Baby Clothes: Don't Judge a Baby By Her ColorsRebekah Kuschmider
The other day, I was at the pool with my daughter. Both of us were in head-to-toe blue. Blue swimsuits, blue Crocs on her, blue cover-up on me. I think we had a couple of blue towels, too. During the time we were there, at least three people assumed my daughter was a boy because of all the blue. I don’t know what they thought about me. Maybe that I like blue?
This happens a lot. I do like blue so I wear a lot of blue. I also dress my daughter in a lot of blue. It doesn’t seem to matter how frilly the outfit is, if it’s blue, people immediately assume my little girl is a boy. This always irritates me. Not so much because I mind people not automatically knowing the gender of a 12-month-old, since babies are notoriously androgynous. More because I hate the absolute nature of genderized marketing of baby stuff.
If you walk through the baby and kid sections of major stores, you’ll see very little that’s not gender specific. Clothes, toys, accessories, they all seem to be geared toward boys or girls and grouped accordingly. My 5-year-old son will walk past an aisle loaded with perfectly fun toys, dismissing them all, because the packaging is all pink and “for girls,” never mind the fun factor of the toy would be equal for any child picking them up. The colors are a dividing line and never shall we cross.
I’ve even seen sporting equipment that’s pink now, as if a softball or soccer shin guards need to be gender specific for the under-10 set. Woe will be the day when my daughter rejects her brother’s old baseball glove because, in red and black, it’s “only for boys.”
All of which is to say, I don’t feel obligated to follow a marketer’s edicts and dress my daughter in retail-approved “girl” colors and patterns. There doesn’t need to be pink in every outfit. I’m also female and don’t wear pink every day—or even most days. I also don’t wear florals, gingham, or rhinestones to denote my gender explicitly. Why should my daughter be expected to do the same? I pick her clothes for function first, then appearance. I put her in soft, breathable fabrics that she can move in easily and are age appropriate. I don’t like the idea that certain colors send certain messages and any child wearing the “wrong” shade is sending some sort of message more complex than “I like this color.” Pink is for people who like pink. Blue is for people who like blue. Why does it have to be any more complicated than that?
Photo credit: photo stock