Pinkstinks has relaunched recently with a great new website, and a continuing commitment to challenge the 'pinkification' of girlhood. They say 'Pinkstinks is a campaign which targets the products, media and marketing that prescribe heavily stereotyped and limiting roles to young girls. We believe that all children – girls and boys - are affected by the ‘pinkification’ of girlhood. Our aim is to challenge and reverse this growing trend. We additionally promote media literacy, self-esteem, positive body image and female role models for kids.'
They clearly often get asked 'what about the boys?' and they've published two blog posts on how pinkifying girls is also bad for boys - you can read them here and here. They say that 'boys are excluded from toys and activities that are overtly gendered to girls', and are denied aspects of normal play because those are deemed to be only suitable for girls. They also believe that boys are increasingly divided from girls themselves because of pinkification, giving them a skewed idea of what it is to be male and to be female.
I had a similar conversation at Youthwork the Conference with a male youth worker who was keen to link up with others who were working with boys, and was concerned that the needs of boys weren't being met. The Sophia Network has an emphasis on encouraging women in leadership and championing gender equality within the church and Christian organisations, but we're keen to explore how we can do that with men and boys too.
In Genesis 3:17, God said that competition and a desire to dominate each other would be a characteristic of fallen relationships between men and women. I think that sometimes that same competition and a lack of mutual respect can be found in our efforts to find liberation. Women can be tempted to put men down or fail to hear their story as they fight for equality; men may discount women's experiences and try to maintain the status quo in their efforts not to be squashed. The reality is that we only find true liberation together, that 'none are free until all are free'.
So although we are a network for women, I hope that we can equip both women and men to work well together in partnership. Let me know if you have any suggestions for how we can do that better!