A friend of mine recently introduced me to the website pinkstinks.co.uk: a â€œcampaign and social enterprise that challenges the culture of pink which invades every aspect of girlsâ€™ lives.â€ Founded by two â€œthirty-somethingâ€ British twin sisters, pinkstinks aims to spark public discussion and influence the media to promote positive gender roles to girls worldwide. Website co-founder Abi Moore, a London-based documentary filmmaker and mother of two sons, grew disgusted by the vapid 24/7 media coverage of Paris Hilton and other celebrities while the achievements of brilliant female scientists and other talented women go virtually unrecognized. Determined to provide more substantive female role models for girls today, Abi teamed up with her sister Emma Mooreâ€”a publishing executive and parent of two girlsâ€”to start the online venture.
Their appealing website creatively challenges the â€œculture of pinkâ€ and its reductive, restrictive gender stereotyping. On one level, pink is just a colorâ€”and if youâ€™re a mother struggling with whether to buy a rose-hued wardrobe for your princess-obsessed daughter, rest assured that a few pink shirts or dresses wonâ€™t keep your five-year-old out of the Ivy League down the road. On the other hand, though, â€œpinkâ€ is more than a color: itâ€™s a ubiquitous cultural symbol for a set of prevailing values and messages about what it means to be feminine, for what girls are supposed to care about: beauty, appearance, domesticity, and (before you know it) heterosexual allure.
According to the website, for example, more than 60% of British girls aged 7 to 10 wear lipstick and / or perfume, while over 40% wear eye shadow or eyeliner. Among British girls aged 15-17, 73% say that when they feel bad about themselves, itâ€™s related to their looks or their weight, rather than school work or other abilities. In contrast, pinkstinks motivates girls to develop more meaningful ambitions and privilege brains over beauty.
If you visit the website, be sure to click the box labeled â€œvoices,â€ which links you to a video of two Swedish pre-teens who took on Toys-R-Us for its â€œvery gendered and sexist Christmas Catalogue.â€ According to the young investigators, only 14 out of 54 pages of the catalogue portray boys and girls playing with the same toys. Their report is an inspiring example of childrenâ€™s feminist activism on a global scaleâ€”and it may prompt your own kids to question, or at least be aware of, the hidden politics of pink. You can also purchase some alternative merchandise, including a bib or t-shirt emblazoned with the slogan â€œIâ€™m no Princess.â€ Just think of how adorable your little one might look in that!Â And by all means feel to comment with your thoughts below:Â does pink stink?