Sometimes I feel sorry for the color pink. It’s so maligned by our culture. I know so many moms who are adamantly opposed to this feminine hue because they’re afraid it’s going to turn their young daughters into bubblegum clad prima donnas who spurt glittery taffeta from their eyeballs.
I too had my own issues with the color before I had June. I resented pink’s implications and associations for little girls even though I, the grown up, like the color. What can I say: Pink is pretty. It can look so serene and chic in the right context.
But I definitely took notice whenever I saw a little girl flouncing around the grocery store clad in head to toe shades of Pepto Bismal with sequins, feathers and doe eyed princess imagery dripping from every body part. The overflow of cheese ball girlishness has a way of broadcasting to the world: I AM A PRINCESS. GIVE ME WHAT I WANT OR I WILL CRY.
One pregnant friend of mine recently let it be known before the birth of her daughter (her first child) that she was instilling a No Pink Policy in her baby’s wardrobe.
Yeah, good luck with that, I thought.
Before I had June, I did the exact same thing. It lasted about a week. See, I quickly realized that it’s impossible to find clothes in the little girl’s department that aren’t pink, Seriously. Just try to find a blue tee shirt…or flannel…or cords…in the baby girl’s department. You can’t! Why? Because they don’t make them. It’s almost like clothing manufacturers got together and collectively banned any color or fabric for baby girls that isn’t culturally perceived as “feminine.” Oh sure, they have the gender neutral yellows and greens, but that stuff always comes emblazoned with ducks and frogs. And what if you don’t want your baby to be a poster child for frogs and ducks? Did you ever think about that?
I thought I didn’t care about this stuff, but I admit, I found my panties ever-so-slightly getting into a twist every time a stranger innocently commented on how cute my “little guy” was just because June wasn’t wearing the designated feminine colors. I couldn’t take it anymore so I dressed her in shirts splattered with pink unicorns. You can’t tell me pink unicorns are anymore cloying than frogs and ducks.
There was another reason for my hasty capitulation to pink. By publicly swearing off the color, I was effectively cutting myself off from mountains of glorious hand-me-downs. Hand-me-downs for girls are always pink. They just are. Did I want to spend precious hours and money shopping for hard to find gender neutral colors or gratefully accept the truckloads of free pink? I took the pink, and have never looked back.
Still, it’s kind of baffling to me that June, who has never seen a princess movie, heard a princess book or worn princess clothing in her life (with the notable exception of a full on princess gown purchased by her Marmie for her third birthday), has a special affinity for this color. She requests pink clothes, pink shoes and pink barrettes all the time. And she sometimes asks me if I think she “looks like a princess.”
Yes, I tell her, you look just like a princess. Now go feed the dog.
Because here’s the thing I’ve realized about pink: Pink does not make the princess. Parenting does.