Friday, August 1

Pink is for boys

I was certain I didn't want to be a parent who enforce gender stereotypes. But like so many rules, such as no tv before the age of 2 as recommended by pediatricians, they are turned on their heads once we actually confront them.

Recently, in the bid to wean minibeanie from the bottle, I was trawling for suitable
Tupperware training cups. Alright...Tupperware isn't exactly known for kiddo stuff but I did hear from a friend with 2 boys who had used it when transitioning from the bottle. And so coming back to the issue. I found a suitable package with a 200ml cup (the perfect size that's not too large) with a lid on the spout. I was adamant it wouldn't be a sippy cup because research had shown there would be further problems when transitioning to a real cup. It came in blue and, of course, pink. And as it was a March package, supplies were running awfully low.

My first inclination was to go with blue. For some reason, it proved really difficult finding blue stocks (more boys in China?). Then, I turned the assumption on its head - why am I limiting my selection to blue? Honestly, I find the pink package more cheery than the muted blue. There was an internal struggle that lasted for half a day (hahah, see what I'm preoccupied with? :D ) before deciding that I wouldn't put minibeanie into a preconceived culturally influenced mold. Why can't little boys wear pink? Or big boys either? ;) In the past, I'd bought minibeanie a Ralph Lauren pink polo shirt. I also know of a 3 year-old precocious boy who would consciously pick out bright coloured clothes for himself, even pink ones. So, pink it is :)

Why do we put little children into straight jackets of colour conventions? I remembered having a hard time choosing 'nice' clothes for minibeanie in Finland. Little boys' fashion palate seems limited to browns, blues and greens - all of which can be somber and dull, imho.

For the sake of an academic discussion, the current idea that "pink is for girls & blue is for boys" didn't come about until mid 20th century. In fact, an American newspaper "The Sunday Sentinal" wrote on March 29, 1914,

"If you like the color note on the little one's garments, use pink for the boy and blue for the girl, if you are a follower of convention."

And in the Ladies Home Journal, June, 1918,

"There has been a great diversity of opinion on the subject, but the generally accepted rule is pink for the boy and blue for the girl. The reason is that pink being a more decided and stronger color is more suitable for the boy, while blue, which is more delicate and dainty, is prettier for the girl."

So what changed the trend? According to a website "Gender Specific Colors", by the 1930s, pink had already become associated with girls. This was demonstrated by the NAZIs use of a pink triangle to identify homosexuals. (The NAZIs had a complex system of colour and symbol coding such as the yellow star of David to identify Jews.

minibeanie is 1 year & 6 days old


Anonymous said...

Great news for Jo then! He just loves pink. Pink = good to eat.....mmmm


mb's mum said...

Good for Jo! He has the making of a Sensitive New Age Guy ;)