrie: My new article for Let Toys Be Toys – For Girls and Boys on the role that gender-based marketing plays in bullying.

Pink means girl. Blue means boy. At times it feels impossible to change this overwhelming cultural message.

Has there ever been a time in history with such strong significance attached to a color, and was it possible to reverse the association? Yes and yes. Jo Paoletti, the historian who authored Pink and Blue: Telling the Boys from the Girls in America, observed to me, “the interesting thing about pink is that it is like wearing black in the nineteenth century. At that time, wearing black meant you were in mourning. Any woman in a black dress was a widow. It was a very strong symbolic color. But clearly, black has changed and now it doesn’t mean that. Black is a fashion statement.”

Pink is clearly the new black. Pink has stepped in as the most symbolic color in our twenty-first century culture. Pink means female, and woe to the girl that rejects pink or the boy that embraces pink. Paoletti commented, “What marketing does is create symbols that people can use to bully people. It’s almost like having a recipe and saying these are the ingredients for masculinity and femininity, and if you vary from the recipe, you can get bullied.”

Read the full story at Toys Will Be Toys…