All the Colors of the Rainbow (girl or boy?)

A while ago I wrote an entry here called Pink Is Not Bad where I wrote a bit about the color pink in connection with choosing clothes for your baby, girl or boy.

Since then I haven’t changed my mind. Pushing stereotypes on girls or boys is not the right thing to do. It pushes children into corners and makes their view of the world narrow and their choices few.

I have a little joyful girl who became 9 months old last week and we roam the different playgrounds in our neighborhood to meet other children and to have some fun. Life is such a fun game at that age.

Now to the point. I don’t mind when people think my little girl is a boy. It doesn’t bother me and she is too young to be bothered by it. It doesn’t touch us at all … BUT…

I have noticed that the way I dress her is directly connected with how people see her. And I’ve experimented a little with this. She has, as an example, a new winter overall in green with smaller areas that are blue. If she is wearing this overall with her black moccasins on her feet and her purple (white, pink but mostly purple) hat and a pink pacifier in her mouth, she is mistaken for a boy by everybody.

Once I even heard someone say “why does she buy pink pacifiers for her boy?” I normally wouldn’t but I couldn’t help but to turn towards her, tell her that my baby was a girl and that even if she was a boy pink would not be such a catastrophe.

She looked ashamed and left without another word.

If my baby girl is wearing a black body with the words “AC/DC for those about to rock” written in white letters on the stomach, gray pants with pink bands and letters on the side (most of the pants are gray) and gray socks – she is mistaken for a boy by most.

My girl doesn’t look more like a boy than a girl. Not at all. In fact I think it’s very strange people mistake her for a boy at all. She does have very short blond hair as babies do at that age and it is very hard at that age to know one way or the other.

Again I want to stress that mistaking a girl for a boy or a boy for a girl is not a catastrophe. Not at all but it is interesting to see when people mistake her for a boy and when not.

When she’s wearing her pink jacket and her purple hat nobody mistakes her for a boy. Wearing a red pants/t-shirt combination last summer people mistook her for a boy but more often than not people understood she was a girl.

I’ve found that green, blue, orange, black, gray and brown gets her mistaken for a boy more often than not. Wearing red, yellow or white she gets mistaken for a girl a little. However if she’s wearing pink she doesn’t get mistaken for a boy unless the pink is just a splash and her overall outfits is dominated by the “boy” colors.

I find that unless I have her in pink people often mistake her for a boy. It’s almost as if  “boy” is the norm unless the baby is wearing pink or fairies, “Hello Kitty” or something that is obviously a “girl” thing.

I myself mistook a girl for a boy – she was wearing a dark red overall with small blue stars. She, as all babies, did not look more boyish than girlish.

I guess we tend to take MAN or in this case BOY as norm. Even when it comes to gender. In a few months (year?) this won’t be an issue and she will surely correct whoever might think she’s a boy in the future but until then I point out that my baby doesn’t have to be a boy just because she’s wearing an AC/DC body.

Still I find that when her wardrobe (as now) is not dominated by the color pink I tend to miss it. Still I try to mix it up. “Boy” colors (gosh I hate writing that) with “girl” colors (*shrug*) all the colors of the rainbow for her.

I was delighted to notice recently that Zara has wonderful baby clothes in rather “neutral” colors. White pajamas with yellow figures or white bodies with brown or gray text. Like this body. A lot of brown, gray and then colors mixed in. The girl clothes are obviously girl clothes though because they are often skirts, dresses or feminine coats. Online you browse into “a girl” section or “a boy” section. Their choices of  colors are more “grown up” than the other boutiques around me.

I guess if it bothered me that she was called a boy sometimes I would dress her more in dresses, skirts and outfits that were “obviously” a girls outfit. But I like being practical in these things and body and pants are so much more practical than a dress.

Early we are put in a certain catagory, boy or girl. And even before it matters at all we are faced with all kinds of gender-based choices. We can obviously push the limits and not let the “norm” bother us. Push the limits and let your baby wear blue body with a robot or a car on the front, I’m guessing most people would still frown though if you’d put a boy in pink “Hello Kitty” pants.

As long as we are conscious of our choices and conscious of the way we later explain these things to our children it’s all alright.

Pink is good though. I like pink. I am proud of being a girl. I am very proud of my little girl and although I think it’s sad we have such limited view of the world around us I happily make  her wear pink until it is her own choice to do so or not to do so.

A point? I lost any point I might have had a while ago…

… but next time I’m on the playground I am going to think twice before I assume the sex of someone’s baby depending on the clothes they are wearing.

Asking first is always a good idea.

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