Friday, as I walked around the room helping clean up from a project, I overheard Rebecca say, “Michael likes pink!”

She said the word ‘pink’ like it was some horrible disease… something so awful it almost shouldn’t be uttered. It seems each year there are children, for whatever reason, that haven’t had the gender stereotypes perpetuated by society smashed. Add one more hat to my ever expanding collection… Gender Stereotype Smasher.

“Michael likes pink? So do I!” I said loud enough for not only the entire class, but probably the one next door too.

“You do?” Rebecca whispered.

How could it be?

“Of course I do. Pink is a wonderful color… you do know colors aren’t only for girls or boys, don’t you?” I asked her.

She looked confused.

“Michael, why do you like pink?” I asked him.

“I just do, it’s a cool color,” he replied.

“Exactly, same here. Boys can like pink… and play at the dollhouse… and wear whatever they like in dress up…” I started.

“And girls can like blue and play at construction or with blocks and Lego’s,” finished Darlene. She had wondered over and wanted in on the stereotype smashing.

With Darlene and my quick and clear clarification, the conversation was over. We’ll definitely be talking about this more as a class very soon. Michael had a huge grin on his face and I felt a little better knowing I’d rid the world of a tiny injustice.


Christine said...

I hear that every year too in my classroom and I have a similar class conversation. Even my own son, when he was five, liked the color pink and the pink Power Ranger was his favorite!!!

Colleen said...

I had a similar conversation in my room about dress up. One of the boys wore a dress at daycare and the kids were laughing about it. I told them that dress up is for pretending and you can pretend to be anyone you want boy, girl or animal. I think my very matter-of-fact attitude was pretty convincing as at least serveral of them put on the "oh yeah" face! :)

deborah said...

Haha - I love how you didn't say it loud enough for the room next door to hear!

C E Edmonson said...

Love it. I have a Moster Truck obsessed, car-collecting, dirty, sweaty 5 yos with long hair who has two (older) sisters and attends a class where 13out of the 17 kids are girls. He also loves pink, flowers, shoes, and girls. Why? Because they're all pretty and he likes pretty things. And he not ashamed to tell anyone.

Dorothy Shapland said...

I've had this conversation every year, and my son is always my example. "Oh, my son Andrew loves pink, has long hair, wears earings..." He loves coming to school to visit and being grilled with the "do you REALLY like pink?!" questions. Teenagers are powerful that way.

Anonymous said...

I am pretty sure this makes you one of my heroes.

Jo said...

I've had to face this problem in my first-grade placement class, too. With older students, I'll occasionally wear a tie to school (I'm female) if someone needs to feel like they can belong even though they're what other people call "different." There's actually a book now that a friend just showed me -- http://www.myprincessboy.com/index.asp -- I'm not sure how much of an application it might have in the class, or if you'd even be able to use it (some schools do not want this sort of thing encouraged in their classrooms), but it's good to know it exists!

sandi said...

check out this youtube video - the power of pink


my k-kids are flashmobbing our school assembly with their big buddies just like in the clip