NYT: The Unrelenting Pink of Girl Toys Is Fading As Dads Do Their Part

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About Noah Brand

Noah Brand is an Editor-at-Large at Good Men Project, and possibly also a cartoon character from the 1930s. His life, when it is written, will read better than it lived. He is usually found in Portland, Oregon, directly underneath a very nice hat.


  1. As a victim of the Aisle of Pink, I couldn’t be happier that toys are becoming un-gendered. A girl who wants to play with RC cars and superhero action figures, or a boy who wants to have Barbie tea parties, should feel free to do so without the ridiculous amount of social stigma that’s traditionally been attached to playing with the “wrong” toys.

  2. Noah, I published my own rant against pink–I mean, Santa’s!–today on Huffington. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/lori-day/pink-toys_b_2233724.html

    Less of this please! Great post, and a great new way of looking at the problem! Thank you.

  3. Sending this to the Princess Free Zone. She will love this! Nice to see a practical Dad!

  4. PursuitAce says:

    Here’s me doing my part.
    Pink is just not that attractive a color. Don’t buy in to the hype. Both genders should avoid this one.

  5. I humbly disagree with the premise. I’m a very hands on father, with four girls and a boy on the way. It’s ok when girls get girly pink toys and clothes. Instilling confidence in a child isn’t about pink and blue.

  6. I’ve got young twin daughters and a wife who loves pink and girly things. Mom likes to get them stuff she likes, which includes a lot of pink toys, fru-fru dress-up stuff, and other “gendered” playthings. For me to stop this would mean telling my wife her own likes/dislikes are flawed and take an intentional effort on my part to thwart her choices of what my girls play with or wear. I think that would be far more sexist and chauvinistic of me than simply accepting her tastes for what they are and being fine with her sharing them with our daughters. At the same time, I also get them toys that appeal to me, because I want to expose them to variety and things I like, not because I’m trying to keep them from being “girly” or because I secretly wished I had a son. One of their Christmas gifts, for example, was a tool workbench thing with play drills, stuff to build with, etc. which now sits in the room near a kitchen set they got a year or so ago.

    To the extent dads are “freeing [their children] from limiting gender roles” by throwing off the shackles of the pink aisle, I suspect it has little to do with having fixed gender roles in mind and consciously trying to break free of them. I think it’s a byproduct of dads being more often involved in purchasing decisions than they used to be of things like toys and clothes, and no matter who’s buying, people tend to buy what they like for their kids, at least until their kids get old enough to develop and express strong preferences of their own. An aisle of pink toys exerts no influence on how kids are allowed or encouraged to play outside the toy store, any more than an aisle of nothing but cereal in the grocery store constrains my choices about what to eat based on society’s expectations. It’s pure marketing, and it’s there because they sell more toys that way, not because it’s been deemed an effective way to keep little boys and girls in their place. Nothing about the pink aisle forces parents to limit girls’ play choices to items from that aisle, or to exclude little boys, and in my experience, very few parents are that rigid about gendered play, despite all the online fretting I’ve seen about it.

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