This article may share some stronger opinions than you are used to reading here. Please know that I continue to respect ALL opinions and today I am going to take my right to share mine. I do hope that we can have a conversation below in the comment section as I am always keen to hear others opinions on this subject matter.
PINK or BLUE?
Those were the options if I didn’t want GREEN for clothing when I was preparing to have my first baby. Because we were not finding out the gender of our baby and people wanted to give us gifts of clothing, we received a sea of beige and green. Don’t get me wrong, the clothing was adorably scrumptious, but I didn’t want my new baby to be dressed all in green, regardless of their gender.
Before I share the rest of my thoughts, I should add a side note in here that shares with you my aversion to pink prior to becoming a mother to a daughter. I did not care for pink, and I swore up and down that if I had a daughter that she would NEVER wear pink – well, perhaps I wasn’t that extreme, but it was close!
(Does this look wrong to you? Hey! Blue is my favourite colour!)
I was in as much shock as he was, but truthfully, in those early days, I just wanted everyone to know that she was a baby GIRL and the only way that I felt I could fully show them that was by dressing her head to toe in PINK.
Right from the start, clothing for girls is much different than clothing for boys. Have you noticed how much easier it is to purchase adorable baby girl outfits? For some reason, someone got the memo that baby boys don’t need cute outfits! I really found this out when I became a Mommy to a son. Anyhow…I digress.
Aside from that first flash of pink, it was very important to me that I raise my daughter in a world where she knew it was NORMAL for her to play with trucks, to get dirty (even though I have an aversion to dirt) and to like vehicles, just as one example. Just like when I had my son, I was bound and determined to raise him in a world where a boy owning a doll was accepted!
I do believe that there is a fine balance between nature and nurture. We can influence and guide our children as we raise them, but we cannot fight nature. My daughter has grown to become a “GIRLY GIRL” (I really don’t care for that phrase) as she LOVES anything pink and frilly. In fact, I think she would wear pink head to toe every.single.day and would be happy if all she owned were pink clothing! And my son, well, he isn’t necessarily a “typical boy”, but like the stereotype goes, “boys will be boys” (again, I don’t love this saying as it implies that perhaps there is a problem with boys, I feel it has a negative connotation, but it could be just me)- he enjoys running and being active (NON STOP, I might add) and he enjoys playing with cars and getting dirty.
Guess who comes in the house dirtier when I send the children out in the backyard to play? You guessed it, my daughter. And guess who has a true heart of gold and if he even thought he physically hurt someone, he would be so upset? You guessed it, my son.So you see, my daughter enjoys getting dirty (I mean dirt smeared from head to toe) and my son likes to play with dolls, so now what?
Listen to this YouTube video on
Gender Stereotyping in Children’s Clothing
List of Panelists:Emma Hawkes (@_rethinkpink) runs a blog, online store and podcast dedicated to challenging gender stereotypes, and “raising the next generation of empowered, fearless and intelligent children”.
Jenn Neilson (@JennNeilson) and (@JillandJackKids) is the founder of Jill and Jack Kids, making playtime-worthy clothes for kids who dream beyond pink and blue. She has a PhD in philosophy and a passion for gender equality.
Doina Oncel (@hEr_VOLUTION) founder of hEr VOLUTION, a non-profit dedicated to encouraging girls and women to pursue careers in STEM, and STEM education.
Laurie Petrou (@lauriepetrou) is a published author and professor at Ryerson University where she specializes in media, gender and popular culture.
Crystal Smith (@achilleseffect) is the author of The Achilles Effect: What Pop Culture is Teaching Young Boys about Masculinity and a blogger who writes about the impact of gender stereotypes on boys.