Skepchick Quickies 9.24

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  1. Why do feminists fight the girls like pink thing so hardcore. My niece by choice wants everything pink. I can give her choice of a whole rainbow of colors and everything will either be pink or lavender. Should manufacturers stop making things in pink and give no one a choice. This seriously mystifies me?

    Should I be ashamed of my niece because she’s one of those weak willed girls that gave into societies pink gender bias. Or maybe it’s somehow my fault, maybe the adults around her some how forced this pink lifestyle onto her poor little mind.

    I can tell you even if you try to influence her she will pick the pink one.

  2. Games weren’t for girls? Damn, I wish someone would have told those lady Horde players before they ganked me numerous times in Stranglethorn Vale.

  3. rider, it’s not about girls liking the colour pink. Plenty do, and there’s not a thing wrong with it. It’s the idea that all that’s required to market something to girls is to slap some pink on it, and their sparkley princess brains will be unable to resist its allure. As, obviously, not one of the girls and women pictured in the ad would otherwise have any interest in video games. Feminine glee does not arise from video games. They are overcome by the joy of pink.

  4. I don’t understand the pink-hating feminists either, rider. I’m firmly in the “If you don’t want a pink controller then don’t buy one” camp. Or, “If your four-year old doesn’t want a pink controller then don’t buy her one” camp, in this case. Come on, these are clearly marketed at little kids. Note the kindergartner in the picture. They can’t participate in “boob quake,” and if pink stuff is how they express their femininity, then so be it.

  5. @nichole: “Note the kindergartener in the picture.”

    And the teenager, and the adult, all playing with a controller.

    It’s not about how pink is bad, per se, it’s about how there are multi-colored toys for everyone, and pink toys for girls. Seriously, think of one toy — one single toy — that’s marketed specifically towards girls and doesn’t have a primarily pink (or, at best, purple) color scheme. It’s not that they’re choosing to express their femininity through pink things, it’s that they’re being told that pink things are the only way to do so.

  6. Xbox 360 has had pink controllers for years, I almost bought one but there were used ones in other colors that were cheaper. For the folks decrying the “feminist war on pink”, please find me an ad like this that shows boys using the pink controller? Can’t find one? Well can you explain how that’s not sexist?

    See, it’s not the controllers or the girls who use them who are being sexist, it’s the manufacturers and advertisers. Why does that need to be explained to any thinking person?

  7. I’m a copy editor and sometimes I proof some rather well-visited news sites….had to fix Don McLeroy’s name from Don McElvoy on one of them…pained me to do it, but I cannot let an error alone. Wish I never had to have heard about those duncecaps on the Texas School Board *sigh*

  8. @mikerattlesnake: I’m not sure if I agree with you or not about the “pushing pink = sexist” notion. The manufacturers and advertisers are trying to make a buck, not trying to say one sex is better than another. But I would agree that the notion of “females will only buy it if it’s pink” is damaging, and in that vein I think I agree with you.
    It’s hard for me to find any specific fault here, despite the fact that I don’t care for the practice. If the pink practice didn’t sell, then it would never be used. But then the omnipresence of the pink practice (and its success) reinforces to both sexes that “this is what females like” — it’s all circular. Blame humans for taking the path of least resistance.

    In the meanwhile, about the best I think I can do towards a solution is what I have been doing for years: being vocal about my dislike for poor stereotypes, avoiding products that are marketed based on those stereotypes, and using personal clout when possible to encourage others to resist. (As a prof I used to decry the idea of math as being inherently unfeminine, and now as a software engineer I decry the notion of tech or coding as being inherently masculine.) I also care precisely zero about anything I like being supposedly masculine or feminine, but I will admit that it took me most of my 40+ years to get to that point.

  9. The current levels of commercialism are endumbinating and samenessboosting. All pink, all the time, for anything marketed at girls is just one of the more obnoxious consequences.

    And I say that as a man whose winter bike is gucci pink. Admittedly I thought it was gold metallic until I saw the colour mentioned on the receipt, but hey, I still own a gucci pink mountain bike with studded tires.

  10. It’s not that “we” hate pink. It’s that we hate what it represents. The idea that marketers and companies don’t have to put any more thought into getting women to buy their products than “making it pink.”

    In this particular case, it comes down to the idea that women don’t play video games. (I’m not really sure if that’s true or not. I think not.) Therefore, to get them interested, make the controller pink. Don’t do any research into games they might find interesting or try to make the industry more welcoming to women. Just turn off our brains and make it pink.

    It’s shallow, and frankly, disgusting.

  11. I think the reason that business uses the “Shrink it and Pink” meme is because it continues to sell to women and girls. Here in Texas they sell pink guns. I don’t mean toys. I have seen women at the Wal-mart buy pink camo shot guns and have heard them call them cute. Its stupid but it sells. In much the same way that Lifetime and LMN and Oxygen make me so angry because they assume that women are idiots and will only watch stupid predictible programs. But they succesfully fill a demand niche and make money doing it. When it is no longer profitable it will disappear but not before then.

  12. It also seems like othering to me. Instead of treating women/girls like everyone else, we have to treat them like a special case. The idea that women aren’t normal, they’re outside of normal.

    So when I see pink, I see how “unnormal” I am. Everytime. Like a constant reminder. It makes one resentful after a while.

  13. @BlackCat:

    About whether or not girls play games…meet the Frag Dolls:

    Ironically, they have a pink controller in their website logo…HOWEVER, it isn’t Barbie Horse Adventures they are playing.

    The number of women playing games continue to rise. In fact, I’d wager that the majority of online role-playing (World of Warcraft) and casual web-based game (Farmville, etc.) markets is actually female.

    “According to the International Game Developers Association, women represent 40 percent of all gamers. And although the Entertainment Software Association pegs that number at about 38 percent, it found that the average female gamer plays games 7.4 hours per week.” Read more:

    The problem is that while there are lots more lady gamers these days, there are too few ladies in the gaming industry itself.

  14. @quarksparrow: There is a biochemical explanation for this. There is a direct neural pathway from the color processing center of the brain to the pancreas that cause the release of vast quantities of sugar into the blood stream when exposed to the color pink. This explains why, when I had lots of preteen nieces, I would go into diabetic shock whenever I attempted to traverse the KayBee pink aisle while christmas shopping.

    It also explains why Sweet’n Low comes in pink packets. Sweet’n Low is really just very fine grained sand, it only tastes sweet because you see the pink packet.

    Fortunately, all but one of my nieces has now grown out of that stage, and the one remaining 8 year old would much prefer a worm farm or a field trip to the fossil collection in the AMNH.

  15. @scribe999: Actually my mom researches World of Warcraft and while the exact ratio of female to male players is not known, it’s probably around a third. So not the majority but also a large chunk.

    I agree with the commenters who have written that while they find the pink implements thing annoying, it must stick around because it sells. In fact, I’ve always thought about my aversion gender roles the same why I think about being a skeptic.

    While I find it incredibly annoying and frustrating when people spread misinformation or falsehoods, most people just don’t care as much as me about the truth, and so are unwilling to change their minds. In the same way, people find gender roles fun and easy, so they keep them around even though there is ample evidence that they are largely constructions.

    In fact, I think it’s because I’m a skeptic I find gender roles so annoying. It bothers me that there’s no reason to believe there’s anything inherently true about one gender or another without evidence, but other people seem to enjoy the thought that there’s some huge unbridgeable gap. I don’t get it.

  16. Day 1: There are things in this world that are for you. There are things in this world that are not for you. You will know the things that are for you because they have your mark. Your mark is pink. Your clothes are pink; your room is pink; your toys are pink.
    Day 374: There are things in this world that are for you. There are things in this world that are not for you. When you choose the correct things you will be praised, hugged, and rewarded with positive noises from the people around you. When you choose the incorrect things you will be ignored, laughed at or punished with negative noises from the people around you.
    Day 1260: You love pink. It has always been that way. It must be inherent to your sex.

  17. The pink shit drives me out of my fucking mind. I went to two sporting goods stores the other day to find a red jersey to wear for soccer. I found THIRTY NINE options of pink ones and ZERO red ones.

    As far as sports FAN gear, I’ve noticed the options for women diversifying a bit in the past few years. But it’s still a regular occurrence to find plenty of pink shit when a girl just wants her team colors.

    Also, please discuss:

  18. @rider: When they overwhelmingly market pink things to girls, and, as jes3ica mention, often don’t give anyone the option of choosing anything else, girls will never stop buying pink things.

    It may make economic sense, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a cultural disaster. Maximising profit usually is.

    Add to that what Glow-Orb posted (ditto on the COTW) and there you have why I “hate” pink, except on my mountain bike, and panthers, and frozen blood.

  19. @Glo-Orb COTW!

    I have gone to baby stores to buy gifts for friends’ new children and been underwhelmed by the gender neutral options. Girls are pink, pink, pink (it’s the “pink isle”) with dolls and horsies and everything else is for “boys” (including dolls, I mean action figures, and horses and dinosaurs and toy weapons and cars and… you get the drift). When we’re pushed into separate rolls from birth it’s no wonder we think males and females are two different species!

    I like the color hot-pink but I don’t want pink exclusively!

  20. “When we’re pushed into separate rolls from birth it’s no wonder we think males and females are two different species!”

    So you mean to tell me that I’m not from Mars? This changes everything.

  21. @jes3ica: All Red Sox fans are familiar with the Great Pink Hat Debate, which seems to be mostly an excuse for the Neanderthals to claim that women wearing pink hats are No True Red Sox Fans and thus should be … I don’t know, maybe blamed when they lose or something… But no one complains about Whitey Bulger wearing a white Red Sox hat in his mug shot…

    Maybe a good AI topic some time would be whether or not sports rituals work… Most involve hats.

  22. @Bjornar:
    Marketing’s jsut not that powerful. There are the occasional instances of something like that (like diamonds for engagement rings), but if the marketers were in control here, why wouldn’t they get girls and boys to like the same colour, so they could cut down their production costs?

    I think it’s far more likely that businesses are capitalising on an existing cultural phenomenon, not the cause of it.

  23. @James K: I don’t believe marketing’s wholly to blame for this or in control, or the cause. I do believe businesses are capitalising on, and through marketing perpetuating, a quirk of fashion that’s gotten out of control, and that this, from viewpoints besides profit, is undesirable.

  24. @James K: The reason they don’t market the same model for boys and girls is because then siblings would be able to inherit stuff from each other, and they would sell less.
    Now, you can’t reuse Older Sister’s wardrobe and toys for Junior, because your family would flip if you dressed him in pink or, almost as bad, let him play with pink toys.
    Some parents actively invest in gender neutral clothing with an eye to reuse, but too many fall for the idea that it’s not a real girl unless she’s drowning in pink – and vice versa.

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