I was shopping online for nap mats. I thought Georgia (3 years old) would love one with a dinosaur theme, so I showed her one. I wanted her to pick it out, thinking she might like it more if she did. Sugarpie has opinions.
Me: How about this (light blue dinosaur themed) one? Do you like this one?
Georgia: That’s blue for boys. I need a pink one for girls.
Two things. First, we are pretty girly and I love it. But we aren’t so pink-all-of-the-time girly. Obviously we absorb these gender “rules” just from living in our culture, I get it, but this was so sudden. So matter-of-fact. It was as if someone sat her down and laid down the gender law when I wasn’t looking. It just makes me a little sad that she would limit herself in any way, for a color.
Which brings me to my second point. Why is it that only boys get to wear dinosaurs? I would happily put a dark blue t-shirt with a T. Rex on my daughters, I don’t care. But SHE DOES. Now she does. Since she has intuited that girls don’t wear blue, she might refuse even the cutest velociraptor shirt.
Where are the stegosaurus dresses?! CAN A GIRL GET SOME TRICERATOPS JAMMIES PLEASE?!!
If we are serious as a society about getting more women into STEM careers, shouldn’t it start here? The implicit message is this: Girls, you don’t like science.
Paleontology, not for you!
Engineering, there’s a whole lot blue! Look the other way! (When is the last time you saw a pink shirt with a cute cartoon robot?)
Astronomy, that’s for boys! (Anything space-themed is inevitably shrouded in “strong masculine colors.”)
Can someone out there start catering to our daughters’ interest in science-related themes? Can we start telling them that girls can love science too? I know that we say this with our words, we just need to show it in all of the ways that our children understand.
Because right now, I’m afraid, they’re getting the message.