Let me make this much clear. I am throwing no shade at the parents who adore the pink and blue. The bedrooms adorned with teddies, and bunny rabbits, and the outfits that let you know exactly what that baby is.
But they’re not letting you know WHO that baby is.
And you know what? THAT BABY ISN’T ANYONE YET. IT IS A BABY.
I have inherited a travel system from my mum. My youngest sister is only 7, so it’s a modern design, operates amazingly, and we’ve just saved literally hundreds of pounds. It’s a sort of plum colour all over, and the lining is quite a bright pink/purple colour.
Now let’s say I have a boy. A little boy, being pushed around in this pink/purple buggy. How do you feel about this when you comment on how cute my daughter is, and I laugh and say “oops, that’s actually my son!”? Is it awkward for you, because you made an assumption, or do you feel sorry for my child who will now obviously, OF COURSE, grow up confused?
*massive sarcastic Tina Fey eye roll gif moment at the people who believe the above*
Should I refuse the buggy, because it is a ‘girls colour’? Fuck no. If the baby turns out to be a girl, should I switch to something more gender neutral so as to avoid the pink? Also no.
A baby is a baby. It doesn’t care what it wears, or what it travels in. Also, there are no such things as boys colours and girls colours. And if there are, it’s because we keep reinforcing the idea that there is.
I personally hate the colour baby blue. I hate baby pink as well, but baby blue holds a special pocket of hate in my heart. If this baby does indeed turn out to be a boy, baby blue is highly unlikely to feature in their wardrobe. I love fashion, and I love design, so baby items and clothes are important to me. I know what I like, and until it starts making its own choices, I’m afraid it will be reliant on mine. I don't want clothes as gifts, or nursery decor. Let me enjoy this. Let me make these choices for my child so I don’t have to hurt your feelings. It’s important to me, and that’s that.
You might be thinking, Melissa, chill the fuck out, it’s just clothes, and it’s just colours. But it isn’t. I started clothes shopping around the 18 week mark, and for some reason the ‘I love mummy’ clothes seem to be almost exclusively for girls, and the ‘Daddy’s little Monster’ in an array of blue tones (this was in Primark, but it isn’t *much* better elsewhere on the high street) So already, if we’re using clothes to convey messages about our children now, we’re going to have to buy from both the boys and the girls sides? This also goes hand in hand with comments- ‘oh, he’ll be a nerd, just like daddy’ or ‘oh she’ll have mum’s ballet shoes to grow into’. I HOPE if I have a boy he’ll be a dancer, and if I have a daughter and she wants a room full of action figures like her father? Well, more fool her- but that will be her decision to make. Nobody else's.
We don’t make carbon copies of ourselves. We don't raise them to edit out the parts of ourselves we wish we could change, that's too much pressure. We are not our parents. Our sons are not their fathers just because they are boys, and our daughters are not their mothers just because they are girls. If both parents slept well as babies, the product of them could scream throughout the night. A giant father could equal a giant daughter, and a small mother could equal a small boy. OR NEITHER. It doesn’t have to be one or the other. Let’s say dad enjoys rap music. Mum enjoys rock music. Kid could grow up liking one or the other, liking both, liking a blend of the two or, could surprise them all, and have a penchant for K-Pop. We can’t guess at any of it, and I think that’s part of the fun. Discovering who they are as they discover it themselves.
Now, when this hypothetical boy is old enough to make his own decisions, if he decides he wants an entire wardrobe full of blue clothes? By all means, I’m not going to stifle his creative choices, at all. But until that point, I’m not going to make choices to please the people around me. I want my child to grow up thinking he can do and be anything or anyone, unencumbered by societal ideology, or what is between their legs. A boy who plays with dolls and wears princess dressing up clothes is FINE. A girl who would rather play with trucks than handbags is FINE. A boy who likes the idea of trucks is FINE, and a girl who dresses up and plays dolly tea party is FINE. They can be as fiercely ‘boy’ or ‘girl’ as they like, as long as they’re making that decision for themselves.
For me, I’m going to give them every possible opportunity in life, in play, in everything. We’ll have the hand me down princess dresses that my grandmother made, we’ll have all the toy cars that my 11 year old sister loved as a toddler, we’ll have dolls from when I was little, and we’ll even have dolls from when Robert was little-regardless of gender. If he wants long hair, sure. If she wants short hair, fine. I’ve already bought all the clothes we’ll need for the first three months, and while most of it is unisex, some of it is from the boys section, and some from the girls. And I'll do the same for the next size bracket. And the next. And the next. Until that child tells me differently. Nobody else.
And all I can say, is that when I look down at our baby in their pink leopard print leggings, and their black GunsNRoses t-shirt, in their rainbow nursery, complete with a stripe in pink and a stripe in blue painted on the wall- I won’t care what they are. They’re just going to look cool as fuck.