Why Boys Wear Blue and Girls Wear Pink
Last weekend my close friend and I shopped at Baby's 'R' Us for a Halloween costume for my 1-year-old brother and his 15-month-old "girlfriend." After browsing the racks for a good 20 minutes, I picked out a pair of cute matching monster outfits, pink for the girl and blue for the boy. My friend, a self-proclaimed feminist, seemed very thrown by this. True - the outfit choices for toddlers are very mundane at Baby's 'R' Us, from truck driver, pirate and action-hero outfits for boys to fairy princess and nurse outfits for girls.
However after taking a course at SMC on gender roles, my friend saw this as more than a poor choice of costumes. She saw this as wrongful propaganda of gender roles as well as proof that we breed gender roles into our children through consumerism. It didn't make her feel any better to see the long aisles lined with pink, sparkling toys for the girls, including, to her grand dismay, toddler cooking kits and blue action toys for the boys. Long story short - we buy Barbies for girls and trucks for boys, thereby forcing outdated gender ideals on them. Following this my friend tried to diligently argue that it was perfectly acceptable to purchase a pink costume for my baby brother.
I ended up leaving the store empty handed with these issues weighing down my brain.
I believe that there is nothing wrong with educating girls to have an inclination towards feminine ways and objects, as well as teaching concepts of masculinity to boys. That is not to say that I want to regress back into the thinking of the 1950s and be a stay-at-home mom. I do, however, think that there is a difference between fighting inequality and injustice, and fighting tradition. I also believe instilling tradition does not limit individuals to explore their potential, regardless of gender.
Furthermore, cultivating gender ideals in children through toys and clothing isn't by any means "breeding," as my friend put it. Are we to give all our kids unisex clothing, and unisex haircuts in order to avoid gender classification?
I have gender equalitarian friends, and I would love to see their reaction if their male date showed up in a pink dress sporting high heels and said: "I don't adhere to gender roles." I can tell you for sure, they would be immensely freaked.
Just as with chivalry, gender equality and beautiful gender oriented traditional values are two different things, fortunately one can survive alongside the other.
Certain things are just reserved for specific genders, like different costumes, ponytails, or the lifting of heavy objects.
Occasionally you have people that feel as if they were born in the wrong body and in that case it's totally fine for gender roles to go out the window, but for the rest of us, being politically correct does not have to mean rejecting tradition. Besides, how much more politically correct can we become before mutating into robots?
The cold truth is, I would not feel comfortable with my date showing up in a dress no matter how gender equalitarians would explain it in theory.
I don't want to live in a genderless society, where women pay for themselves and carry heavy objects, where men give birth, a world of separate marital banking accounts and where both bride and groom get led down the aisle, but after talking to some women I feel like we are headed down that road and fast.
It is our history that men wear suits and women wear dresses. Not to say that we should be restricted to just one or the other, but there is nothing wrong with these ideals. No matter how hard you try you can't blur the distinct lines between men and women. This is manifested in sports, love and history. Catwoman will always be a woman and Spiderman will always remain a man. There is a vast difference between being politically correct and just plain touchy. These hard-core gender equalitarians are no longer fighting for equal rights, they are fighting against thousands of years of tradition. Exclude that, and we are left with monotone sexless Halloween costumes, in a world of gender confused hybrids.