With yesterday being ‘International Day of the Girl’ I wanted to write a post related to that subject. I always love when these kind of days roll around as you see all manner of empowering messages across social media and people taking part in events to support equality for women and women’s rights. I’m a true girls girls at heart and I love anything to do with empowering women. There has been a related topic to this in the press a lot recently that has been weighing on my mind and I thought that today would be the perfect time to write about it. I’m referring to the debate over children’s clothing, particularly in regards to the slogans used for boys and girls clothing and the colours that are generally available for each gender. Pink for girls, blue for boys.
In general I agree with most of the things I am seeing on this topic. There are an overwhelming number of products out there for girls that simply say ‘pretty’ or ‘cute’ on them and we should absolutely be encouraging girls to be more than just those things. It is wrong that to find clothing with dinosaurs or planets on it, you have to venture into the boys section. (Not that there is anything stopping you from doing that, I quite often shop for Darcie from the boys section). I wholeheartedly agree that there are improvements that need to be made to encourage both boys and girls to be whatever they want in life.
But the thing that has been really bothering me in all of this is the people that say ‘I refuse to dress my little girl in pink, I don’t want to stereotype her’, ‘I won’t dress her in pink, because she can choose to be whatever she wants on life, I won’t limit her’. I’m not quite sure at what point pink became so evil and frankly I’m not ready to jump onto that bandwagon. I love pink, I dress my daughter in pink, and I refuse to apologise for that.
I dress her in a multitude of other colours and prints too and as I said earlier I do sometimes shop in the boys section for her, but there is no denying that pink does feature heavily in her wardrobe. But here’s the thing; dressing her in pink doesn’t mean I don’t want her to grow up to be a scientist, or a doctor, or a lawyer. It doesn’t mean that I don’t allow her to get muddy or have adventures. It doesn’t mean that I only buy her ‘girls’ toys and deny her from the ‘boys’ toys that we know to be better for improving a child’s motor skills. It doesn’t mean any of that. But, every time I read another article or comment from someone implying that by dressing my daughter in pink I am stereotyping her and encouraging her to lead a fluffy, girly life of housework and shopping and to not aspire for more in life, I start to doubt myself.
Should I be dressing her in pink? Am I setting her up for a life where she doesn’t think she can achieve as much as a boy, just because she wore pink, and glitter and floral prints? But every time I come to the same conclusion. No. Pink is just a colour, not a way of life. I refuse to let anyone make me feel bad about it, and as long as I like the colour and she is happy wearing it, I will not be banishing it from her wardrobe. I love pink, does that make me less of a feminist? Should I be eliminating pink from my life to be accepted into the crowd of women who want more and who stand up for their rights? I don’t think so and it’s not a lesson I want to teach my daughter.
She wears pink and we go out for adventures and play in the mud. She wears pink and plays with toy cars and hammers. We spend most of our time doing things that I wouldn’t even class as ‘boy’ things because to me they’re just toddler things. Most toddlers like to make a mess, get dirty, destroy things and build things. We do the same activities as we would do if she was a boy, and to me the colour she wears to do these things is so irrelevant. She doesn’t care and neither do I. I buy clothes for her that I like, and quite often that will mean they are pink, glittery or have a tutu attached. But you know what? She is strong, she is cunning, she is fierce, she is brave, she is a force to be reckoned with. Pink doesn’t change any of that.
I hate the way that sometimes being a girl who likes pink, glitter and cute things is seen to make you less of a feminist or to not care as much about women’s rights. Zooey Deschanel summed it up perfectly for me when she said “We can’t be feminine and feminists and successful? I want to be a feminist and wear a Peter Pan collar! So what?”
I’m not going to teach my daughter that to be clever and successful she has to wear black and blue, or that she can’t like pink and still be a feminist. I’m going to teach her that pink is just a colour, and so is blue, and no matter what colours you like or choose to wear, it makes you no less or no more of a person or a feminist.
Or she might grow up to hate pink, and that’s okay too.