girls wear pink and boys wear blue: gender stereotyping our babies
This isn’t the case at all. I fully intend to find out if it’s a boy or a girl at our next scan. But just because I’ll know if it’s a boy or girl doesn’t mean I immediately want to pigeonhole them into a neat little pink or blue box of gender stereotyping and all that it entails.
I should probably be oohing and aahing over the tiny outfits I can soon dress them up in. Instead, I’m becoming increasingly horrified by how early society starts to narrow their options based on their sex.
While I’m not overly keen on the blue or pink colour divide, I do understand it to some extent. Most of us have experienced that slightly awkward moment when we coo over the cute little boy in the yellow onesie only to be abruptly informed by the parents that it is in fact a little girl, or vice versa. The pink and blue serves a purpose in saving us adults from that sometimes-embarrassing uncertainty, because it’s very hard to tell sex at that age.
But isn’t that sort of wonderful in a way? It’s the one brief time in our life where we’re free from being a gender. Yet we adults can’t wait to snatch that freedom away and start narrowing down our offspring’s options. It seems so cruel and unfair.
What concerns me more than the colour divide are the different images and slogans that appear on the pink clothes versus the blue clothes. Find me a pink babygrow with a motor vehicle on it – I challenge you. It’s ridiculous! I drive a car. So does pretty much every female I know, and I should hope that if I have a daughter, she too will grow up to one day drive a car. Yet cars only seem to feature on the “boys” clothes. My husband suggested that maybe it’s because, for the most part, males are more interested in cars as a hobby. Yes, that’s probably the case, but is this a chicken and egg type situation? Do girls grow up with less interest in something like cars because from literally day one of their lives, cars have not been offered to them as an option?
Generally speaking (and of course there are always exceptions) the vibe of the boys clothes is one of action and adventure – cars, boats, sports etc. The girls get flowers, birds and love hearts.
If I have a daughter, I want her to have action and adventure. I want her to play team sports. I want her to grow up to be a Formula One driver, if that’s what she wants to do, and I don’t want anyone to tell her she can’t. But equally, if I have a son I want him to appreciate love, and flowers, and everything else nature has to offer. I want him to grow up to be a florist, if that’s what he wants to do and lord help anyone that suggests that he shouldn’t.
I realise my idealism about my baby’s wardrobe may go out the window once the chaos of new motherhood is upon me. There will be pink or blue gifts from family and friends, which I will gratefully accept. I won’t think twice about grabbing the “mummy’s little princess” or “daddy’s little rugby player” t-shirt from the drawer, so long as it’s clean, but for now a stack of “you can be or do whatever you want” stripes will await my little one.