(Why #ThrowbackThursday? Because this piece originally appeared on my previous blog www.grrrlwithboys.blogspot.com on March 22, 2013.)
My 3 year old son’s favorite color is pink. This naturally occurred with no prompting from me. I introduced him to all the colors and he decided for himself that pink is what he likes best. I personally don’t like pink because of all the stereotypes that go along with it for girls/women. However, if a child, either male or female, likes chooses pink as their favorite color after always having access to all the colors then that is fine by me. So, when Jackson said “PINK!” was his favorite I didn’t make a big deal of it.
When Jackson was 1 we took him to buy a sun hat for the beach/pool. There were several on the rack and when asked he said he wanted the one with pink on it and then the blue one with fish. My husband and I looked at each other trying to decide what to do. We didn’t want to push him one way or the other. However, we chickened out and gave in to the gender stereotypes. I guess we were a little worried about what people would say. (Yes, I know that is opposite of what I “preach”.) We love him so dearly and don’t want anyone to make fun of him. We asked him again which hat he wanted and this time he said the fish hat so we went with that and got the hell out of the store. Amateur mistake, but he’s not scarred for life.
When he was 2 I took him shopping for sandals. He spotted pink Crocs on the wall at the end of the isle and announced to all of Target that he wanted the pink shoes. You bet your ass I bought them for him. That’s what he wanted and he needed shoes. Plus I was more confident this time that pink really was his favorite color and I was not about to make him feel bad about that. He wore them proudly everywhere he went. We did have one of the neighbor kids ask if he was a boy or a girl when he was playing outside in his Crocs. My husband just said “boy” and the kid said something like “oh I wasn’t sure because of his shoes”. What a dumb ass thing to say. Is that how you figure out someone’s gender? Their shoes color? That’s what I would have liked to have said if I were there. But even if I was, I am perpetually too nice to people and wouldn’t have dared. Plus, he was just a kid and I seriously doubt his parents would have bought him pink shoes. Not his fault.
This is the only thing that worries us about letting Jackson do something that bucks stereotypes. He’s such a kind soul and wants to be friends with everyone. I have a feeling I’m going to want to kick a lot of people’s asses in the future. Unless, of course, if we can break out of these stereotype boxes and start letting kids be who they want and not who we tell them they should be.
The other day I took Jackson with me to get myself some new pants. While we were walking through the store we spotted bathing suits in the boys section. He’s getting close to growing out of his black trunks with sharks on them so I decided to see what they had. He said (in the most adorable little voice possible) “I want pink swim trunks because pink is my favorite color!” So, we looked at what they had. He passed over Thomas (who he loves), Sponge Bob (who he wants to like but I won’t let him watch yet), and Angry Birds (which he’s seen his daddy play on his phone). I really thought he would be side-tracked by the Thomas trunks but he wasn’t having it.
So we’re on the hunt for a pair of boys swim trunks in pink. Any suggestions? So far the only one’s I’ve found were $30 and I’m not about to spend that on those tiny little shorts.