The Gendered Brain Gina Rippon

Derbyshire academic shocked by “Pinkification” of childhood

A Derbyshire expert in childhood and education has expressed her shock at the way outdated gender stereotypes have survived into the 21st Century.

Dr Ruby Oates, Associate Professor of Childhood at the University of Derby’s Centre for Educational Research and Innovation, will be debating the topic “Are Gender Stereotypes Damaging Our Children?” as part of Buxton International Festival on July 17.

“It’s a massive issue,” said Dr Oates, who will be in conversation with leading neuroscientist Dr Gina Rippon at the Pavilion Arts Centre.

As a university student, she examined what were then called “sex roles”: the different ways in which boys and girls were portrayed through toys and stories. Boys were supposed to be more outgoing and confident, while girls were portrayed as passive.

“What shocked me was that many decades later, the same things were being used today.”

Dr Rippon calls it the “Pinkification” of childhood, after the way colours are used to indicate what ought to be appeal to girls rather than boys.

The issue matters deeply because it affects all our children’s lives, said Dr Oates:

“Parents and grandparents should be concerned so that our children can achieve their potential as human beings regardless of whether they are male or female.”

You can book for the talk here.