Pink or Blue? Really?

November 15, 2013

photo via pinterest (if anyone knows who took it, by all means, enlighten me)


Someone made this statement to me upon discovering that we're having a baby girl:

"She's going to be so cute, dressed up in princess outfits and tiaras!"

to which I said:
"I probably won't be dressing her up in any princess outfits unless she asks."

I received this reply/question:

"Well, what will you make for her first birthday cake?"

Sigh.

So, I'm quite passionate when it comes to gender stereotyping.  I think society places us all in boxes that are really quite small, uncomfortable and it starts from the moment we gasp that first breath of oxygen in the form of a roaring cry.  "It's a boy" or "It's a girl"

From that moment we are defined and confined to the structure laid out for us by our culture.

The western society, to which my family belongs, is obviously no exception.

If that moment of birth reveals a little boy, we immediately think blue jeans and sneakers.  Sports and cowboys.

When the cry belongs to a baby girl, its all princesses in pink.  Kittens in bows and sparkles.

I knew a great variety of little girls during my time as a youngster as a result of moving so much.  Not all of them were obsessed with barbies and wearing tiaras.  A lot of girls I knew were more serious about sports than some boys I knew.  And they were better at them as well.

When I was a kid, I loved to watch my dad build things.  I constantly wanted to change my room around and paint the walls and perform any type of home improvement projects that could be permitted in a rented home.  He loved explaining to me how to do things and what drills and saws were good for what (safety always first!).  It was a great part of our relationship.

But when I was in grade 8 and we all took our one elective class:  either home economics or shop.

The boys were allocated to technical drawing desks and the girls to the kitchens and sewing machines.  Don't get me wrong.  I wasn't interested in being in a class full of boys teasing me only to learn basic tool functions that my dad had already taught me.  I loved to cook and sew. But in the back of my mind, I always wondered why we were automatically divided that way?  What if I had really wanted to take shop instead of home ec?  What if I had no interest in sewing but the idea of making a birdhouse fascinated the socks right off my feet?

And the boys?  What about the guys who were mesmerised by a sewing machine and the thought of constructing a bag or a pair of boxer shorts to their own design specifications thrilled them?  Or the ones that could whip up a delicious stuffed roast chicken before setting foot in junior high?  What if they too wanted to learn the intricacies of baked alaska and caramelised onions?

Because there are some amazing female carpenters out there, and male fashion designers are EVERYWHERE.  And we celebrate this.  We think its great that they stuck to what they loved and became who and what they wanted.

I say, why should it be so difficult?  Why must it be an alternative choice for my son to want to design ladies footwear or for my little daughter to want to play with pretend drills and saws and wrenches instead of barbie dolls and nail polish?

It all starts with that simple dichotomy.  Pink or Blue?  Because when we find out the sex of our babies we immediately place them in a box.

How many times have you heard a woman say "I know a lot about sports because my dad wanted a boy"

How sad is that?  Why can't fathers teach their daughters how to play sports or tie nautical knots because its just a great way to spend time together?  Not because he secretly felt he was missing out because his child is a female, but because sharing who we are with each other, no matter what, is so necessary for that parental bond to be formed.  Why can't mothers teach their little boys how to make pancakes and scrambled eggs? Or how to take care of a potted plant?  Or better yet, the reverse.

Some dads do all the cooking and some moms build a desk with the swiftness of Ty Pennington on the last day of Extreme Makeover.  I fully support this.

So what I'm trying to communicate in probably far too many words is this:  For my little girl's first birthday maybe I'll make her a sailboat cake, or maybe it'll be a cat, or feathers and moccasins... or maybe it'll just be a delicious chocolate cake with plenty of icing made with love from mama.  After all, she's just going to destroy it.

But eventually she will start gravitating towards things that make her heart sing.

If one year she asks for a pink princess cake with sparkles, I'll happily oblige and make the cutest, pinkest cake a little pink lover could ask for.  Maybe I have a little legally blond in my uterus.  Or maybe she just loves pink.

But maybe she's going to love nerdy stuff like bugs and computers, or want to push her physical abilities to their limits as a little soccer player.  I can't wait to find out.

So thats my rant on why I'm not going to stuff my little infant into princess costumes and pink hello kitty sneakers.

xx.





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2 comments

  1. Agreed! I am a huge fan of neutral colours and letting kids just naturally gravitate towards the things they like. This article, http://www.smithsonianmag.com/arts-culture/When-Did-Girls-Start-Wearing-Pink.html makes an excellent point, white is great for babies because you can bleach it ;-)

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  2. I so agree!!! I'm trying to keep things as neutral as possible. I also thought of the bleaching thing. How perfect?!

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