Another week another prompt. This one is simply a topic. One to think about…
Pink is for girls
When we found out we were having a boy at our 20 week scan we didn’t tell anyone apart from my parents. The only real reason for this was because I didn’t want Toby to end up with a wardrobe full of pastel blue clothes. To be honest it wasn’t so much the blue I had a problem with, it was the pastels! I searched out brightly coloured baby clothes wherever I could. Would I do the same if we were having a girl? Absolutely! Of course Toby did end up with some blue clothes, and some ‘boy’ clothes but I was just thinking the other day – if we do have another baby and it’s a girl would I be happy to dress her in ALL Toby’s hand me downs? Even the babygrow with tractors on it? I don’t see why not. But would I do it the other way round? If we had a girl first would I dress her little brother in pink or ‘girly’ clothes? Probably not. Although Toby does have a pink nappy! I like to think I’m pretty enlightened when it comes to these things though – Toby doesn’t have any ‘gender specific’ toys yet but I will happily encourage him to play with whatever he wants when the time comes.
I was never a ‘girly’ girl growing up. I’m still not now really. I used to be made to wear a dress for church on Sundays and I would be pulling at the zip, wriggling to get it off as soon as we got home. But most of the time I wore all my brother’s old clothes, I played with the same toys as him, I always got on better with boys than girls. Maybe it’s because I had an older brother and I idolised him, I just wanted to do everything he did. Maybe it was because my parents were both Scout leaders and so I went to cub camp and scout camp (in the days before girls were allowed in scouts) and I seemed to have much more fun with the boys than I did at Brownies or Guides. Girls we’re always talking about one another and bitching and falling out.
My parents always treated us equally too (apart from the wearing a dress for church thing). I started dance classes when I was four, and a year later when my brother decided he wanted to go to dancing too my mum and dad were happy to let him (he carried on tap lessons until he was about 15). I’m sure if I’d wanted to play football then that would have been OK too. The only time I remember my parents attempting to treat us differently was when I was 16 and wanted to go to the pub. My brother had been allowed to go to the pub when he was 16 (our parents trusted him to be sensible and were of the mind that they would rather know where he was, than him tell them he was at a friend’s house then go to the pub anyway). So when I was 16 I asked if I could go to the pub too. Initially my parents said no. I was outraged! “But Mark was allowed to go when he was 16!” “It’s different for you, you’re a girl”. As you can imagine, I wasn’t very happy with that, and in this instance I won the argument. I think it probably helped that I was going to the same pub as my brother so he would be able to keep an eye on me.
I think though, however hard we try as parents not to enforce gender stereotypes it’s hard to avoid them entirely as our children get older. I’m going to do my best to ensure Toby (or any other children we might have) are never limited by the ‘norms’ of society. I try not to push any gender stereotypes on to Toby now, and certainly as he grows up and starts to have opinions of his own he can wear what he wants to wear, and play with what he wants to play with (within reason!), and when he grows up he can be whatever he wants to be.