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From me to you, highlighting challenges faced by girls

Dear Daughters, Would You Buy Pink for Your Male Dog?

Dear Daughters,

On September 7, 2014 we welcomed a beautiful and wonderful baby boy into our family – our little Boston Terrier, Ringer (named for one of your favourite sports – ringette).

We went shopping for him the other day and were faced with a moment of truth when the harness we all agreed would best fit him and best suit our needs was available in only one colour…

Would we buy a pink harness for him or not?

I have been on this Earth for 39 years and 10 months. The “pink is for girls” mantra has been around for as long as I can remember. Even so, I was disappointed and shocked that my brain, without permission from me, dismissed the possibility of buying the harness simply because it was pink.

What??? That goes against everything I believe!

Only a second passed before my common sense took over. I bent forward to grab the pink harness from the shelf but it was no longer there. During the second I had spent sorting my brain, youngest dear daughter had grabbed the harness and the three of you were headed to find Ringer the best squeaky toy you could find. None of you cared that the harness was pink. And why should you?

That moment made me realize that societal messages are even more powerful than I consciously realized. I have immersed myself in learning to identify damaging societal messages and spreading the word in an effort to rid our society of them. Despite being hyper aware of the “pink is for girls” mantra and not believing it to be true at all, my brain went there. When societal messages are shouted loud enough, they become part of our subconsciousness and unless we actively think about things, we often act for reasons we cannot explain.

After walking past the doggie beds, doggies treats and doggie shampoos (wow there are a lot of items available to purchase for dogs), we came across an even better style of harness for our little Ringer. This style was available in his size in only gray or blue. We chose blue. Only then and only for that reason did youngest dear daughter return the pink harness to its place on the shelf.

When not wearing his harness, Ringer sports an orange collar because orange is my favourite colour. I figure he doesn’t care what colour he wears, nor do any of his peers. In the canine society, gender does not influence colour appropriateness.

Why does gender influence colour appropriateness for us?

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