Food for thought

These kids’ lunch bags (spotted in Poundland a few weeks ago) nearly made me lose my lunch:

Photo of pink and blue lunchbags for kids, with blue showing 'cheeky monkey' and pink showing 'greedy piggy'

Blue legs good, pink legs bad

Yes, the blue one says “cheeky monkey” and the pink one says “greedy piggy”. Assuming that girls will tend to go for the pink one and boys will tend to go for the blue one (because they know that’s the socially “correct” choice), girls have no option but to be told every time they eat lunch that they are “greedy”. And we wonder why girls as young as 3 are already developing issues around eating.

In order to brainwash girls with these negative messages about food and body-image as soon as they’re old enough to understand them, though, we’ve got to make sure that they’re conditioned to go for the pink stuff long before that, so that the message doesn’t accidentally indoctrinate too many boys. Fortunately there’s plenty of baby-feeding paraphernalia to help here:

Photo of pink/purple and blue/green baby feeding spoons, bottles, dummies, etc.

Taste the rainbow

This range from Hey Baby! (available in lots of Poundlands, 99p stores, etc) which includes plates, bottles, bowls, dummies, sippy cups and more, includes what seem to be used fairly widely as sort of secondary gendered colours (purple for girls, green for boys) bundled with the primary pink-and-blue as appropriate so that you don’t get confused and accidentally buy a purple bowl for a boy. In the same display, we’re reminded which company has been responsible for a lot of the ‘pinkification’ of the kids’ stuff market:

Photo of Disney Mickey/Minnie Mouse bibs in pink and blue

Taking the Mickey

Remember, you’re not a real girl unless you’ve got a bow in your hair and eyelashes so long that they’d probably get covered in food if you ate the way most babies do. Everything about the iconography of Mickey and Minnie there annoys me: the clothes, the typeface, and the fact that Mickey seems to be thinking (this impression is reinforced by the clouds behind him looking like thought bubbles), whereas Minnie is clearly looking coquettish (and she gets hearts instead of thoughts). Mickey Mouse never used to be that blue, of course: he originally appeared in red shorts and yellow shoes. It’s a literally cartoonish example, but it’s worth remembering that in the pink-and-blue dichotomy it’s not just the girls whose options are limited.

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One thought on “Food for thought

  1. Don’t get me started on Disney. There was an ad on TV just now for DisneyWorld (I think) with the usual nuclear family raring to go on hols. Young boy #1 was in a treehouse with a collection of colourful rocks. Girl #1 was holding a pony and combing its hair. Boy #2 was arranging model airplanes. Girl #2 seemed to collecting some kind of playing cards (I missed it exactly).

    So… boys are geologists, scientists, engineers, pilots. Girls are, er, horse grooms? Disney so could easily take best advantage of their place at the top of kids’ entertainment by empowering young minds and neutralising stereotypes. It truly saddnes me.

    What does playing this game win them?

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