It’s interesting, the amount of barriers that have been shattered in the last couple of decades, what was once deemed socially unacceptable is now normality, and that is something that should be celebrated. One thing that has struck me however, is how the gender divide when it comes to clothing and other products still remains. Let me be clear, I’m not talking about the clear examples of why there is a gender divide in clothing (underwear for example) but rather in the colour coding, patterns and designs upon the clothes themselves.
Almost from birth there is a clear divide, blue for boys, pink for girls. Floral patterns for girls, monster trucks, football and spaceships for boys. It honestly surprises me that in today’s rather accepting society, that there is such a divide in this regard. To give you a prime example, almost every large shaving razor brand has a pink razor for ladies and a blue/black one for men. If you were to compare the razors however you would find that there is not a single difference between them.
There seems to be an almost instinctively negative reaction to getting say a pink smartphone for himself. I personally have a leather protective case for my phone, in pink and the general reaction from both men and women has been of either incredulity or mockery. It is almost as if my sexuality is defined by my the simple fact that I happen to favour pink as a colour rather than blue for example.
Now I understand that we are almost hard wired from before birth to favour a gender specific colour, but decades ago we were hard wired to have a negative stance towards race, skin colour, homosexuality and even to the notion of gender equality. If we have been able to progress as a society beyond these backward and negative stances, then why can we not move beyond the gender divide over materialistic items.
Surely it makes no difference if a man wears a pink shirt or owns a pink shirt, and it makes no difference if a woman wishes to wear a suit with trousers rather than a skirt. There are some items that will be gender specific for a reason (underwear a prime example) but for other items and products, why is there such a gender divide?
My daughter and I share a love of cosmetics, soaps, pink and roses, is my masculinity or even my sexuality now in question because of it? Of course not, yet most men would just take one look at that and immediately question both, most women too, at least in my own personal experience.
I think we have reached a point in society where gender divide when it comes to products and colours has to come to an end. I understand in terms of underwear and products that are designed for women/men due to their biological systems, but that aside, social engineering aside, is there really a necessity for the differentiation between them for things such as shirts, phone cases, phones and soaps?
My only hope is that as a parent, I will be able to give my children the example that they should be proud of who they are, and their interests, and that they can be secure in their femininity and masculinity, without having to stay upon the predefined lines of the gender divide for the aforementioned products and others, purely because of societal predisposition to have define colours and products as either masculine or feminine.
Until next time,