Mention of the "pink disease" pricked up my ever-vigilant ears as I'd only recently contributed to a discussion about pink book covers (it was about the highly pink cover of my friend Fiona Dunbar's book Pink Chameleon) at The Bookwitch blog where Ann Giles (who is no witch)wrote:
I’d like to know if they sell more books with pink or lilac covers (glitter optional) because they are pink or lilac, or if the pink and lilac puts more prospective buyers off? Not all girls love pink and lilac. Lots of parents are allergic to pink and lilac, after years of nothing but. (from Think Pink)I commented that a clever book like Pink Chameleon - which re-imagines a high tech fashion future - should have a sticker on the cover, warning: "Smart Inside".
Toynbee had some pretty shocking back-up research for the girlification rant:
A report from the American Psychological Association shows how sexualisation harms girls - and it's getting worse, more of it and more extreme. One study showed how anxiety about appearance harms brain function: girls were asked to try on a swimsuit or a sweater in a private dressing room, supposedly to give their opinion. While waiting they were asked to do a maths test. The girls given swimsuits did much worse than those in sweaters, as thinking about their bodies, mostly negatively, undermined their intellectual self-confidence.Aww.
At the end of the day, ridiculing girliness is negative in its own right, isn't it?
As the mother of a girl who is just emerging from a strong anti-pink phase and entering a more fashion conscious age, I say: let's not suck the fun out of being a girl. What will really empower a girl is permission to be whoever they want to be.
P.S. The second book in Fiona's Pink Chameleon series is Blue Gene Baby - with a BLUE cover.