Monday, September 28, 2009

Pretty In Pink

I like to think of myself as a feminist. Not a Birks & socks extremist (because that combination IS extreme, no?), but a modern day egalitarian. So, I was pretty excited to give birth to a little girl. It was ages ago, but I remembered my college Womens Studies course like it was yesterday and here was my opportunity to make some herstory! To rock the next generation!! This little girl would have everything the boys would have plus a pair of boobs! (And minus the penis.) Those lectures left an impact and I was not about to start socializing her into a corner by dressing her in pink. Uh-uh. No way. I would do my instructor proud. So her nursery was Rubber Ducky themed with yellow and white. Totally Neutral. (Granted, her sex was undetermined before birth... but still! The room was Totally Neutral.) We gladly gathered hand-me-downs in preparation. Scraping in a one bedroom rental apartment, we certainly weren't about to turn anything down. And thankfully, our bases were covered. Blues for a girl and pinks for a boy! Ha! Our little girl arrived and she was beautiful... I mean, handsome. S#*t! She was... glorious! Once I could walk (and I mean that), I couldn't wait to take her for her first stroller ride to show her off to the neighbourhood. I chose her green sleeper with stars and it's matching cap along with a brown fleece teddy bear blanket. She cooed away animatedly expressing the thrill of fresh air and open skies. It was exhilarating for both of us to come to this point. And then came the comments. "Awww! He looks just like his daddy!", "What a cutie! What's his name?", "Look at those pipes! He's gonna be a brute!"... It would be one thing if these freaking looky-loos had 50% accuracy! I couldn't stand it! Everybody thought she was a boy. And the question was, why did I care? I have no idea. Call me a lesser womyn, but I just needed some people to see my girl as she was: a girl. I attempted to walk the line. Let her wear puffed sleeves... in blue. Accessorize the jean jacket with a hot pink soother, etc... But it's a slippery slope. I couldn't help it. She looked really GOOD in pink! She's a Spring for crying out loud! It's her colour!! My bar continued to lower. I resisted the Disney Princess Brainwash in a Box-set until it felt like we were running a dictatorship. I so tried to keep a Barbie-free home but those damn dolls, they find their way. And do they ever make her HAPPY! Long story short, it turned out we had a girly-girl on our hands despite my half-assed attempts for otherwise. As all you parents know, we've got to choose our battles and this just seemed like one that wasn't worth fighting. Surely the colours that we wear don't define us. Surely we can't blame Barbie for gatewaying our preschoolers to anorexia. These days as I watch my daughter joyfully flitting around her ballet class, the biggest fruitcake in the room, I breathe a sigh of relief that I gave up the fight years ago. After all, she looks pretty in pink.

5 comments:

  1. my baby boy was called "she" until we cut his hair and stopped putting him in yellow. The problem is he actually loves a pink and purple blanket that wrecks all our efforts. oh well.

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  2. My son was still getting called a girl at 8 years old. Perhaps his desire to have long hair (or 'surfer' hair) was to blame? I simply told him that he might get mistaken for a girl and if that bothered or upset him, he could cut his hair. He learned to live with the mistaken identity. He is now 10, still dons the same hair style, but no longer gets mistaken for a girl.

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  3. I've talked to numerous other "progressive" moms who've had the same experience (mistaken gender) and can't seem to answer the question, "why do we care?". Does anyone out there have an answer to this silly question?

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  4. I used to get that with Payton ALL the time! I have NO idea why it bothered me so much! And the strange thing is Payton was CONSTANTLY getting mistaken for a boy when she was little (even when dressed entirely in PINK and swaddled in a PINK blanket people would say "Oh my goodness HE has such gorgeous eyes!")and she is now a complete Tom-Boy. In stark contradiction people would literally stop me on the street to comment on what a beautiful baby girl Tristan was - and she turned out to be a COMPLETE Princess!! (everything MUST be pink or purple)...go figure!

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  5. So, coming from a younger sister to an older brother who had to wear HIS hand-me-downs that lead to some serious Tom-boy years, I have to say that since the day I had control over what I wear, I've been dressing like a girly-girl to the max. It may be because I've been compensating for those years of wanting to grow from the ugly duckling to the swan, or it may be because I genuinely love fashion, but either way, no one can look at me today and guess what I wore as a wee one. I'm pretty sure it didn't scar me. I'm an empowered woman - or so I like to think, being successful in a male dominated profession - but I think that's because my mom is as well. It's all about the example you set - not what they're wearing - that will mold their minds. I can say, however, that every holiday when I was given a doll of some sort and my brother got some crazy functional toy that included mechanics and building skills I was stupid jealous and would wait for when he wasn't playing with it so I could get my fix. I still remember barterring with him at the young age of six: 'I'll bake you a cake in my Easy Bake Oven if you let me play with your Transformers while you're at tennis practice?" I think toys for girls and boys today are equally stimulating but I'd say, dress her up in as much pink, green, black, as you want, just make sure her toys aren't brain numbing - girls like things that explode and morph too!

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