Grey.

Posted by on Feb 25, 2013 in Uncategorized | 27 comments

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.

Grey rainbow

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.

Love Miss in the pink Cisco XXX

27 Comments

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  1. Mummy Barrow

    *stands on a chair and applauds*

  2. SarahMummy

    Yes, yes, yes, Sonya! I am totally with you. I have no issue at all with pink. I don’t make my daughter girly and buy her pink versions of things which aren’t meant to be pink. We have balance. Can’t tell you how much I love this post.

  3. Franki

    I love this! This is exactly as we were raised, my little brother often left the house dressed as a fairy or ballerina if he wanted to and my mum was criticised for it pretty much everyday by strangers. If only they could see the ‘lad’ he turned out to be! I intend on doing the same with my children, althought not had to contend yet as my little boy is only 8 months old but I’m certain the day will come when he wants something that’s ‘is for girls’!

    • Sonya Cisco

      Yes- my godson had a thing for fairy costumes for a bit- but he grew out of it. My 9 year old currently dresses as an elf for half the weekend and yesterday my 18 month old was wearing a bra as a ‘Hat’

  4. sabrina montagnoli

    Great post. Favourite bit is about forcing them into a role…I can’t force my wee man to do anything as hard as I try! My wee man loves peppa pig and well pigs are pink! He also LOVES playing with dolls and babies, feeding them, dressing and undressing them. Was curious what you were reading? or was it just a general conversation you heard?

    • Sonya Cisco

      it was the comments on another blog post- a great, humourous blogpost that had lots of negative comments- which I think we have redressed with lots of pro-feedback now, but it got me started!! Will tweet you the link- waiting to hear from its author if she is happy for it to be linked to from this post! :)

  5. Lisa | Mama.ie

    Thanks so much for writing this. Given that the other blog post was written in honour of my soon-to-be born baby girl, I was horrified to see the OTT attacks on the sentiments in the post. Especially because the post rang so true for me – not so much that girls will always want pink (my only experience is with a son so far), but more so that no matter what you’re pre-baby intentions may be, in the end your little one will determine a lot of their likes and dislikes for themselves and you will have little or no say in the matter!

    The thing that really got to me about all the comments disparaging the idea that little girls may like princesses and pink was the sense that those things are considered somehow “lesser” – and when feminists start seeing feminine things as lesser, I always feel they’ve lost their way. I hate the pinkification of all things for girls – but only because I feel that that style of marketing robs children of their choices. Hating pinkification is not the same as hating a little girl’s love of pink though. Not at all. Seems that’s a lesson a few people could do with learning.

    • Sonya Cisco

      Thanks for commenting. I quite agree, I am not a fan of the pink, but I am also not a fan of censoring my childs choices soley for the reason that it fits a stereotype. There is plenty in life they cannot do or have access too for proper and sensible reasons of safety or appropriateness. I personally cannot see sense in restricting a pink t-shirt or a baby doll!

  6. Kate Takes

    Everything I wanted to say and more. Thank you for this. Will pop a link to it on the bottom of my post so we can ‘educate’ the-feminists-that-give-feminists-a-bad-name like they were hoping to ‘educate’ me. Mwah!

    • Sonya Cisco

      Thanks Kate. I am just happy to allow them space to express a preference where it is safe to do so, I believe freedom to explore all possibilities is a good thing. x

  7. Mary Keynko

    Just waiting for Mummy Barrow to step off the chair so i can have a go! Well said Miss! My daughter went through a period of pink everything – including I might add – harness and hard hat for when we went rock climbing! She had sparkles on everything and yet her favrourite toy was a sit on Thomas the Tank engine!

  8. Lynn Fancy

    Brilliantly put – and I totally agree but to be honest I’m so sick of people (any people) just having a go at everything! On one hand we are taught we are all the same and on the other lets applaud our differences – does my head in! I just want to do what I want with my son, as he sees fit and be left alone and if he wants to do that in a pink sparkly ballgown I really don’t give a toss ;)

  9. Tas D

    Excellent post! I’m not sure why people get so hung up on it and those that actually like pink (or blue!) feel a bit guilty admitting it! My mum dressed me in lots of checked shirts and jeans and then I developed a love for red and EVERYTHING was red for a while. I’m pretty sure I turned out ok!

  10. Domestic Goddesque

    To be honest, I have a greater issue with the preference of some preschoolers for black than I do for pink. In our house, we did all we could to encourage gender-neutrality but LBG quickly put us right! It’s a colour, ffs, not a cardinal sin.

  11. jodiekins22

    Well said, particularly like the not being able to force your daughter to do anything… After 3 daughters, I know EXACTLY what you mean :)

  12. purplecrazymum

    Great post! Personally I hate pink, before my daughter was born I wouldn’t allow the colour in my home as I used to be quite ‘goth’ everything was black, purple and red but that was my choice. When my daughter was born I didn’t dress her in pink much apart from what other people bought her but now she loves pink so she has pink.. she also loves dinosaurs, trains, cars, pirates aswell as baby dolls, princesses, and anything ‘pretty’. I would never tell her she can’t wear/have something because it too girly or too boyish if that’s what she likes that’s her choice!

  13. kateab

    I’m sure I read something that suggested that there is some reason that pink is visually more attractive to girls of a certain age.

    Anyway, I have a girly girl who will be 7 in the summer. She likes pink, she likes purple. I refuse to stop her. I know she will go for the pink option in anything if they are on offer but I also know she will grow out of it. Purple is and nearly always has been my fave colour so I feel that she just likes it, not because any societal norm tells her she should like it.

  14. john adams

    As my blog has a masculist, pro-father stance I am occasionally asked what I think about girls wearing pink or playing with dolls etc. Truth is I couldn’t care less. I’d go as far as to say that having gender specific colours can, on some ocassions, be useful. I couldn’t honestly tell you how many times a stranger has referred to one of my children as being a “beautiful boy” despite them both being girls. It doesn’t tend to happen if they’re wearing pink!

    My eldest daughter is only too happy to help daddy undertake DIY tasks, wash the car or dig up carrots from the vegetable bed. She will almost always wear something pink as she does these things.

    • Sonya Cisco

      I dislike the assumption that if you wear pink you have limited your options. As both your daughter and mine show you can wear pink and still get muddy!

  15. Misty B

    I wrote a post just like this a while ago, I wholeheartedly agree! I buy my daughter pink things but I wouldn’t force her to wear them. But she happens to like pink, glitter and all things Princess, so that’s what she will get. But she also had a tool kit for Christmas and loves her trainers.

    So long as your child is happy, what does it matter? It’s only a colour at the end of the day!

  16. diaryofanewbiestrongwoman

    I haven’t read the other blog but are you sure people aren’t suggesting that girls like pink because of the insidious and blanket marketing of pink to girls? It’s hard to resist “liking” something if you are told day in, day out by adverts, cartoons, supermarkets, majority of clothes coloured pink that to be a girl is to like pink. I think I would be more open to the idea that girls can naturally like pink if it wasn’t thrust down their throats at every corner. Just a thought.

    • Sonya Cisco

      No. If they had said that I would have agreed with them. I wish there was less pink marketing, but this was an accusation that if you allow your daughter to enjoy pink or girls toys you should be ashamed, and that we are forcing them into gender stereotyped roles. I personally wish there was less of a gender division in colours and toy marketing. But while there is one, I do not want the ‘girls’ option to be given negative connotations. I will just encourage my child to a large variety of colours, toys etc in their life.

  17. The Beesley Buzz

    Josh adored the colour pink when he was aged about 3 and even insisted on getting a pink dolls house from father christmas. (santa could only get hold of a pink and purple one rather than just pink – but Josh was happy with that). He loved that dolls house – he even kept it in his room so it wouldn’t get broken by his little brother or anyone visiting. Then a year or so later, he had a friend home from school who ran into his room and shouted “yuk – pink – why have you got pink toys! Pink is for girls”. My heart just sank as we had spent 4 years ‘protecting’ him from that misconception / stereotype. Thankfully we were able to show his friend that pink is for boys and girls and he didn’t make any comments like that next time he visited.

  18. Emily Foran

    By making issues out of gender stereotyping she’s doing so by highlighting something that doesn’t need to be an issue – great post! Xx

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