Monday, July 25, 2011

pink for boys

Let me give you my opinion.

I think it's ridiculous that little boys think they can't like pink. Or big boys for that matter. It's not a problem if girls like blue, but boys can't like pink.

Case in point: I was in line at Marshalls behind a mom and her (approximately) 4-year-old son. He reached for a toy and she barked, "Are you a girl?! ARE YOU A GIRL?! You don't like pink! Are you a girl? No. You don't want that. You don't like pink!" That's not socialization. That's shoving gender roles down the poor kid's throat. I wanted to smack her. Heaven forbid that little boy some day realize he's gay and have to come out of the closet with a mother like that.

Case in point number two: I was at a princess birthday party a few weeks back, and a young boy gave a little protest over eating pink cake on a Disney-princess paper plate. Graham, on the other hand, tried desperately to climb up on the table to grab the princesses off the castle cake.

Oh, he just doesn't know yet that little boys don't play with princesses.

Or maybe he doesn't ever have to know.

Oh wait. It's inevitable. Everything around us socializes us to believe that, and he will soon learn that princesses are for girls and superheroes are for boys.

I'm not opposed to little girls liking girlie stuff and little boys liking rough and tumble stuff. Let them like what they want. I do think a good deal of it is innate. No matter how I try to get Graham to appreciate flowers and pretty things, he would MUCH rather point out cars and trucks and buses. But I hate the idea that pink is only for girls.

Graham has a big pink kickball in the back yard. And he's been known to wear some pretty cute pink polos to church. In fact, if I had been faster on the Craigslist ad, he would have a nice pink balance bike to ride around. (So mad I didn't see that one in time! It was such a good deal.)

No, I'm not going to dress Graham in dresses and frilly things, but I will be sad when he comes home one day and announces that pink is only for girls.

This coming from a mama who loves all colors but whose least-preferred color is purple...with pink following not far behind.


Chelle said...

Ya know, Jared got a pink shirt from DI when we'd first met to wear to our ward's annual "Geek Fest" and I thought he looked SO hot in it. In fact, later when he'd ask me what he wanted me to wear somewhere, I'd say, "That pink shirt you wore to the Geek Fest!" And he was always so surprised. It IS too bad that things that are acceptable for girls (eg liking blue) are not acceptable for boys. Same thing with a name. I hate that girls can use any boy name but not vice-versa. And yeah...way too extreme with that mom on the plane. That poor kid is going to have a complex.

Tamra said...

My brother actually showed me an interesting article about how years back (like, 1930's), pink was for boys only and blue was for girls. It's funny how things change.

Some guys look stunning in pink. Period. (Not Rob, unfortunately. He looks stunning in boring earth tones.)

Amy Carter said...


although it's too late for diego. he's already learned the 'rules' in preschool.

at dinner, he asked 'who likes batman?' i raised my hand, and he said 'no, you like princesses and castles.' what?!

he will also have nothing to do with pink.

Meredith said...

A certain Frenchman I know wears pink quite frequently and I love it.

Melanie Sharp said...

So interesting - the color thing in and of itself doesn't really bother me only because we all have to draw social norms and gender norms somewhere and they really are constantly changing with history. (Think boys' vs. girls' names, which gender wears skirts or make-up etc... it all changes). When this discussion has come up at our house, I've explained that pink is often used for girl babies and blue for boy babies so people don't get confused, or when Noah doesn't know why he can't have pink jammies like Eliza. If there were "masculine-looking" jammies that happened to be pink, no problem, but my personal line does end with ruffles sparkles, glitter etc. and I think we all draw those lines somewhere. But that same 4-yr. old boy wants a pink birthday cake this year and I don't mind making it for him at all. It just won't be a princess cake (Let's be honest, I don't really want my little girl being heavily caught in the princess world either, but that's another discussion altogether!). Anyway, sorry so long - interesting topic and pretty nuanced when you examine where your personal comfort with societal gender norms starts and stops, but I do think those "norms" can be shared with kids matter-of-factly ("actually boys don't usually wear dresses to church" for example) but without unyielding evangelism and lots of emotional baggage. Hopefully that makes sense.

Dr. aafb said...

I'm not for extremes in either direction. I think we should let kids be drawn to what they like and let me enjoy it with out bullying them into not liking pink. I recently saw an article though about some parents who refuse to tell anyone what gender their child is so as to avoid pushing gender on it (talk about a complex when "it" grows up. I think we should celebrate who we are as men and women (boys and girls) and our differences and not try to stifle it or be the same. Good thoughts!