Pink + Blue
Unicorns + Dump Trucks
Tutus + Capes
Children's lives are gendered from before they are born. A walk through any baby supply store will show you how segregated little boys things are from little girls. And when we cross that arbitrary societal line? Our choices as parents are called in to question. Our children are made fun of. We are told again that 'pink is a girl's color'.
I refuse to buy in to this narrative. Refuse to be a part of the problem that forces little girls and boys to give up their creativity and their genuine pure interests in exchange for fitting some societal norm that we've created. From toys to clothing to tiny pint-sized kitchen utensils - we are forced to choose in which camp to place our children. Blue or pink? The choice will last a lifetime.
But what if we didn't choose? What if we refused to segregate our children based on gender? I think we can all agree there's enough that divides us in this country - in this world - and we could all use with a little more togetherness. Last week I shared on my Facebook page THIS ARTICLE about gendered clothing and where to find neutral pieces from Reading My Tea Leaves and this week a friend shared a story on Instagram about her boys being teased because of their nail polish and it makes my heart hurt.
If you think the separation of 'girls' and 'boys' sections is harmless or preparing kids for the real world then we need to have a separate conversation about privilege and a male dominated world. But this is not that conversation. You can start that with THIS ARTICLE from The Atlantic.
I realized I have bought in to this notion of gendered clothing. Just by simply shopping at big box stores *ahem Target* where the clothing sections are segregated shows my children that there's a difference between 'girl clothes' and 'boy clothes'. I realized that I have been a piece of the problem.
The answer, then, is to stop. Cease shopping at these places that insist on segregating by gender and choosing more thoughtfully the pieces I purchase for my children. I am lucky in this - non gendered clothing tends to be a bit more expensive due to it's being not in the mainstream - but my children are all very close in size. A 4t-5t sweatshirt from ARQ will fit William comfortably and be cozy and baggy on Charlotte and Theodore. One sweatshirt for 3 kids. I already work hard to keep their wardrobes to a minimum and this is a step further in that direction. I feel so much freedom thinking about dressing the new baby. So far we've acquired a handful of basic white onesies, a grey bodysuit from ARQ, and a teal layette from Solly Baby. It's freeing not knowing the gender of this baby and being forced to shop thoughtfully and non-gendered. I'll purchase something pink as well in the coming months but keep everything mostly in the greys, mustards, and burnt orange shades.
I may not be able to choose their clothing forever. But I can make sure that while I still hold that job, their clothes and toys will not reflect a gendered agenda but rather their own personal style, preferences and creativity. Even if strangers at the grocery comment on how beautiful my little girl's (William) curly hair is or how blonde my little boy's (Charlotte) is. Let them make that mistake and I'll gently correct their misconception and move on with our day. (Teddy goes without clothes as often as he can get away with it)