From almost the moment of birth, Western children are indoctrinated with a certain sense of what their gender means. Pink headbands and bows for infant girls, little blue caps for infant boys. As we grow up, even our toys are segregated by gender: pink princesses for girls; blue race cars for boys.
Designer Miglė Nevieraitė, who just graduated from the Design Academy Eindhoven in the Netherlands, plays around with gender constructs in a conceptual app called “Pink Tints of Blue.”
“Create your own gender by choosing masculine or feminine items, increase or reduce their feminine or masculine qualities, and explore the nuances,” she urges users in her description of the project. The app adds various gender-specific elements to a photo of a child who looks pretty gender-neutral. Users can add in different wallpaper patterns, clothing, toys, and accessories to make the kid seem more “girlish” or more “boyish.” A princess tiara, a pink Minnie Mouse doll, a Spiderman action figure, or a sports jersey are the only differences between perceiving the child in the image as Anna or Jerry.
Nevieraitė told the Dutch Creators Project that she plans to further develop the app and make it available for smartphones and computers. That’s not a terrible idea. We’ve become accustomed to living in a world where pink is for girls, and blue is for boys (even though gender-specific colors didn’t actually arise until the 1940s). But parents who are enlightened enough to download this app are probably already trying to teach their kids that gender norms are B.S., and are probably the type to buy gender-neutral toys anyway. It likely has the most value as an educational tool. Maybe something like it should be a required activity for elementary school health classes, along with those awkward videos that teach kids how to use deodorant.