This can be quite the dilemma for parents. Do you go for the all out pink frilly dress ensemble if it’s a girl, reinforcing every female stererotype or do you go all Philip Stark on it and dress her in yellows and greens, and have people ask you how old your boy is.
Before we had our daughter, we were clearly of the yellow brigade – we wanted to see if we really had to wade into the sea of lurid plastic pink that seemed inevitable with a girl. Both of us just hated the assumption that a girl would automatically like fairy wings, dolls, make up and dressing like a princess. As someone who was never really into dolls, and much more into lego, jigsaws and running around in green wellies, I would argue very loudly with people that it wasn’t inevitable that girls equalled pink, and equally so, that a boy could love pink and mess around with makeup without major questions being raised.
I never realized how much of a dilemma this was until I had a baby and then started to receive presents – lovely, lovely presents so I am about to sound horribly ungrateful, but here we go, I cannot help it – presents that we would never use in a month of Sundays. Sometimes my husband and I would ask ourselves if some of our friends knew us at all. It definitely made me rethink present buying – and that is was less about my views and more about the views of the parents….
I have quickly worked out how you know when buying gifts for a newborn – well for some of our friends anyway. If the couple was married and we were at the wedding or at least saw the photos, then we’ve worked out a good indication of what side of this debate they are on. Modern wedding with equal opportunity speeches and no throwing of the bouquet? I’d go for a very funky outfit that would work for both boys and girls. Traditional wedding with classic first dance and morning suits for the groomsmen? We end up picking an outfit that Princess Catherine would choose for George and Charlotte, respectively.
And it’s quite a thing when you go shopping for your own child – how much of the stuff out there is cut along highly stereotypical gender lines. For girls, it’s all dainty fairies and tops that say ‘Daddy’s Little Princess’. And for boys, it’s dinosaurs and ‘Brave boy’ everywhere. The good news is that with this conversation coming more and more to the fore – there are lots more ‘middle ground’ kind of stuff to choose from. And it’s not that we are firmly ‘anti-pink’. If our daughter wants to go that road, all good – I’d just prefer her to choose it than it been decided for her.
The thing is though, one of the best colours that really suits our daughter? Yup, you guessed it. Pink.
So, we’re bracing ourselves for fairy wings. But still hoping for wellies.