Thursday, July 21, 2011

Amazon, Color, and Gender

I love shopping on Amazon. You get free two-day shipping with Amazon Mom plus huge discounts on things I use all the time, like diapers! We've had so much luck with Amazon that we now use it for everything that we would otherwise have bought at Target. It saves us time and money. However, it does have some downfalls. Take pacifiers for instance. My toddler bit a hole in his and needed a new one. So I ordered one. The trick, though, is that "colors may vary. You will receive either blue, green, orange, or purple". No big deal I think when ordering. He only uses it for naps and night-time, so color is really a non-issue.

But then it comes and it's purple. And so I hesitate to take it out of the package and use it. Why? Because I associate purple with girls. On the surface this may seem like a perfectly natural thing. After all, lots of things in our society associate color with gender. But I don't like to think of myself as having these gender stereotypes. After all, I'm a woman who loves science and math, majored in engineering, and now teaches engineering to high school students! And I know the studies that show that gender stereotypes prevent women from going into STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) fields. I know how important it is to expose everyone equally to things, regardless of gender. Give everyone trucks, building block, and dolls. But give my son a purple pacifier?

Yes. Yes, I think I will.

And a purple & pink sippy cup. Thanks Amazon and your "colors may vary" ;)

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