Cordelia Fine reviews the scientific literature, and discovers that the evidence that girls innately prefer pink toys just isn’t there.
Existing science simply doesn’t support the view that gender-neutral toys or books are, at best, a pointless railing against nature or, at worse, politically correct meddling with children’s "true" natures. Social experience isn’t something that interferes with the emergence of a child’s "real," underlying design. It is an integral part of the construction, step by step, of the developmental pathway—destination uncertain.
Moreover, developmental psychologists have found that children are very aware of the importance placed on the social category of gender and highly motivated to discover what is "for boys" and what is "for girls." Socialization isn’t just imposed by others; a child actively self-socializes. Once a child realizes (at about 2 to 3 years of age) on which side of the great gender divide he or she belongs, the well-known dynamics of norms, in-group preference, and out-group prejudice kick-in.
I don’t know why so many people discount the importance of socialization. It’s a very intense experience, and almost all of us went through it — most children will freak out if you try to get them to wear inappropriately gendered clothing choices. Put a 5 year old boy in a pink dress and send him off to school, and he might initially have no problem with it…until the other 5 year olds of both sexes in the Gender Police start mocking, teasing, and tormenting him. We learn fast what will help us fit into the group.
Try to figure out what is disturbing about this image. Do you think it’s because it violates genetic norms?
(Well, he might think so.)