Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Pretty in Pink?

Well, the information is out on the Internet now--I'm pregnant, and I'm having a girl! 

Doug and I were eager to get to Babies R Us to start our registry. We certainly don't expect to get all our registry items as gifts, but it was exciting to finally spend time gazing longingly at things our baby just might end up using. 

Since we found out we're having a girl, I've been avoiding things that are aggressively girly. In fact, I've been avoiding pink altogether--not because I have anything against it, but because I'm sure we'll get plenty of pink clothes, blankets, etc. from other people, and I want to be able to go through our daughter's first year without being constantly bombarded by pink. And I think it's strange--supposedly pink is for girls and blue is for boys, but baby boy clothes are not always blue. In fact, I would hazard a guess that they're mostly not blue. Yet, people feel the need to dress up their daughters as pink princesses every moment of every day. 

But I didn't feel that strongly about it. So people like to dress up their little girls in pink; so what? 

But as it turns out, it doesn't end there. It's not just frilly pink tutus parents of girls are expected to buy; it's pink everything. Pink carseats. Pink crib bedding. Pink bath towels. And the worst part? The bottles. Yes, the very bottles your baby will drink from must either be pink or blue. Why?? This makes absolutely no sense to me. 

It's not just a practicality issue (that if/when I have a boy, I'll be able to use this stuff again). What I don't understand is why, from their infancy, we have to divide everything our children use by gender. 

Don't get me wrong--I believe firmly in gender differences, and I believe women should be proud of our femininity. But I don't know that buying pink bottles for our daughters is the way to go. A color doesn't teach someone true femininity and womanhood. Being a woman isn't about being pretty in pink all the time. It's about finding power in our inborn feminine traits and using that power as a force for good in the world. 

What does pink mean in our culture? Think about it--if you knew a woman who wore pink every single day, what would you think about her? Possibly pretty, ditzy, delicate, perky, ignorant. (Think "Legally Blonde"?) I'm not saying pink is totally defined by this kind of image, but if we didn't have certain ideas surrounding pink in our culture, then it wouldn't be such a "girly" color. 

Like I said, I have nothing against pink. Ultimately, it's just a color, and it'll help strangers know what gender my baby is for the first year or so. I'm happy to dress my daughter to look feminine and cute. But at some point, I want her to realize that femininity is about more than just being pretty and cute--I want her to see beyond the pink. And if I want her to see beyond the pink, then I probably shouldn't smother her with it.