Pretty In Pink

Pretty In Pink

Don’t my two look pretty in pink? I  know but I digress. This isn’t a post about their toddler fashion no matter how on point, or on fleek it may be.

More a collection of thoughts in response to THAT news story, you know the one. The one where a Canadian parent, Doty, has hit headlines for register their child’s gender  as U, U for unspecified or undetermined gender. Ok then let’s just take a minute here… Right, now, to be clear, as tolerance and open-mindedness goes I am, without doubt (and to my mind) one of THE most tolerant people going. Live and let live. I did once watch a documentary on channel 4 called The Secrets Of The Living Dolls… I mean did you see it? It did almost get me questioning just how laid back I was but as always I fell upon my mantra to live and let live.

secret of the living dolls

‘A living doll…’

Anyway I digress once again. I am not hear to criticise said parent, it is a free world but I do wonder about their decision. I have a very close relative who has Gender Dysphoria I am not ashamed of it, far from it. I encourage it. Nobody should spend a life trapped in a body they do not know or recognise. If said person want’s to come to a gathering in a skirt over shorts I could not care less. Life should be about happiness not conformity. However from my understanding getting to this place is a process a person goes through over their life. Through the already difficult years of growing up. It is not decided over night, it is for many a long journey that takes a lot of working through. It is not decided upon easily. It is reached by not identifying or understanding  the body or sex you have. It is a very personal experience and  a decision for an individual to make, not a parent or anyone else. It is also, actually, extremely rare. Is it fair to put such a pressure on a young mind. I don’t know. It also strikes me as a little concerning that their parent does not identify with any gender and I can’t help put wonder how much of this is personal issues being placed upon their child.

I am not saying as parents we shouldn’t be conscious of the potential for such situations to develop in our children or those we might know or that we shouldn’t be conscious of gender stereotyping in general.
In fact I think it’s fair to say that parents are ever more conscious of gender stereotyping in today’s world. I have read countless posts and articles from parents who give their children gender neutral toys, are happy when their daughter chooses the work bench over the kitchen at playgroup or shuns pink. I get it and I am not averse to this. Any steps toward a more gender equal society are to be applauded.

But.

But I can’t help but have a niggle at the back of my head too, my daughter loves pink. It is her favourite colour, like her mum. She loves to wear a ‘pippy dress’ and ‘pippy shoes’  (that’s pretty, if you’re unsure). She loves playing with her dolls and takes her baby to bed and kisses it goodnight. She is emulating her mother as that is what she has seen me do in her little life. Equally I might add, so does my boy. If Zara is playing with a doll, so will he. If she is playing toy kitchens, so is he. If she wants me to ‘do her make up’ (after watching me do mine) then so does he. (Incidentally they also both love cars, playing in them, ‘driving’ them, pushing them. Their father works with cars and I can’t help but feel they are emulating him on this one. )

Zara with her baby

I am however almost made to feel that in solidarity for sisterhood this is not cool and that she should be disregarding this typically feminine style in favour of something more neutral or even masculine.

Frankly, I think this is bollocks. I couldn’t care less that my daughter likes pink or plays with her dolls. A colour is a colour and a toy is a toy, especially at 2. I equally couldn’t care less that my boy likes to do the same thing. Growing up I loved playing with my Barbie dolls, dressing them and cutting their hair as much as I loved playing on my bike, skateboard and running in the field behind my house playing army. What gender these activity ‘suited’ most was never in issue.

There are enough toys in our house to rival Smyths, from dolls to trains. They can both play with whatever the heck they like. I don’t think that is an uncommon position of many parents these days.
What I won’t stand for however is me or my children, or any child, harbouring negativity from others over their choices to be so say ‘stereotypical’. I will be and am proud of her for being maternal with her dolls and loving pink just like I am when she wants to play cars. I am not any more or any less proud whether she chooses pink or blue. The same stands for my son.

Toby in a dress
For me it all about choice and allowing them to explore and make their own mind up, in their own time. I suspect this is exactly the point Doty is trying to make. Whether you agree with the means or not.
Everyone in this world is different (and thank god), everyone has a different opinion and preference to certain things in life. I think the key is to all appreciate those differences whether that difference means you like heels when you ‘shouldn’t’ or whether you want to wear heels when you ‘should’. Male, Female, pink, blue or rainbow bloody coloured, who cares, live and let live.

What about you? What do you think about the decision to raise your child under the classification U? What do you think about stereotypical girl and boy things? Do you care? Do you subscribe to gender neutral parenting? I’d love to hear from you.

 

The problems with being pretty in pink. From gender neutral toys to gender specific or stereotypical toys, colours and clothes. Do You subscribe to gender neutral parenting.

Mummuddlingthrough
Follow:

17 Comments

  1. July 19, 2017 / 6:01 am

    I think kids should play with whatever whey want, regardless of whether it’s a ‘boys’ or ‘girls’ toy. There’s nothing wrong with pink, but it drives me crazy that all of the pink toys are ones typically associated with girls – dolls, princess things, domestic items. This makes girls think that’s all they can do – and boys think it’s not for them. Boys should feel like they can have those things too, if they want them. If not, cool. It’s all about presenting them with a genuine choice. #FamilyFun

  2. July 19, 2017 / 11:17 am

    I want my daughter to know everything is available to her and she can choose what she wishes. I want her to be free of stereotypes, which will be hard. I’m not sure about registering your child as U. It seems to be making something complicated. There maybe no need for it. #FamilyFunLinky

  3. July 19, 2017 / 5:21 pm

    I am totally with you on this one, I used to child. Mind a little boy who always chose a pink tutu from the dressing up box to wear, no problem he was playing dress up , just like any child

  4. July 19, 2017 / 6:07 pm

    Registering as U does seem a bit far in my opinion. After all. We are born with either male or female reproductive organs. Surely that’s what determines what we are in a physical sense. No one is saying from the outset that it will always be that way. Growing up and discovering ourselves is part of the journey. Surely being classified as U will confuse matters when it may not even be necessary?! Like you say, a lot of pressure for a young child. As for toys. It annoys me when people say to my son ‘that’s a girls toy’. I soon tell them that he can play with what he likes be it pink, blue, whatever. As long as he is happy then so am I. Great post. #familyfun

  5. July 20, 2017 / 1:07 am

    Love it. My daughter was just saying today that she likes being a princess. Said while wearing a boys Ninja Turtles shirt that she had to have and playing with a Spider Man action figure. I never want her to feel pressured to like anything just because its ‘girly”. That being said, she is a girl and knows she’s a girl. I do think that there comes a point where it can get ridiculous. #familyfun

  6. July 20, 2017 / 8:31 am

    I love your parenting standpoint. I always let mine choose and explore as they learnt through play. We have pictures of my son in a pink tutu. Yes that will make an appearance at his 18th birthday amongst his rugby friends. In all fairness the rugby crowd are the worse – they will probably all be there in tutus anyway! Great post as always #FamilyFun

  7. July 20, 2017 / 11:56 am

    I think ‘U’ might be taking things a bit far. There is nothing wrong with being a particular gender and by not declaring it, it feels like it is something to hide or that it is a big issue. As you say, I think its far more important that the child gets to play and explore their own preferences, whatever they might be, without it being raised as an ‘issue’ at all.

  8. July 20, 2017 / 6:56 pm

    Sounds like I stand in the same place as you – my youngest has recently started requesting the pink plate and rejecting the blue one because ‘I’m a girl’. My reaction is to explain calmly each time that boys can like pink and girls can like blue. I don’t encourage gender specific play but I don’t lose any sleep over it either! I’ll always correct the kids if they make a crazy sexist comment (like girls can’t drive racing cars), but ultimately my daughter used to refuse to wear anything other than a pretty dress – fast forward two years and she’s now playing Saturday morning football… they’re kids and if they’re happy, I’m happy. Think that lady sounds like she’s taking it a step too far!

    Thanks for sharing with #coolmumclub…

  9. July 20, 2017 / 11:20 pm

    Interesting post. Not sure what I think to be honest – tend to like folks to live their own lives their own way so long as they are not hurting others. Daughter adored pink for years and years and then hated it with a passion moving on to purple and my teen boy is quite happy to still wear pink so who knows – here’s to individuals

  10. July 21, 2017 / 1:03 pm

    As long as they are happy it doesn’t matter to me!!!

    #familyfun

  11. July 22, 2017 / 5:29 am

    Personally I don’t get the gender U thing, you can’t fight stereotyping and labels by giving yourself another label. We seem to have labels for everything these days, and guess what, we’re not clothes. We are individuals, unique, and that’s to be celebrated. We should just be who we are regardless of gender and stereotypes, that’s the way forward, not yet more labels. My daughter’s favourite colour is pink and she loves princesses and dancing. She also loves being a pirate, playing cars, climbing everything in sight. My son’s favourite colour has changed over the years from red to green to black (but never blue). He loves cars, building, video games and creating his own stories. All of these things have nothing to do with gender stereotypes, it’s just kids following what they like and do. When they are young they have no concept of these stereotypes and are happy just being themselves, if only that could continue.
    #FamilyFunLinky

  12. July 22, 2017 / 7:38 am

    I always try and be a bit gender neutral so as not to influence him that much but he’s a boy and loves his wheels and things. He’s got a maternal side though and I’m often shoved a teddy or two to breastfeed from time to time. Specifying U is a bit daft in my opinion, but love the philosophy of live and let live. Ff

  13. July 22, 2017 / 9:49 pm

    I think identity needs a gender basis but that doesn’t mean it is set in stone. My daughter loves pinks but always wants to join in games with her brothers #familyfun

  14. July 23, 2017 / 12:05 pm

    Unless you are born of two genders I think it makes sense to write down one or the other. We are all unique and thank goodness we are for life would be pretty boring otherwise. #FamilyFunLinky

  15. July 23, 2017 / 7:11 pm

    Sarah this is brilliant. I am as laid back and open minded as they come. I am definetly with you on the live and let live. But, saying that, not defining a gender a birth is a little bit extreme isn’t it. Molly can be whatever or whoever she wants to be, I will be there with her, riding along and supporting her and her choices indefinitely, until my last breath. I will never tell her who she is or should be or anything like that because it is her journey to take. Likes your two children, Molly loves pink and being a princess, but she loves trains, cars and fixing things with her tools just like daddy. She is who she is, as are we all. Loved this post. #familyfun

  16. July 25, 2017 / 1:20 pm

    I started out buying everything in primary colours but BB naturally and inevitably started loving pink – I don’t care & think we shouldn’t read so much into it #familyfunlinky

  17. July 25, 2017 / 6:35 pm

    Woah, I’d not heard that story but yeah.. I don’t know, a bit weird to me. Like you say, let the kid figure out what they are/want to be by themselves. I think it’s more confusing to make it U from the start! As for gender stuff, I don’t really care that much – at the moment – but that’s because I’m not affected by it in any way. My daughter is I suppose quite girly but I’m fine with that. No one’s made me feel bad for it and if she suddenly wants to talk trucks all day then that will be fine too. At the end of the day they’re only children and they should be happy and comfortable in their own skin xx #FamilyFun