…but do they have to?
When we were expecting our first, we obviously didn’t know right away if we were having a boy or a girl. My husband swore if we had a girl (though he promised we wouldn’t…LOL), he would not have her in pink, frilly outfits. In fact, he didn’t want anything pink. Most of the early stuff we bought was either gender neutral or decidely boy-ish.
Naturally once we found out we were having a girl, and our family and friends found out, we wound up with plenty of “girl” stuff (including lots of pink, much to my husband’s dismay). And today she loves her girly clothes, preferring pink and purple and loving skirts. (Not that you can really tell a toddler how to dress…ha.)
Really, though…do we have to put little girls in pink, and little boys in blue?
Way back in ancient times, red and pink were actually boys’ colors. They were strong, warm colors that meant war and being macho. Blue, on the other hand, was cool and calm and decidedly feminine. Really.
Yet today, the first thing most parents do (or their friends assume they’ll do) is go out and buy pink, frilly dresses and outfits for a new baby girl…and blue, macho outfits for a new baby boy. And if you don’t follow this, people assume your baby is the opposite gender. We have a little outfit that I just love. It is 3-6 months, blue, and it says “Smart as a Fox.” I put it on my daughter all the time. And people assumed she was a boy. Sigh.
Why does it have to be that we assign each gender a “color” and they stick with it? And why do we have to have such different styles for our kids? Granted, there’s nothing wrong with dresses for girls and little suits for boys. They’re adorable. But do we need to force them into such defined, strict gender roles? Do we need to define them by their clothing from the moment they’re born?
I don’t think so. I think the best solution — at least most of the time — is rather gender-neutral stuff. I’ve picked up more and more plain white onesies, and yellow, green, and brown outfits as I’ve gone along. I still have — and will use — pink clothes sometimes if I have a girl. And I do dress my son in preppy polo shirts from time to time (see, because, he doesn’t care…so I still get to choose! My daughter, on the other hand, has very definite ideas about what she likes, and I don’t think it needs to be a battle).
It’s not even about “gender.” People can have different preferences about what they like, regardless. If my daughter’s not wearing something pink or purple with a skirt, she’s wearing green sweatpants (she calls them “soft pants”). Half the time she enjoys her sweatpants and over-sized t-shirts. And who am I to say this isn’t the way a little girl dresses? She can dress however she wants.
My son enjoys wearing his sister’s pink fleece coat from time to time. He has his own coats (one that’s red and gray, actually, that used to be hers — very neutral), but if he sees hers first, or his is dirty — he’ll choose the pink one every time. And why not? Because boys don’t wear pink? But he likes it. Perhaps he won’t in a few years, but for now, let him wear what he wants.
None of this is to say that you can’t dress your kids up however you want. I’ve always bought plenty of sundresses in various colors for my daughter, and as soon as she was old enough to tell me what she thought, she enjoyed them. If she didn’t, I wouldn’t buy them. That’s really the point, though: I picked what I liked when my kids were too little to choose (going based truly on what I preferred…not what I thought little girls or boys “should” wear), and once they were old enough to care I let them pick. And I try not to force any particular color or style on them. Do I sigh inwardly if we’re going out and my daughter wants to wear a ratty t-shirt and sweatpants? Yes. Or, a princess dress with another skirt underneath and snowboots? Sure. But why can’t she wear those things? Her body is appropriately covered and she’s warm enough…and that’s what matters.
We’d be better off worrying about more important things than what color or style of clothes our kids are wearing (assuming they’re appropriate…that is another topic entirely, though!). Let’s let them develop their own sense of style as they grow. And in the mean time? Girls can wear blue and boys can wear pink…at least sometimes!
What do you think? Should girls wear pink, and boys wear blue?
Top image by mikebaird