Let Them All Like Pink and Princesses. Even The Girls.



Last year, I wrote about how my smaller boy loves pink and bemoaned the lack of sparkly things for boys, and delighted that he was confident enough to ask for what he wanted despite waitresses or people in shops suggesting that surely he didn’t want the PINK one.

He’s moved away from pink now, and often comments on things that “girls have”, while making me tea from the toy kitchen.  He’s OK with that, as long as he can sneak a few episodes of Peppa Pig or Sofia the First from time to time.

These days he lives with a little girl, his younger sister, his partner-in-crime. He decides that she should “have the pink one” of everything, she usually acquiesces,  although some days she demands any other colour just to annoy him. They’re well met.

Being the adored baby sister of two rambunctious boys I guess I presumed that my small girl would have little interest in “girl toys” but would happily play with cars and dinosaurs and space ships with her big brothers.

Readers, I was wrong. So wrong. So, so wrong. This one was wired pink.

Now, she can dress up as a power ranger with the best of them, and whack with a hurl in a way that makes her uncles proud. She once refused to wear a dress to a birthday party in favour of her Wexford jersey, but these are the exceptions that prove the rule for this small girl.

My small girl is tough as they come and well able to stand her ground, but she is the girliest girl I’ve ever known (although my sister Gráinne comes very close). This two-year-old requests dresses and tights to wear pointing out what does and doesn’t match. She oohs and ahhs when pink plastic things come on TV and  drags me from room to room to see. She decided in September that she wanted a “rainbow pony” for Christmas.

Girlie? Me?

Despite growing up in a male-dominated house she seems to instinctively choose girlie things without any direction. Bows in her hair are essential accessories, she can’t go out without her handbag, or her bright pink schoolbag (she doesn’t go to school). In a friend’s house recently she opened an older girl’s jewellery box and her face lit up at the toy jewellery and makeup in it. When asked what her uncle should buy her for Christmas she replied “a pwetty dress” and her brothers looked on horrified, planning an interverntion, as she confirmed that she didn’t want a toy just a pretty dress. (She knows that her new auntie has great taste and will help her uncle choose).


Then there was the time I brought her shoe shopping for a sensible pair of boots. She was shaking with excitement at the prospect of getting boots. Then, when the lady opened one box which contained boots so pink and glittery and sparkly that I expected Barbie on a unicorn to fly out,  she looked, put her hands up to her cheeks and smiling said “WOWWWW”. We bought the boots, how could I say no? She delights in showing people “See mine pink farkly booties”. They couldn’t miss them.

I do all the stuff you’re supposed to do with little girls to raise them balanced and confident. I encourage her to get just as messy as her brothers, to shout as loud, to climb, to run as fast. I tell her that she’s beautiful, and strong, and kind and funny. She looks at me and says “I your Princess Mam?”. “You sure are chicken, my best one”.

Gender bashing dinosaur skirt. Not wearing any pink at all.


She is a girl.

A mostly girlie girl.

She wants to be a princess or maybe a power ranger or a pirate, or all three at once. She’s two.

She also wants to play hurling and whack her brothers indiscriminately and watch Paw Patrol and ride a bike and build very tall towers with Lego (preferably Lego that her brothers were just playing with).

Before I had a daughter I used to be very “right-on” about princesses and all they represented. When she was born I loved the idea of pink but as she got older I started moving away from it, dressing her in navys and greys. I bought her more gender-neutral coloured toys. I was so anti-pink. I thought that the whole pink thing was awful and was all about marketing. I really don’t think that little girls need the option of a pink everything, or a pink anything really.

But, and this is the important bit, I do think that we should give pink-loving children a break. It seems to be almost cool to be a boy who likes pink, or a girl who likes football, we should be supporting ALL the children, in ALL the choices that they make. Even if it’s for a pink plastic princess.

Can’t we let our girls be girlie if they want to be?

Can’t we ALL like pink and princesses, even girls?

Can’t we let it go? (Sorry)






13 thoughts on “Let Them All Like Pink and Princesses. Even The Girls.

  1. I love this post. I have a 7 month old daughter and have been waxing lyrical about the importance of gender neutral clothing and the evils of pink! Very pleased to read something like this that reminds me to get off my high horse and not panic if she wants to dress in pink and play princess! Also I’m quiet fond of frilly pink tutus so might just go purchase one for her now!
    Gorgeous photos too

    1. Claire you get one chance to dress your firstborn baby girl in the frills, do it! (if you don’t your mum will). I got tired of them by the time L was about a year and went all navy and stripes. She came home from hospital in tutued leggings. Hope all well with you and she (and Dad).I used to be right up on that horse too, but when she said “WOW” with those boots I saw the joy in her face and knew what I was dealing with 🙂

  2. I’m all about gender neutral but innit to give my girls a blank canvas to find out for themselves what they like. My eldest is more predominantly practical, comfort orientated. She fleets from colour to colour, green to more recently orange. My youngest? Oh my, if she doesn’t grow up pink, dresses, dress up princesses, dolls etcetera I will be so shocked.

    For me, there is a point to gender neutrality. It’s about adults butting out and giving children the freedom to enjoy whatever toy or game or colour they like, the freedom to change their mind about it and the freedom to change it back again.

    1. I get that, my small girl has all the options but her face lights up when she gets access to mermaids and sparkles and girl toys that don’t live in our house. She’s handy with a power ranger sword too. I’m encouraging all the bits, and like you say giving her the freedom.

      1. There is no denying that some girls really just like pink, sparkles and all the ‘girly’ stuff.

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