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MetaFilter For Her: Like MetaFilter, but pink!
May 9, 2014 8:14 AM   Subscribe

Collectors Weekly, a resource for vintage and antique collectors, examines the gender politics of the Easy-Bake Oven, the toy industry’s gender divide, and why ordinary things go pink. (Don't miss the Dumbest Products Made 'For Her' slideshow at the bottom of the "pink" article.)
posted by Room 641-A (38 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite

 
Pepsi Pink?
posted by Foosnark at 8:20 AM on May 9


"I wish my mom had told me about lady pens."
posted by Flannery Culp at 8:24 AM on May 9 [1 favorite]


MetaFilter For Her would be a hilarious/terrifying April Fools gag.
posted by schmod at 8:25 AM on May 9 [18 favorites]


Shrink it and pink it.
posted by feistycakes at 8:27 AM on May 9


That slideshow seems impossible to quote from, but, much as I like Lynn Peril, she is very very wrong a pillow fight board game is so much better than a dumb cannon game. This is objectively true.
posted by GenjiandProust at 8:28 AM on May 9 [1 favorite]


MetaFilter For Her would be a hilarious/terrifying April Fools gag.

We already got that.
posted by Curious Artificer at 8:30 AM on May 9


Oops: Collectors Weekly, previously.
posted by Room 641-A at 8:31 AM on May 9


It's still a major problem. A Google Image search for "girl gamer pink edition" shows just how bad the problem is on the geek side of things. Like girls can't enjoy black, silver, blue or red. It's got to be pink otherwise it's for males.

This is why we can't have nice things.
posted by Talez at 8:34 AM on May 9 [1 favorite]


previously, on Metafilter . . .

Time magazine, 1927
In Belgium, Princess Astrid, consort of the Crown Prince, gave birth a fortnight ago to a 7-lb. daughter. Said despatches: "The cradle . . . had been optimistically oufitted in pink, the color for boys, that for a girl being blue."

Gainesborough’s “Pink Boy” (not a joke)

Earnshaw's Infants' Department (June 1918) 'The generally accepted rule is pink for the boys, and blue for the girls. The reason is that pink, being a more decided and stronger color, is more suitable for the boy, while blue, which is more delicate and dainty, is prettier for the girl.'

A 1905 Times article said [pink is for boys, blue is for girls], and Parents magazine was still saying it as late as 1939. Some argued that pink was a close relative of red, which was seen as a fiery, manly color. Others traced the association of blue with girls to the frequent depiction of the Virgin Mary in blue.

After [WWII] the tide shifted permanently in favor of blue as a boy's color.

Pink and blue became the gender norms in [the 1940s] with the rise of manufacturers and retailers.
 
posted by Herodios at 8:36 AM on May 9 [9 favorites]


"This is why we can't have nice things." The pink things are the nice things. I like pink.
posted by Ideefixe at 8:36 AM on May 9 [1 favorite]


The pink things are the nice things. I like pink.

Many times, they are smaller, shoddier, more expensive pinkified versions of the boy things. In which case, it's not the pink that's the problem.
posted by emjaybee at 8:37 AM on May 9 [4 favorites]


Y'know that pink comb-o-mixer looks pretty fast and bulbous.

Also tapered, got me?
 
posted by Herodios at 8:43 AM on May 9 [1 favorite]


Pink LEGO is the worst offender by far. Lets take an imaginative toy with endless possibilities, and restrict young girls to only building pink kitchens or playing a pretty pretty princess!
posted by T.D. Strange at 8:47 AM on May 9


Basically, pink has always been for kids with names like Beverly, Taylor, Stacy, Lesley, Carol, Vivian, Ashley, or Blair.
posted by straight at 8:49 AM on May 9 [8 favorites]



MetaFilter For Her would be a hilarious/terrifying April Fools gag.

FeMetaFilter.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 8:53 AM on May 9


One of the comments on the linked pink article is written by a woman who says the only one of her tools her husband and son won't steal is a flowered screwdriver, which the men in her family won't be caught dead using. It reminds me of a tale told by a female mechanic, who said she always had a problem with the other mechanics in her shop (who were all male), stealing her shop rags, until the weekend she took them all the rags home with her and sewed black lace trim around all of them. After that not only did her shop rags never disappear again, but if she left one in someone else's section of the shop, it was promptly returned to her.
posted by orange swan at 8:55 AM on May 9 [15 favorites]


BodyGlide (For chafing while running) makes a girl version. It contains less product and has absolutely no different ingredients. And it costs the same as the bigger one. Only the label is different. It recommends using it for shoes.
posted by sio42 at 9:06 AM on May 9


I'm totally fascinated by the fact that Collector's Weekly seems to be way more attuned to race and gender issues than any mainstream magazine in the US (not to mention a lot of lefty ones, too.) Anyone know what's up with that?
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 9:12 AM on May 9 [1 favorite]


FeMetaFilter

I wonder how many different way we can pronounce that one?
posted by C'est la D.C. at 9:27 AM on May 9


Oddly, when I was in New Orleans recently I saw a beautiful pink '66 Ford Galaxy being driven by a dude. Maybe there's an exception for cars.
posted by jonmc at 10:01 AM on May 9


Wait a minute. Jem had a llama and I never knew about it????
posted by Tesseractive at 10:13 AM on May 9 [1 favorite]


Maybe there's an exception for cars.

Also the Financial Times, which is printed on pink paper. Because finance is…girly?
posted by wenestvedt at 10:15 AM on May 9 [3 favorites]


Also the Financial Times, which is printed on pink paper. Because finance is…girly?

I was just recently making a mental list of pink newspapers (yes, this is a thing) and #1 has to be the manliest paper in Italy, La Gazzetta dello Sport, which has the tagline Tutto il rosa* della vita or "All the pink of life."

*Notable distinction: il rosa refers to the color pink, la rosa means "the rose."
posted by psoas at 10:26 AM on May 9 [1 favorite]


Also, whoever was mad enough to sell Bic pens for $2.95 each in 1962 (that's over $23 today) and actually get people to buy them was an evil genius.
posted by psoas at 10:32 AM on May 9


It's interesting that the Easy Bake oven link talks about trying to market it to boys. I went and saw Alton Brown during his Edible Inevitable tour, and he talks a bit about wanting an Easy Bake when he was a kid but his parents wouldn't let him since they were "for girls".

To make up for the slight as a child, he introduced the Mega Bake oven.
posted by I am the Walrus at 10:37 AM on May 9 [2 favorites]


When I was first getting to know a good friend of mine, one of our bonding moments was over how, as boys, we had both secretly wanted Easy Bake ovens. I mean, what's cooler than baking your own cakes in your own room!
posted by usonian at 10:44 AM on May 9


After [WWII] the tide shifted permanently in favor of blue as a boy's color.

I have to wonder if that was driven by blue as a military and law enforcement color. Authoritarian indoctrination yadda yadda (yes I know the Zizek post is over there).
posted by rhizome at 10:53 AM on May 9 [1 favorite]


I have made a semi-serious attempt to keep pink (and it's close cousins, purple and "sparkle") out of my young daughter's life.

This is not so much a political decision as it is the simple fact that I find "for girls" versions of things offensive.

It is amazing, though, how much of what I term "pink crap" she has. It's truly insidious*, and in idle moments like this, I worry about its effect on girls.

By "pink crap", I mean not only things that are pink, but clothes with cutesy slogans, some sort of sparkle-y design, or are unnecessarily "princess-ed"

Obviously, clothing/toy choice is not the only factor in a young girl's life, but the aggressive separation of the same object into girls or boys versions seems to have increased even as women have more choices in life.

As an example, I am at a gymnastics open gym, with about 30 children, split roughly 50/50, all under 6.
Of those 15 or so girls, I see 2 that don't have pink clothing, and both of glittery kittens on their shirts.
In contrast, the boys span every color (blue, red, green being predominate, with some brown/black pants. Yellow is not a popular color apparently). There is not one boy wearing pink, and none of them have sparkles.

** An interesting side not, almost none of the moms are wearing pink. The two men are wearing blue.

posted by madajb at 11:14 AM on May 9 [2 favorites]


orange swan: "One of the comments on the linked pink article is written by a woman who says the only one of her tools her husband and son won't steal is a flowered screwdriver, which the men in her family won't be caught dead using."

I actually like the smaller-handled tools for women, but it's so hard to find them in not-pink and not-crappy-plastic! I do, in fact, have kind-of small hands, and while it doesn't matter so much with hammers or screwdrivers, with pliers a smaller handle is a lot easier for me!

Do women's pink razors still cost more than men's blue or black razors? I've been buying men's razors habitually for so many years I don't even know; the pink razors were a dollar or two more expensive for the package when I started shaving my legs.

I wish, if companies were going to go to such lengths to differentiate things for women, they didn't just slap on pink. They could do, like, black with white pinstripes, or fire engine red, or daisies, or blue with white polka dots. It IS sometimes fun to have something colorful and cheerful that men can't really get away with, but never in my life do I think to myself, "I want something fun today .... ooooh, pink!" I think "Ooooh, polka dots!" or "Oooooh, octopus earrings!" Pink is not particularly fun in and of itself, and it's so overmarketed to women that it completely defeats the purpose of having something stylish, since now it's just THE SAME DAMN UNIFORM. It's as corporate and dull as black, but less sleek and doesn't go with everything the way black does.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 11:17 AM on May 9 [3 favorites]


I have to wonder if that was driven by blue as a military and law enforcement color

The short answer is prolly sorta. 'Baby' blue isn't really much like 'navy' blue is it?

However -- In the English-speaking world, the design of service uniforms specifically and the gradual devolution of men fashion from a much broader pallet to the "mens dark suit" to the "mens navy blue suit" generally were definitely influenced by the high regard for the Royal Navy following the defeat of Napoleon -- along with an English revulsion for all things 'Continental'.

NB: By the time of Waterloo, England and France had been at war for over twenty years, and something like a third of the adult male population of England had either served in the RN, served in John Company ships (which imitated the RN) or had some other dealings with the RN in port or ashore.

So with a few exceptional dandified decades, it's been pretty much down the chromatic entropy slope for two hundred years.

Old habidasheries die hard.
 
posted by Herodios at 11:37 AM on May 9 [1 favorite]


What I look at, when it comes to gendered products and services, is the underlying message of its gendered-ness. Sometimes, there's no message; it's just a color choice. At other times, the purchasable experience seems to be different because the experience is gendered. I'm thinking of the Women's Half Marathon Series.

I've heard complaints from other runners that the races' ads put too much emphasis on "pampering" and "indulging" yourself before, during and after the race (chocolate, massages, etc.). By contrast, ads for races that aren't gendered often focus on the race's prestige, the depth of its competitive field, how scenic or challenging the course, is, etc. They encourage the athletes to experiences the race itself, rather than helping them find ways to kind of soften the blow or make the race seem less intense. That "cushioning" doesn't really jive with the mindset of most endurance athletes I know.

Are there "manly" races that soften the blow in this way? (Races offering beer and bacon at aid stations aren't looking to comfort you; they're double-dog-daring you to eat bacon and drink beer during a race without puking. :) ).
posted by Flipping_Hades_Terwilliger at 11:51 AM on May 9 [1 favorite]


'Baby' blue isn't really much like 'navy' blue is it?

Well, it's "soft blue," and a shorter cognitive-identity jump to navy blue than pink is.
posted by rhizome at 12:19 PM on May 9


I have a brand new baby daughter. I've resorted to buying boy's onesies to avoid the miasma of pink and pastels. Even if by some miracle the girl clothes have a cute animal on them, said cute animal is always wearing makeup. Even whales. Whales! Just in case we thought for a second that girls could like marine animals in generaland not just female, gender conforming, pastel marine animals.

I feel like there is nothing I can do to stem the vomitus pink tide that will sweep through my daughter's life as soon as she is impressionable. There are so many colors in the universe, dammit.
posted by lydhre at 4:59 PM on May 9 [5 favorites]


Even if by some miracle the girl clothes have a cute animal on them, said cute animal is always wearing makeup. Even whales.

Lydhre, that really surprises me! I've seen lots of baby clothes and can't recall ever seeing any with a critter wearing makeup on it.

Hair bows, now, lord yes. Pink bows on critters are definitely a thing, from simpering Minnie Mouse to smiley frogs (who technically don't even have hair).

But makeup? On clothes for newborns? Wow. That's a new one. What are they thinking?!
posted by misha at 6:03 PM on May 9


Granted 99% of these gendered products are a con and crappy to boot. But I'm sticking up for the Princess phone. When they were introduced, absolutely everybody had the same ugly phone. I still remember how jealous I was when my grandparents got one of those new pretty phones for my cool teenaged aunt.
posted by marsha56 at 8:05 AM on May 10


Are there "manly" races that soften the blow in this way?

Oddly enough, I was recently admiring the artwork (that was the only photo I could find on a quick search that looked like the Metro ads) for the Women's Half Marathon in DC, which had a lot of imagery of armor and torches, but of course done up in the usual (if-it-can't-be-pink) teal and purple.

Other races advertise free massages at the finish line area as part of the overall package, but it's definitely much more grit! endurance! exhilaration! accomplishment! and so on... really, the closest thing to softening the blow is when races advertise as "flat and fast," but that's still more related to (self-)competitive aspects of it. So, no.
posted by psoas at 9:10 AM on May 10


Pink LEGO is the worst offender by far. Lets take an imaginative toy with endless possibilities, and restrict young girls to only building pink kitchens or playing a pretty pretty princess!

The thing is, my 8year old daughter would really like the LEGO Friends stuff. They come with lots of figs (albeit the weird dollified ones) and lots of lego accessories. We bought the lego Christmas marketplace set last year, and one if the big draws is, essentially, playing house with all the people and stuff.

A lot of the other sets are skimpy on people and stuff. (Ok, that's not true. Apparently the Hogwarts sets and some of the Star Wars and hobbit sets have lots of people. But she's not really into those.)
posted by leahwrenn at 9:48 AM on May 10


I'm playing a set at an LGBTQ* show tomorrow and I was trying to figure out what shirt to wear

I'm going to go to Wal-mart today and pick out the sparkliest pinkest "I'M A PRINCESS AND WHAT I SAY GOES" shirt and stuff all 230 pounds of myself, sausage-like, into it

This is gonna be so rad
posted by jake at 12:49 PM on May 10 [3 favorites]


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