Tuesday 9 April 2013

Trendy Tuesday - Boys CAN wear pink!

A slight deviation from the norm for today's Trendy Tuesday.  I want to write about something that drives me MAD... Colour and gender.

Why is it so many people believe that certain colours can only be worn by boys, or by girls?  I mean seriously, what exactly does a colour have to do with gender, or even sexual orientation   Now.. I know this is deep seated issue, for years there have been "boys colours" and "girls colours" (although which constitutes which has changed throughout the years!) but come on, lets just think about it for a moment.  In all honesty, do you think that dressing a girl in blue will make her a sword swinging train obsessed lesbian?  Do you think dressing a boy in a bit of pink is going to make him start wearing heels to do the food shopping in?  I really don't think that if you dress your child in a variety of colours it's going to have any bearing on their gender and sexuality.  No, if anything, you'll have a much more balanced child who gets to know their own mind. Children know nothing of this type of thinking, it's only when they get exposed to the warped views of society that they start to equate things like colour or types of toys with gender.

All the time I come across this type of thinking.  Photos on Instagram "Oh, my poor son has to wear my daughters pink bib.. I hope he doesn't mind wearing pink!".  On a buggy fan page on Facebook "I'm looking for new textiles for my buggy, anyone selling?  Boy colours like blue only please".  On eBay descriptions "I'm selling this cot bedding set because I had a girl last time.  I'm expecting a boy this time so I can't put him in a cot with pink bedding".

I've witnessed the beginnings of this with Ethan and it saddens me.  When I was pregnant with him, I had no idea if I was having a boy or a girl.  I bought clothes for the baby according to what I liked and thought looked nice, comfy, colourful and funky.  I bought clothing in an array of colours knowing I'd happily put a boy or a girl in them.  We painted "the baby's room" green because Pete and I like green.  Not because we thought we were having a boy (apparently green falls into the "boy" category).  People actually asked me when seeing it either in the flesh or in photos "will you re paint it pink if you end up having a girl?".  Errrr... no!!! We like green, we thought it was a bright happy colour to have on the walls of a child's bedroom so that's what we went for.

We had a red buggy.  Again, we bought that without knowing what we were having, just because we like red.  I have lost count of the times that people assumed the baby I was pushing in that buggy was a girl just because it was a red buggy .People would stop and say "what a lovely baby, she's gorgeous" and I'd obviously correct them, point out that he was a he, and they'd respond with "Oh, well, I assumed it was a girl due to the red buggy!".  Really?!

I've always continued in the same vein, I've continued to buy Ethan clothes and toys in a variety of colours.  I've never told him he couldn't have something because it was pink (I may have told him no because he doesn't need something, but that's another issue!!).  He spotted a pink toy push chair in a charity shop once and asked if he could have it.  I said yes - why not?  Once he asked if he could push his Gloworm in that push chair to Tesco.  He was dressed as a fairy at the time (he has everything in his dressing up box, Astronaut outfits to Princess dresses).  Again, I said yes.  Unfortunately, whilst on our way there, some young men pulled up in their car and shouted "GAY!" at him.  Ethan didn't know what they meant, I don't think he even noticed, but for goodness sake, he was 2 at the time!!!!

This is what I mean by society starting to make an impression on him.  Since starting preschool last September, I've noticed Ethan coming out with strange views.  Views that I would never have expressed or imposed upon him.  Only yesterday he told me "boys can't be beautiful, they can only be funny".  How sad that has made me.  I asked him where he heard that, he told me "at school".  I'm not sure whether from the teachers or other children.  I can't control this sort of thing.  From now on, he's going to be without me for many hours a week and I won't be able to control what he's exposed to.  I can only discuss things with him when he brings them up and hopefully give him the strength and understanding he needs to get through this life without becoming restricted in his thoughts by the rest of society.

It's a hard path to walk.  By encouraging this way of thinking in him, I'm exposing him to the possibility of bulling and mockery by peers.  What can I do though?  I don't want him thinking certain things are "only for boys" or "only for girls".  I want him to think that he and EVERYBODY else can do/wear/achieve what they want.

I'm not one of those parents who's trying to raise some kind of "gender neutral  child.  The idea of not telling your child what gender they are is not one I'm comfortable with.  But equally, if Ethan wants to put on a dress or choose a pair of pink shoes, I'll happily let him.

OK.  I'm sorry about that.  I just needed to have a rant.  I will now get on with the normal business of Trendy Tuesday.  Unsurprisingly, to go with my rant today, I'm going to share photos of Ethan in pink and colourful clothing.  Both recent and from a few years ago.

Pink converse - via eBay
Pink bird top - Katvig
Pink jeans - Maxomara via bebaboo.com

Pink & Yellow sleepsuit - Brights & Stripes
Purple & Red sleepsuit - Katvig
Red & Pink spotty bib - eBay
Pink & Rainbow heart bib - eBay
"Space" top - Smafolk

If you want to join in, please link up any blog posts about your children's fashion using the linky below.  The rules are simple:

1) Link back to my blog in your blog post and/or display the Trendy Tuesday badge (code available to the right).

2) Comment on my blog post and please visit others who join in - share the love!

3) Tweet me @medicatedfollow with your blog post link so I can retweet it.

Thanks all! xx


  1. BIG FAT KISSES FOR YOU!!!! Blondie Boy wears pink if he wants to and I didn't realize the boots he picked out at Next Clearance were "girl's" boots until I got home and saw flowers on the bottom. I HATE gender stereotyping in clothing and complained about it many times :)

    Pretty in Pink
    Gender Roles

    1. Whoop whoop! I thought this'd be up your street!! Yay for you and Blondie Boy. It's so nice to know there's more of us out there :) xxx

  2. My son always heads for the skirts when playing fancy dress - and my daughter will always go for a pirate costume. They had a nursery that was painted green and a grey pushchair because even if we had known we were having a girl first time we weren't going to spend money replacing everything 2nd time round.

    I was given a hand me down thomas the tank engine duvet set for my son when my friend's little boy (who is a couple of days older than my daughter and has a little sister) moved into his big bed. It went straight on my daughter's bed and she loved it, why on earth it wasn't suitable for this little boy's baby sister was beyond me.

    My daughter lives in boys clothes, but its totally of her own choosing. She doesn't like pink and doesn't like dresses, her favourite outfit is a "boys" red t-shirt, a "boys" dinosaur jumper and "boys" toy story jeans. Why on earth are red, dinosaurs and toy story the preserve of boys?

    1. Yes, yes YES!!! I agree with all of this. I want to make sure people know I don't force Ethan into a skirt, or pink clothes, or to play with a barbie (actually, don't get me stared on Barbie...) or a train. I just let him choose what he wants. Of course, when he was a baby, he couldn't express his own opinion about what he was wearing. Now I always ask him what he'd like to wear, and what he'd like if I'm buying him something. He just chooses what he wants, I don't direct him. When I was reviewing Easy Belts I asked him to choose which one he wanted. He went for the pink one from the "girls" section. When I asked him what colour Converse he wanted when his feet had grown, he asked for pink. Of course, he chooses plenty of other colours as well..

      It's all about choice :) xx

  3. I hate the gender gap between boys and girls clothes, I hate the whole blue/brown for boys and pink/purple thing for girls.
    My son used to wear a Katvig pink and blue striped babygro it was lovely.
    He doesn't wear pink because I have specifically brought him pink (sadly girls clothes) his preference is things with motorbikes on but I refuse to put him in anything with trucks or negative slogans which again seem only for boys; noisy, I'm trouble, messy that type of thing. I could rant about this for hours sorry!
    My son has a doll and buggy and used to take it out a lot, we never had any problems. He has a dolls house, I do imagine a point when a friend of his makes some negative comment, I hope he will have the confidence to make his own choices and not respond to peer pressure. I don't think you are exposing him to bullying I think you are creating a well rounded individual. The failing is society, the failing is morons in cars, the failing is people who can't think beyond blue for boys pink for girls and believe that by putting a pink bib on a boy it's a problem. I'm ranting now will stop.

    1. Well, thank you because I enjoyed your rant and I completely agree :) Ethan has a dolls house as well, and a gorgeous Sindy with Pink hair.. and various other mixed toys and it has occurred to me that when he starts "proper" school this September and starts to have new friends over to play that comments may begin. So sad that this will start, but like you say about your son, hopefully he'll have the confidence to respond in a confident manner to such comments and feel happy to make his own choices :) x

  4. thank you so much Alex for writing this and sharing with us, I could not agree with you more! for that reason my shop has not got any gender divisions at all, there aren't any BOYS and GIRLS categories, the idea is to browse by brands or articles i.e. TOPS or HATS so that the buyers can judge themselves, I am certainly not going to influence anyone's choices ;-) lovely pictures of Ethan! that last SPACE top is amazing, there was a very similar one made by Swedsih Plastisock some time ago ;-) Have you heard that PINK was once boys' colour and BLUE was girls'?

    1. That's OK Anna! I knew this kind of post would fit in with the ethos of your shop. You stock just the right kind of clothes that can be worn by anyone and I love the fact you shop by type of clothing and not gender. That's how it should be, then as you say, people can make their own choices.

      You are right by the way, that top is Plastisock, not Smafolk. I had to guess when I was listing it in the blog post because that particular top is in the loft in a bag of age 2 clothes so I couldn't check. Plastisock completely left my brain so I guessed at Smafolk but I'm sure you're right.. What a twit I am.

      Yes, I have heard before about pink being a boys colour and blue being a girls colour - I think it was back in Victorian times, but I could be wrong.. x

  5. I couldn't agree more, i got some pink shorts for Seb only yesterday, i also love boy tights and we have fairy wings and a pink toy hoover. Some people are just narrowminded. x

    1. Narrow-mindedness, yes, that's it! A colour really is JUST a colour. Or it should be. Ethan loves his rainbow fairy wings :) x

  6. As I said on Twitter, this topic is one that really gets me fired up. I have never had a boy, so it's very interesting to read about the topic from your perspective. I do, however, have a little girl. And let me tell you, EVERYTHING that others have bought for her is pink. Now, I happen to love pink as a color, but I hate that pink has been designated as a "girl only" color. I also dislike that people equate pink with being overtly "girly" and that being girly or being perceived as overly feminine is a bad thing. I enjoy being a woman, and I want my daughter to enjoy (and be proud of) being a girl. I want to raise her to be a strong, intelligent, capable young woman who can wear pink or blue or yellow or red or all of them at once, purely because she enjoys the hue... not because of who anyone else thinks she should be. Great article, Alex! I have a post on a similar vein in my blogging pipeline. Hugs!!! ~Sarah

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