Friday 5 November 2010

Boxed in by pink and blue

Goosey's blue Buzz Lightyear cake
This is a post that has been floating round my head for some time. I'm inspired to get it out and on the screen by a fantastic post over at Woogsworld and Nerdy Apple Bottom. If you haven't read either of these posts, I strongly suggest you go and do so.

Before I had kids, I never really thought about gender stereotypes that much. I knew that if my future daughters wanted to play with trucks they'd be allowed to and if any future son wanted to play with Barbie dolls they'd be allowed to too. That's as far as my thoughts on the matter went.

When Lil-lil was born we were bombarded with pink 'stuff' – clothes, rugs, bears, you name it. We were awash in a sea of pink washing, our clothesline filled with tiny pink clothing. As she grew, I tried to find clothes for her that weren't pink. This was an almost impossible mission. Unless you shopped at expensive designer labels all clothes for baby girls seemed to come in pink. I became more and more frustrated trying to pretty blue, green or even violet clothing for my blue-eyed babe, who looked gorgeous in blue.

As she got older, there started to get a little more variety in the colours available for her, but pink is still the dominant colour. Lil-lil is a very girly girl and does love pink and purple. It's something that's innate in her and something I've never tried to instill in her - that pink is a girls' colour. Though it's very hard to make her think otherwise when the only colour available in her first years were predominantly pink.

Goosey has been a little more of what I guess you'd call a tomboy. She loves to climb and wrestle and is definitely rough. Earlier this year she fell in love with all things Buzz Lightyear. I was surprised when people commented on the fact that it was a little odd that she loved Buzz Lightyear so much. Wasn't that a boy thing? To be honest, I'd never given it much thought. As Goosey started gravitating towards the boys clothes section at Target, because that's where all the Buzz Lightyear paraphernalia was it's seems they were right.

Goosey is toilet training and going to pick out undies recently she desperately wanted Buzz Lightyear undies, but no, they were boys undies. Then she wanted Wiggles, but if you're girl you have to settle for Dorothy the Dinosaur – even if you do love Jeff (hey I thought purple was supposed to be a girl's colour). All the things she loves and gets excited over is considered 'boys stuff' and she's forced over to Disney Princesses and Little Ponies – what 'they' tell us little girls should like, what they MUST like.

Inspired by these posts, I'm going to buy my little girl her Buzz Lightyear undies and be done with it. The only thing that will concern me is the fact that she throws herself off the back of the couch yelling 'To Infinity and beyond!' not whether she's wearing 'boys' clothes.

Recently, at Lil-lil's fairy princess birthday her best friend came dressed in a gorgeous pink fairy dress and fairy gumboots and looked sensational – her best friend is a boy. In her friend's mind it was a fairy princess party, he knew Lil-lil would be wearing a gorgeous dress and he didn't want to let his friend down. We all thought it was fantastic!

It boggles my mind, that people get so offended by a boy wearing pink or sequins or fairy wings, but running around shooting guns and pretending to maim each other is perfectly fine.

So it's not all as easy as I thought it would be to just let kids be whatever they want to be. But as Mrs Woogs has shown, maybe it is. It's us adults with the problem, not the kids who are just trying to be themselves. Let's just let them be. Pink or blue, fairy wings or space ranger wings.


  1. Oh I loved this. Imagine her face when you give her the Buzz LightYear undies! xoxo

  2. So many beautiful thought-provoking posts with the ultimate theme of loving your children, honoring them and helping them become the best they can be.

    It's funny, I'd always thought I'd be happy with a boy who was into girly stuff, but I never really thought about the opposite. My gal had train sets and toy cars - but a wardrobe full of pink - still does.

    Viva la revolution celebrating diversity, individuality and quirkiness! x

  3. I know what you mean. There is SO much pink for little girls.

    Now that Abigail is 2, I dress her in grey, black, yellow, blue and green all the time. My eyes need a break from the pink and purple.

    Those Buzz undies sound like the shiznit. I'm sure if Abi saw them, she would beg me for them. Although she prefers Woody ;)

  4. My Girl Child is a girly girl and loves pink. As the second child in our family she got hand me downs from her brother, including his undies. They had Thomas, the Teletubbies, Pooh Bear etc and she thought they were great. She wanted them and choose them over pink girly undies.

    But people were mortified that she was wearing boy undies. Some adults couldn't see past that. A girl wearing boy undies. It was too weird for some people to even contemplate.

    Note: she was at daycare and preschool when thos occurred she wasn't just flashing everyone (well not to my knowledge anyway)

  5. Good on you. We just want our kids to be happy, and if that means boys wearing fairy dresses (LOVE that story!) or a girl wearing Buzz undies, then who cares? It's everyone else with the issues, it's up to us to shut the others and their opinions down. I think it's great you let her be who she wants to be.

    FWIW I have girly girls and I am sick of pink too (esp musk pink, there is so much of that around) and I find Pumpkin Patch often has ranges of clothes in lots of fab gorgeous bright colours and you can usually get in season stuff on sale as the next range comes in really early.

  6. It really can be so hard to let our kids just be who they are, especially when society - and the odd nosy stranger in the street are all pushing them in one stereo-typed direction.

    My three year old wants to start ballet lessons next year... much to the horror of his grandmother he will be doing just that.

  7. I have found it SO hard shopping for the bump, as we don't know what sex it is, and I'm not really into gender stereotyping. Little clothes are either pink or they're blue. Or there's a cupcake on it, or a dinosaur or something else that dictates what sex child it is meant for. I hate it all.

    And amen sister about that gun thing. That is one thing I have thought about, and that's that we will be a no-gun household. Why is shooting someone dead ok, but god forbid a boy plays with a doll. The world is all topsy-turvy!!


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