Sunday, February 08, 2015

I don't think pink!

One of my good friends is having a baby in March. That baby happens to a be a girl.

Can I just say, it was really disturbing to find out how gendered - or rather, gender stereotyped - the shopping experience is for a baby-to-be!

First off - every online baby clothes and accessories store or site I've been two is segregated. There are things for "baby girls" and things for "baby boys." Guess what colors they are?

Refusing to jump on the gender train, I have ordered what I thought she/her kid would like.

My most recent online receipt looks like this:

Thank you for shopping with us. You ordered "Magnificent Baby Baby-Boys..." and 3 other items. We’ll send a confirmation when your items ship. 

So a gray hat = a boy, of course. So does anything blue, green, or yellow. Anything pink or purple is a "girl baby" item.

Fuck this shit!
My friend texted me: "I wonder if my daughter will grow a penis because she's going to wear a gray hat."
I wrote back: "Maybe if I get a blue one, she'll grow balls!"

Then there are - apparently - baby headbands. I was stunned when my friend shared this news.

Me: "Why would a baby need a headband?"
Friend: "They don't. It's just in case - gasp! - no one can tell if it's a boy or a girl."

So right from birth we go on and on with the gender imprinting - or the imprinting of how we define gender - and the fact that we're sending kids the message straight from birth that their genitalia (as opposed to their brain or their personality) defines who they are, or who they are supposed to be. This is distressing for so many reasons, I don't even have enough space to write down all of my thoughts on it.

Have we gone backwards since the 1970s and 1980s? Apparently. Because my clothes (which weren't pink, by the way) were saved as hand-me-downs for my brother N and my male cousin A, and no one blinked. My brother played dress up in an amethyst necklace that was my mother's, and all that occurred to me was to be jealous.

You can be damn sure my parents didn't make me wear a headband.


Anonymous said...

I have to admit that when my daughter was born I LOVED dressing her in pink and anything with ruffles. Now? I know she owns a dress or two but I have never seen her actually wear them. And she wears black. Always black.

Abby said...

This is so true. Back in my preggar days, I never cared to know the sex of our babies because - what difference did it make?!? Others would tell me, "but don't you want to know how to plan?"
Yes, I planned for a baby human.

Like you, " I don't even have enough space to write down all of my thoughts on it."

Elephant's Child said...

Sigh. We haven't improved much. I wasn't dressed in pink (fortunately) but I was sent home from kindergarten FFS for being improperly dressed. Middle of winter, and my mama sent me in trousers. Wrong it seems. So I stayed home until they relented. My mama did not like being crossed.
I wimp out of buying clothes for chillun and go the toy route (mobiles and the like for new borns). Carefully gender neutral toys. And that isn't easy either.

Debra She Who Seeks said...

The short answer is -- yes, we have gone backwards since the 1970s and 1980s. Gender stereotyping is back, it's more pronounced than ever, and no one seems perturbed by it in the least except for crusty old misguided feminists from a bygone era. And for gawd's sake, whatever you do, don't go into a toy section these days. It's even WORSE.

A Beer For The Shower said...

It really has gone backwards. I guess people were too sick of their baby girl, with short hair, wearing something like blue or gray and having a stranger say, "Awww, isn't he cute?"

My general tip? Don't talk to strange people about their babies. They probably don't want you to fucking talk to them anyway. Yes, they're cute. You want one? Shut up and make your own.

Blue Grumpster said...

Fuck this shit. Amen to that.

Rock Chef said...

Yes, I think things have got worse. When we had out kids the majority of new born stuff was generic, OK for any gender you could imagine. There were frilly dresses for girls, but as these were totally impractical you can count these out anyway.

Like a lot of things, babies are now big business - yes, buy your newborn some designer trainers and a leather jacket! Refuse? You are a terrible parent and your child will hate you for ever!

Charles Gramlich said...

Never wore a headband either, but that's cause I would have associated them with disco music. "Egads!"

CraveCute said...

Sometimes the headbands are on because the baby has no hair!

Lady Lilith said...

Lol. I used to put my girls in blue pajamas. They were labeled boys but I like pale blue.

Ragdoll Mommy said...

I have never had kids. But as a child (and adult) I hardly ever wore pink, except as a baby. I like blues, greens, purple, black, white, etc.

Lee said...

Where do I begin....

I think those head bands for bubs look silly...just my opinion.

I've nothing against colours...all colours for babies are good. I wasn't dressed in pink all the time...I'm not sure if I was ever dressed in pink...but I still played with and loved my dolls. I also play cowboys and indians, too.

G. B. Miller said...

I have no public comment at this time, which as you know, is an event that is seldom seem (if ever) on your blog or elsewhere for that matter.

Linda said...

I am torn. I loved pink on my two girls when they were little. But, they wore all colors when I still selected their clothing. Yes, the pink gets to me.

Did you know that before WWI pink was considered too strong for girls, so boys wore the bold pastel pink? Blue was a delicate color that boys did not wear, just girls.

Sears, Roebuck sold pink for girls and blue for boys as a means of increasing sales. After all, if you had a girl first and then a boy, you would not want that boy wearing blue hand-me-downs if blue is a girl color.

Yes, I am one of those crusty old feminists. AND?

By the way, pink is my favorite color to wear. (and red) No, my mother thought blue looked best with my dark complexion, dark even as a baby. I tanned as a baby.

The girls' aisle absolutely glowed a lurid pink at Christmas in Walmart.

Vanessa Morgan said...

I hardly ever shop for baby clothes, but I suppose it must be the same here in Belgium. I must admit I don't usually like pink on men (babies are an exception) ;-)

Granny Annie said...

My mind drifts to the experiment I saw on television once. A mother is seated behind a glass partition. She places her toddler daughter on the other side of the partition and when the child realizes she cannot get to her mother, she sits down and begins to cry. Another mother with a toddler son does the same thing and when the boy realizes he cannot get to his mother he immediately begins to examine the glass and check the corners and look for a way out. Guess which child got out first. Yep the crying girl. Smart kid.

Dexter Klemperer said...

I'm not sure I have an opinion on this other than headbands are stupid. My grand-nephew was born last month. At a week old they had him dressed in some camouflage clothing like his crib was a deer blind. So I'm more annoyed that they're probably shopping for guns for him already than how he is dressed.

Lynn said...

Funny - but my niece didn't want anything pink for her baby daughter, my great niece Mina. She scoured the earth for clothing that wasn't pastel - a little more easily found in NYC than in Georgia. One of her favorites was a brown onesie from Baby Soy:

However - Mina, much to my niece's chagrin, LOVES pink clothes. And anything resembling a fairy costume. Go figure. :)

agg79 said...

How about Camouflage? I know a few girls who sport RealTree gear.

When our kid was born (back in the stone ages), we went with supposedly gender neutral colors - yellow, green. Still, you have to start indoctrinating the heathens early.

LL Cool Joe said...

Tell me about it. (((((((oo)))))))))