Wednesday, June 15, 2011

My daughter likes pink

When I would see all the adorable pink baby dresses at the store, I always complained how much cuter the girl clothes were compared to the boy clothes.  Then, when my daughter was born, she wasn't a day old before friends and family started showing up with cute little pink outfits.  But something strange happened that I hadn’t been expecting… I got so sick of PINK!

Actually, to say I was sick of it is not putting it right.  I got upset about pink, everything it represented, and the fact that it was everywhere.  Just walk into a store, any store, and you will find isles where it looks like a pink sparkly princess puked all over EVERYTHING!  The clothes, dolls, toys, there are even special Lincoln Log and Lego sets for girls in appropriate girly colors!  Made me sick!

Gender wasn’t something I had thought much about when my son was born.  Though we don’t have a gender neutral household, we didn’t believe in silly gender rolls either.  I wasn’t concerned about raising my son to “be a man”.  I knew there was nothing wrong with a boy that needed to cry or wanted to play dress up.  Whether he chose to participate in sports or not would be his choice and if he wanted his toenails painted like mommy, that was okay.

So I was surprised how strongly I reacted when my daughter was born.  It wasn’t the color itself that had me so upset, it was the fact that from birth, my daughter was being pushed into being a cute little frilly princess whether that's who she wanted to be or not and it pissed me off.

So I told myself (and everyone else) that my daughter didn't have to be a princess.  I went on a huge rant about how we weren't going to buy her dolls or Barbies unless SHE asked for them, and not one day sooner.  We would let her be who she wanted to be and decide what she was interested in without pressure from us.

As she got older, her spunky personality came shining though.  She ran around with her short bob haircut and never wore dresses.  Instead she wore stained pants and tennis shoes since you don't put a frilly dress on a 2 year old that wants to play in the mud.  She was naturally interested in cars and trains just like her brother and I secretly felt proud of my little "Tom girl" and felt like I must be doing something right.

And then, something strange started happening, again.  Before I realized it, my little girl started becoming girly!  She started picking out the pinkest, most sparkly stickers at the store.  She chose a dress when I let her pick out anything she wanted while we shopped with her brother.  And then one day, she announced that her favorite color was pink!

Pink?!  How could she do this to me?!  I was shocked and upset when I realized just how girly she was becoming.  I felt like I had failed her, let society tell her what she should like and who she should be.  I didn’t do enough or go far enough to keep this from happening.  I was so disappointed.  But then I had an epiphany.

Yes, one year for Christmas my daughter got 5 dolls from people as gifts (apparently that is what you buy little girls).  Yes, she currently has six pink shirts in her closet from my mother.  And yes, society does tell our girls they should be proper little princesses.  But then I realized that the problem was not princesses, sparkles, ruffles or the color pink.  The fact that my daughter liked these things did not mean that she had to stop being herself.  She still enjoyed playing in the mud after all.  She could still go on to be who ever she wanted to be, she would just be someone that also happened to like pink!

It also helped to remind myself that my son also loves pink and things that sparkle!


  1. There's a book I want to read called "Cinderella Ate My Daughter", by Peggy Notsureherlastname about exactly this.
    I also just read an article about parents in Canada somewhere who are raising a 'gender neutral' child. No one knows the sex of the child besides the parents and siblings. I think the kid's name was "storm' if you want to google it.

  2. Just read your BBC post about this topic and had to say, "Good for you!" It sucks how society so often pegs our kids into narrow little places where they can feel forced into being. It's also sometimes freaky scary to strike up a debate on that board, too, so here's to you for having the courage!

  3. Thanks Katy! I wouldn't say it went well, but maybe it got a few parents to think about an issue they didn't know existed.

    Miriamp, I have that book on my counter waiting for me to find time to read it! I also read that article about the family in Canada. It was very interesting! They brought up a lot of good points. Here's the article I read:

  4. What a great revelation! The day my son said "truck" and go excited for the trash to be picked up, I nearly cried. I don't have a girl to compare, but I'm hoping I'll have a girl someday who will say the same thing?!

    Love the blog!