Tuesday, December 23, 2008

True Colors

As many of you know, I'm finishing my dissertation (I've been "finishing" it for the past few years now : ), and my topic is images of girlhood in the media. When I was pregnant, there was a part of me that was worried about having a girl. I didn't want to end up over-analyzing my kid's childhood. To tell you the truth, I haven't been that preoccupied yet, although I do pay attention to how gender-focused babyness can be, especially what I call the pink/blue dichotomy. I was going to buy a sippy cup a few months ago and my two options were a pink cup (with princesses on it) or a blue cup (with cars on it). I decided to postpone my purchase and later bought one that changed colors when you put cold liquids in it. Ha! Take that, you producers of gender-specific sippy cups.

I'm not opposed to pink and we dress Grace in pink on a weekly basis. That said, I do have some outfits that could be considered more boyish because they are sans bows and glitter. Many of these have doggies on them, because, well, I love dogs. Turns out the "boy and his dog" thing is prevalent in baby clothing because I've only found one doggy top in the infant girl area of the store. Most of her doggy-themed clothes are from the boy's section. When she wore one of these non-pink outfits to a holiday craft sale I had people ask how old he is. I understand that clothes are all strangers have to go on when trying to identify the gender of a baby, but it just bugs me that no pastels = boy.

Still, I am not as hyped up as I thought I'd be. I love seeing Grace in girly clothes just as much as I like seeing her in overalls. (If you look closely at this picture you'll see her onesie has pink and glitter on it.) I am excited to see her play with the doll we got her for Christmas, just as much as I'm looking forward to seeing her play with cars and trucks. If she ends up being more of a girly girl than I was/am -- and it wouldn't take much -- that's fine with me. I just always want her to know she has choices.

My mom offered to by her a knitted hat at the aforementioned craft sale and I selected the pink one, hoping to plop it on her head and dispel any confusion. Grace promptly grabbed the hat and yanked it off her head. Her choice. That's my girl!

2 comments:

The Young Family said...

All of my kids have been bald babies, and somehow bald=boy also. One time Amanda was in a dress and ruffle socks and someone asked me how old "he" was. The dress was yellow, a gender neutral color, so I guess it's partly my fault too for dressing her like a boy!

Jen said...

When our daughter (Grace!) was born, we didn't want her to wear a lot of pink but that's what we got as gifts so we put it on her and it grew on us.

Now that she is old enough to choose her own clothes (5) she nearly always wears dresses and pink or purple. Although at this moment, she is wearing her brother's blue doggy footy PJs.

I'd be really interested in reading your dissertation when you're done. Have you looked at the current Toys R Us ads? WOW, so gender-stereotyping!