The answer would be “Me, I need diversity and variation and differences”
So this is a vent post, be warned.
Yesterday, we went to a popular farm restaurant in our area. Families love it, as it has a huge lawn and play area and the food is good without being over-priced. First thing upon asking for a table for four adults and one almost toddler, was being asked if my son would be sitting on my lap. I have a daughter, she was wearing red and grey. I’m used to this by now, since we chose to raise her gender-neutral (not as an it, just without stereotypes).
But then I look over my mother in-law’s shoulder at the baby behind her. The girl in so many frills and bows she’d never safely fit in a car seat. The one who looks like she’s just been fished out of a cotton candy machine. The one with the massive headband with the massive bow who is struggling to keep her head up under the weight of it. And I wonder if that’s what it takes to clearly be female.
But, you know, whatevs.
While we were waiting for our food, we decided to walk around the play area. Our daughter is very petite (still wearing 3-6 at 2 weeks short of her first birthday) and started walking about a month ago, so she seems to appeal to people. As such, we soon had a flock of women and girls around us.
And there I stood, surrounded by a sea of PINK.
I capatalise that, because it really hit home at that moment and as I looked around, that not a single female under 13, except our daughter, was wearing a different colour. Every single one of them was in some shade of Pink!
Now, for the usual disclaimers. No, we do not have an issue with pink. No, we do not have an issue with femininity. We DO take issue with stereotyping and forcing people into boxes they may not fit.
So I get you might love pink and think it’s the cutest thing. I also know you might hate it, but think it’s the done thing. I also know the struggle of finding anything else for little girls.
My concern is, our concern, is that when we are already stereotyping our children straight out the womb as princess for girls and anything for boys, what are we doing to their futures?
I heard mothers reprimand their daughters for wanting to play a little rougher, but encourage their much younger sons to do much more. What message are we sending?
There has been some research into why their are so few women in the STEM careers and a lot of evidence points to the way we raise and speak to our daughters. Less independence, less curiosity, less exploration, more care with your dress.
We want our daughter to be who she is, whether that is a princess or an astronaut or anything else or all of it. She was born curious and I hope like hell she’ll stay that way. So yes, she owns one or two pink items and she has a doll and teddies. But frankly, most pinks don’t suit her skin tone, she actively prefers bright and dark colours and frills really are not practical at this life stage. And yes, even at this age, we let her choose.
And we crave the type of diversity, starting with clothing, but on all levels, that allows a child to become who they are without stereotyping them into perfect little boxes.
PS. All girls do not like pink. There are only 2 females in my entire family who do and of those, one only started in early adulthood.
Ok, rant over.