Parents Fear Pink Plague

Filed under: Toys

its a girl balloonAre today's little girls being brainwashed by marketers trying to sell toys? After a study of young girls' speech patterns revealed that many of them refer to the color pink as "Barbie", some parents are convinced that their daughters are suffering from "pink plague".

The phrase "pink plague" was coined by Sue Palmer, author of the book Toxic Childhood. "You can't find girls past the age of three who aren't obsessed with the color. It's just so insidious and it shows how commercial forces can get under their skin even by that age. You can't seem to get anything that's not pink for girls, whether it's clothes, books or toys," said Palmer.

What is wrong with a commercial-driven preference for pink? Palmer believes it is an indication of a larger problem -- one that results in an ever-widening gender gap and influences the way girls feel about themselves. 'It is brainwashing,' said Palmer. 'The pink is just the vehicle. There are other things that become very subtly associated with pink like obsession with appearance and body image and the idea of what female sexuality is.'

Of course marketers are trying to infiltrate our kid's minds. That is what they get paid to do and they've been doing it forever. And while I think blaming "pink plague" for our girls' problems might be oversimplifying things a bit, I get Palmer's point. Kids - boys and girls - receive messages about themselves and each other beginning at a very young age. It is a parent's job to ensure that the messages they receive are the right ones. That gets harder to do as they get older, but limiting a 3-year-old's exposure to marketing messages isn't that difficult: turn off the television.

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.