Friday, February 03, 2012

I Guess That's Why They Call It The Blues


What is it with the pink and blue thing anyway? This distinction between boy babies and girl babies? I know it never existed when I was a child and my mother kept popping out babies every few years. I remember yellow being popular and blue for all babies. And baby gear being gender neutral (rompers for all!). And my baby sister being dressed in navy and my own babies in black and white. And my daughter making up her daughter's nursery in all the colours of the rainbow. Dramatic, true colours and not pastels. As I did mine, in my time, in brilliant turquoise and emerald green.

I was mulling over these thoughts after a friend told me it was important to know the future grandchild's gender for "decorating and clothing" reasons. Whut? What can one respond as this thinking is so prevalent and I'm getting a little tired of the lone voice crying in the wilderness thing. Girls are still soft and fluffy and delicate and need to be pink-cushioned and sugared and spicied?

Are we so regressive? I was relieved and validated, therefore, to find this excellent post today in Sociological Images.

And am I alone in thinking this early colour sorting has an effect on the babies themselves - studies have shown that people react differently to babies. Pink babies are held, talked to and cuddled more, blue babies are not. Early conditioning. Not a good thing for the lonely little boy baby and his future emotional availability.

10 comments:

  1. I'm with you re bright colours. One of my earliest memories is being dressed in a red "siren suit" - like a modern baby's sleep suit but without the feet. This was during the war in London.

    Colours are known to affect adults' mood and I can't see how it would be any different for little people as soon as they can see.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Now I know where I went wrong with Elly. Her room was very non nursery and in shades of green. A bedside locker that I covered in a patchwork type fabric now resides beside her bed in her own home. I was not allowed to recover it!

    My all time failure, that is constantly rubbed in my face, is the scratchy (wool) dress I 'made' her wear when she was about four! :)

    ReplyDelete
  3. It's depressing that gender-based treatment of kids seems to be making a resurgence. It's as if parents are terrified of letting their children just be who they want to be, and feel that if they don't push them into appropriately gendered behaviour they'll have a mental breakdown.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I knew of the gender-based clothing options when my kids were born but because ready-made clothes were expensive, I made their rompers out of any color cloth that was on sale. In the late 60s when the three oldest were born, bright primary colors were the norm for toys. By the mid-70s, when my youngest daughter was three, all four kids were learning to use hatchets to limb trees as we were building our own log cabin in the woods. If I recall, she wore a pink hat for that but it didn't mean anything more than a way to keep her ears warm. None of my grandchildren are dressed in exclusively "boy and girl" colors. In fact, the oldest girl, S, hates pink. I didn't know babies dressed in blue were cuddled less - wonder how that study was done.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Now I know why I am not talked to and cuddled!

    ReplyDelete
  6. If what you say in your last paragraph is true, that's downright horrifying.

    As for the pink/blue thing and gender stereotyping, have you not surfed blogland and found all those excruciating blogs where women's description of themselves is as 'wife and mother' first?

    ReplyDelete
  7. I cringe every time I see a young girl ride by on a pink bike with bright pink accessories. Or when I see couples of which the man clearly has the male car and she has the little bright colored female edition. Horrid!

    ReplyDelete
  8. You're not alone. I think the labeling does have an effect on kids. I remember how adamant I was about gender neutral baby stuff for my first daughter, but then we had a second and I somewhat gave up because EVERYTHING for little girls seems to be pink. And they all seem to say their favorite color is too. Now that my girls are older (3 and 6) I am thrilled that their self-proclaimed favorite colors are bright blue and bright red.

    ReplyDelete
  9. The pink/blue thing is probably at the root of that ridiculous "Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus" meme. It irritates me no end and does nothing bue a power of harm to all who believe it! People are people are people. Babies are babies are babies. ;-)

    ReplyDelete
  10. I went green and orange for number one. Kept me happy anyway - regardless of what others thought.

    www.blackwatertown.wordpress.com

    ReplyDelete

Some of you are having trouble, I've removed captcha and verification so we'll see how that goes. My apologies. Blogger is putting up far too many roadblocks. Thanks for the emails alerting me.
wisewebwomanatgmail.com