25 January 2009

What your favourite colour?

Whenever I hear about people having babies, I cringe inside. As much as I love a baby and cute baby gear, I just know what's about to happen. A boy is about to be stuffed into all kinds of mini sports uniforms (with the odd exception) and camo gear. Girls get frilly dresses, and flowers. Little boys are rugged; little girls are cutesy.

And here's what's wrong with that.

I like clothes. I like clothes that I look good in. I like my clothing to be a variety of colours, but the colour I have in my wardrobe more than any other? Blue. Ask my female friends what their favourite colour is. A lot of them will say blue. Although hardly a scientific method, when my friends make a Mii on my Wii, most of them will pick one of the blues for their clothing when it comes time to pick.

I highly doubt that this is some kind of rebellious reaction to having pink forced on us as toddlers. Quite the opposite -- I think it's free choice after having been exposed to a wide variety of colours.

Back in the early part of the century, I took a Women's Studies course for my undergrad. One thing that stuck with me is that the idea of blue being for boys and pink being for girls is a recent phenomenon. It used to be the opposite. Baby blue used to be for girls because blue was a colour of weakness and passivity. Baby pink was for boys because, as a shade of red, it stood for power and dominance. I don't remember when the switch was -- I think it was some time in the 40s or 50s -- but I think it easily demonstrates how arbitrary colour is when gender-assignment and babies.

I don't know how people choose their favourite colour. I don't know if it's something innate, biological, conditioned, or random. But I hope people will understand when I ask them not to inundate my kids with some determination of "gender-specific" colour. Whether or not my baby is a boy or a girl is irrelevant to strangers I encounter. I don't need to advertise what my kid is based on what it's wearing.

You don't either.

3 comments:

Brodie said...

What... is the capital of Assyria?

Kimber said...

I'm female and I like pink, in small doses, but I would never, EVER subject my unborn child to wearing it 24-7 if she happens to be a girl.

A lot of expectant parents fret about what colour to paint the baby's room, esp. if they aren't finding out the sex of their child beforehand. Well, my husband chose a beautiful sage green for our spare room before I got pregnant, and that's the colour our kid is getting, regardless of his/her gender. Green is a good colour; plus, it looks great against the pine trees that peek through the window.

Muffy St. Bernard said...

I remember about five years ago when the New Exciting Spring Colour For Females was pastel pink. Suddenly it was cool for women to wear pink again. It was simultaneously cathartic, ironic, reverse-reverse-rebellious, and "cute."

When the pink thing spilled over into a second year, I complained to a saleslady. I said I couldn't wait for the pink thing to be over, because I hated it and would never buy anything of that colour. She said "You should buy it, and then you'll like it!"

I considered this a hilariously backward symptom of corporate whoredom until I bought some shoes with pink trim, and then bought a pink outfit to go with it, and discovered that I DO look good in it, and I like it.

But now pink is verboten again. Unless it's pink leopard.