Monday, February 21, 2011

The Politics of Pink

My son is a stereotypical boy. He is into trains, trucks, robots, lego, excavators, dinosaurs, concrete mixers (don't dare call it a cement mixer in our house). He is a high energy boy who runs, jumps, dances (like Maniac from Flash Dance), roars like a monster, growls like a pirate and does a perfect impression of a transformer transforming.  And his favourite colour is pink. 

So yeah that last part isn't so stereotypical.  But I love that he loves pink.  And while I'd like to take all sorts of credit for being a gender neutral mom. It is his two girl friends at daycare that are likely the reason. They like pink.  So he likes pink. 

Personally I love a man in a pink button down with a matching tie.  But there are no pink clothes for boys.  And most of the girl t-shirts in pink, also include some sort of princess element.  And when I suggested a pink shirt that had a princess he emphastically said NO.  During a recent trip to Old Navy he picked out flip flops, blue with grey stripe track pants, Ewok t-shirt, 2 soccer balls and a stuffed Penquin. Since we weren't shopping for clothes (or toys), we compromised with the Ewok t-shirt.  We were there to buy new underwear.  We found it all in the girl's section.  His pick - pink girl's underwear. 

Was I an open minded parent? No. I distracted him with some blue stripes.  I worried about what people might say if they see him wearing pink girl's underpants.  I didn't worry about what they say to me.  I worried about what he would hear them say about him.  I've already had a few discussions with people I know about whether I should be concerned about his love of pink.  And for the record I'm not worried about that.

What I don't want is him thinking there is anything wrong with liking pink, just because society says pink is a girl's colour.   I'd love him to have the option to pick shirts or sweaters that include pink.  But pink underwear seemed over the line to me.   It seemed too open to critism from others.  Other kids and other adults. 

So for now, until someone designs some boy's clothes that include pink. I'll be on the lookout in the girl's department for cute pink/non-princess items that Lil T might like.  That is, of course, if he still likes pink next week.  As things change fast at 3.