Something borrowed, something blue?

When Bo was a mere 48 hours old, we bathed her for the very first time in the hospital. After her bath the midwife supervising us looked at the little wondersuit in my hands with a look of disbelief. Who could have known a little suit could cause such surprise? It wasn’t the suit, as it was just the standard bonds wondersuit (a hand me down from my gorgeous little nephew), but the colour. Blue!

“Blue!” the midwife said, trying (not succeeding) to mask her surprise, “well, why not I suppose!”

Why not indeed! I could have told her that it was also a hand-me-down that I was dressing my newborn in, but that might have pushed her over the edge. You do know that pink has only been the girls colour since the 1940s? Before that it was actually the colour was considered to be more masculine (check out this great article from the Smithsonian). We may have embraced this relatively new trend but maybe we should rethink it. How much simpler would hand-me-downs be if all little people could wear any colour in the rainbow without raised eyebrows when the step out in public?

My daughter leaves the house dressed in wondersuits and the like in many colours. Pink, blue, yellow, purple, green, white, grey – gender neutral one might call it. I call them clothes. I don’t see the need to colour code my child. Gender is something that defines us for our entire lives. As much as I wish I could change it my daughter will many times be judged first (either good or bad) because of her gender. But the beauty of the infant stages is that gender doesn’t matter (except maybe when you have something that should be pointed “down” inside a nappy). We knew the gender of our baby from 20 weeks, but we didn’t tell many people – with the true purpose to avoid getting a whole lot of gender coded clothing… the last thing I wanted was a sea of pink. If Bo decides that pink is her favourite colour and that’s all she wants to wear (and let’s face it, she probably will at some point) then I’ll celebrate her choices… but for now, why not give her a shot at loving some other colours too!

I’m pretty sure that the below images have more to do with the parents than the children themselves.


"The pink and blue project" by artist JeongMee Yoon

People often peer into my stroller to see a dark headed beauty in a yellow suit wrapped in a purple muslin cloth and raise an eyebrow – “Boy?” the ask their voices peaking into a high question mark – where you can just hear their confidence waning. We are heading out to an event this weekend where we get to meet lots of other mums and babies who are very important to me – they are like family… I’m taking my photographic mother along with me to capture the moment, “she’s got to wear something pretty” my mother told me. I think she should be comfy, she has lots of time to be pretty, lots of time to wear pink tutu’s and red gum boots and fairy wings and pirate hats and batman capes and dinosaur tails. For now she’s just an adorable little blob who just needs something soft against her skin.

I’m a big believer of natural and gentle stimulation – so Bo’s little corner of the world is not blue or pink or anything in between, it doesn’t ahve anything that makes noise or flashes colours or whirrs or vibrates or does anything of the like. It’s full of soft blankets, furry toys, interesting textures, deep colours and great shapes that have just started to inspire and excite her as she begins to reach out and touch for the very first time.


Bo's world

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  • March 23, 2012 - 10:08 pm

    Beck - Love this – I couldn’t agree more. Colour doesn’t define a person and yet our lives have become dominated by “pink for girls and blue for boys”. My 2 year old daughter wears clothes from both the boys and girls sections!ReplyCancel

  • March 23, 2012 - 10:36 pm

    Khayt Williams - great post Sash, with you 100%. I still dress Archie (2) in what others perceive as pink. He likes it along with his dolls and trucks and soft toys and blocks.ReplyCancel

  • June 26, 2013 - 5:01 am

    Inked in Colour: Fostering creativity: gendered toys and stereotypes - […] pink, making them quite hard for boys to love given our colour coded gendered stereotypes that are drilled into our children from the day that they are born. It makes me a little sad that if a little boy wants a stroller or a baby cradle to play with he […]ReplyCancel

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