“How can we make it easy for any parent to start using cloth diapers?” This is the question we asked ourselves before we started the company. Now you may ask, what does this have to do with gender stereotypes? Well, we decided that the simplest and easiest system would be to offer packages of diapers where our customers could get everything they need to use cloth diapers in one wet bag. To keep things simple for both our production process as well as our customers we decided to limit the package choices to two options. That is when we ran into the pink and blue problem. Typically, in our culture the two options available would be one for boys and the other for girls. Who decided these colours anyway? I remember reading a fabulous Smithsonian Magazine article that talks all about how our culture came to choose pink for girls and blue for boys in the last few decades. If you are interested, you can read the article here.
Personally, neither Neta nor I adhere to gender stereotypes for toys and clothes for our own children. So when it came to choosing the prints, we felt stuck in many ways and in the end we decided to go with the conventional pink and flowers for girls and blue and tools for boys. Our business sense told us that this would be the best way to make it easy for the most number of people to access cloth diapers in a visual structure that they are already comfortable and familiar with but our feminist selves always cringed at the thought that we were contributing to the often harmful gender stereotypes. Why can’t girls love tools and robots too? My 6 year old daughter dreams of becoming a mechanical engineer.
We listened to those feelings as well as our customers and their feedback and found that many other people felt the same way. So many of our customers were tired of being told “this is for girls” and “this is for boys.” Parents want the freedom to be able to make choices for their families not based on what any company says “should” be for their child. So in 2014, we have decided to do away with “gendering” the two collections and will be opting instead to name the collections based on the themes of the prints. Will we still have pink and flowers? Of course! Who wants to live in a world without flowers? We love pink and lavender and some of our “prettiest” prints have been our most popular prints of the past collections. The difference is that we will leave it up to our customers to decide what is the right package for their child and their tastes. When asking for advice on this topic, a wise friend told me that “change is slow but it does happen.” We are hoping that in some way, we are doing our part.
~ Sarah Downey, Co-Owner of Glow Bug Cloth Diapers