TMF: The gender gets in your eyes

It’s time for another edition of TMF: Tired Marketing FAIL!

While shopping for a sun hat to protect my kiddo’s sweet little head and eyes, my husband and I noticed something funny. We were at REI and there was one section for kids hats.

On one side it looked like this:

On the other side it looked like this:

Notice anything? Yeah, we did, too.

Interestingly, we had set out to find a sun hat that has a high UPF (the clothing equivalent to SPF), lightweight, breathable/moisture-wicking, and not pink. My daughter already has a lot of cotton sun hats, but the full desert summer (and the heat to match) has set in and as much as she needs the sun protection, I can understand why she tries to rip her hat off when she’s hot! And my husband has started to feel like there’s been a bit of pink overload in our daughter’s wardrobe. Even though we strive to provide her with a full-spectrum of toys and colors in her life, the pink cloud is somewhat unavoidable. Loved ones send her gifts. And we even find things that are cute, and yes, pink. It turns out, its way easier to keep the toy chest gender-neutral than the closet.

In setting out to get a not-pink hat that fit all our criteria and our kid’s head, we didn’t want to automatically reach for blue (because it is somehow the natural opposite of pink, in our gender stratified world). Like pink, blue is a perfectly good color. (In fact, it is my favorite color.) But, like pink, blue can feel loaded down with gender baggage. And, to be honest, we were trying to find a green hat because that seems to be our little munchkin’s favorite color.

But, as you can see from the photos, green was not an option. Not on the “girl” side or the “boy” side. Indeed, there was very little that was not blue or pink! No yellow. No orange. No rainbow of colors anywhere! So, we begrudgingly settled on a little purple hat. It fits, protects, and she keeps it on her head, which is the most important thing. But we both felt disappointed that the choices were so limited. Why the limitation? Where’s the imagination? The fun? The patterns?… Sigh. FAIL!

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