In a bid to be accepted by a certain area of the parenting world, and allowed to share a cup of rooibos tea and perhaps a nutritionally beneficial biscuit I have had to lose some colour from life.
Apparently girls cannot have pink. I haven’t yet heard it said that boys can’t have blue, but I assume the reverse must surely apply or it would be unfair.
So I am sticking to grey. Just in case. Grey sky. Grey clothes. Grey life. Better than annoying anyone.
Oh. Except that is a lie.
I am not, and have never been a ‘girly’ girl. I mostly stomp about in dark colours and big boots, the most colourful thing about me has often been my hair. My first born, and only daughter, was often accused of being a boy when small, as I tended to dress her in greens, blues, and denim dungarees. But then she went to pre-school. It was like she was kidnapped by the Queen of the Fairies and held prisoner in some sort of cerise palace of glitter until the ‘pink brainwashing’ was complete.
She LOVED it. Anything pink, the brighter the better, and if it sparkled even better still. Now I don’t give in to every whim of my children, but I saw no harm in her having some pink shit. Why not? Where is the harm? She still climbed trees, just while wearing pink, sparkly trainers.
I do not think allowing her to wear pink is in anyway belittling her as a woman, or anti the feminist cause, or gender stereotyping. It was merely listening to my daughters personal preferences and allowing her some degree of choice over a small number of things in her world.
If one of my sons had a predeliction for pink, or any other colour, feminine or otherwise, I would also allow them the same degree of choice in their outfits, duvet cover and toys.
Despite the pink love, she still liked camping, mud, running about outdoors, being very noisy, as well as drawing, crafts, cooking. She loved Thomas the Tank Engine and baby dolls. Allowing her to be interested in all sorts of things, even if they fit the ‘gender stereotype’, gave her the freedom to explore all possibilities.
I was inspired to write this after coming across some negative assumptions made about parents who allow their daughters to wear pink and play with so called ‘girly’ things. A warm and intentionally funny post on Kate Takes 5s blog attracted comments suggesting, amongst other things, that we should be ‘ashamed’ for allowing this sort of ‘pink behaviour’. The accusation being that we are forcing them into gender stereotyped roles. I have never forced my daughter into anything, in fact find me someone who is capable of doing that and I will give them a prize. I do not like to criticise others parenting choices, as I feel in general we all act on our best instincts and with the best of intentions, but restricting my child solely on the basis of gender stereotypes, in either a pro or anti fashion, would not be my choice. I would rather teach my children that you can be a high court judge while wearing pink, glittery high heels- if that is what you want to do!
In our case the pink obsession moved onto a passion for lilac, then a love of pastel blue. Followed by gradually growing into her now 16 year old self who lives in jeans and Dr Martens, with barely a splash of pink to be seen. Apart from in her hair which rotates through a spectrum of colours currently, including pink!! I give my children the freedom to express themselves in a wide range of ways, and I try to teach my children that they can be whoever they want to be, and be proud of it.