Thursday, November 30, 2006

The pink will win. All hail the pink.

Daddytypes nailed the fears many of us have about color branding. When the princess was getting ready to come out, we let family and friends know that we didn't want everything to be girl-specific. We didn't want to raise a Disney Princess from the bassinet on, all swathed in pinks and bows.

Though we got a few outfits that came with those absurd little headbands, we never put one on her. When she was old enough to choose her favorite things to wear--somewhere between ten months and a year--the favorites were unisex Patagonia pieces we had picked up on sale at the outdoors store in Fayetteville. Other favorites were unisex-tending-toward-girly pieces from Zaetano. Then, as Daddytypes found out, somewhere between 18 and 30 months it all changed.

By two and a half, she was a girl. She wanted nothing but dresses and skirts. Pink and purple were suddenly, and vocally, her favorite colors. Barbie entered her life, soon followed by the first of her Disney princesses. I fought it for a while, until I resigned myself to the fact that there was no way out. The pink-hegemony branding machine is simply too strong, unless the child lives in a complete bubble--never goes to school, never sees TV or a movie.

Then again, I've also begun to think about genetic predispositions. The boys at the playground inevitably seem drawn to gun play and rough-housing. The girls inevitably seem drawn to comparing shoes and playing in social groups.

It just begs the question: do we (and society/business) begin the preferences or is there a built-in preference?