Saturday, July 21, 2012

Gender neutral? (photo heavy!)

When I had Aesop, I dressed him in whatever clothes we were given. I was young, we didn't have much money, and I was only really getting into my sewing groove. He wore a lot of overalls and t-shirts with slogans like 'I can dig it' (with a digger underneath, of course).

Otto was a bit different. Four and a half years later, and I decided I was going to dress him however I wanted and that was that. He wore a lot of bright colours, a lot of woollens.. the majority of his clothing was what I would consider to be 'gender neutral'.

Then along came Mollie.
|Since we didn't find out what we were expecting, I sorted the clothes into three piles: girl, boy and gender neutral. I was surprised to find I put nearly everything into the last pile. Everyone said I would change my mind if I had a girl, and give in to the pink.
I must say, Mollie does wear a little bit of pink. I think it's a combination of that being the colour of a lot of the hand me downs, and of me wanting to girl-ify her less 'girly' outfits. (Which is something I didn;'t expect myself to want to do - I was surprised I felt the need!)
But, honestly, she mostly wears blue. It suits her. It is the colour of her eyes, afterall.
Where am I going with this?
I guess, I'm wondering why on earth we consider colours to belong to one gender or the other. Why society expects little girls to wear pink, and boys to don blue. (Actually, I've read enough to know how it came about, I just wonder why it still applies in this day and age..)
I've had so many people comment on how Mollie doesn't wear enough pink. 'Ohh she's looking a bit boyish today!', 'You know, you will have to invest in some pink clothes for her!' (from my plunket nurse?!) and 'Mollie, you just come and see me if your Mum doesn't buy you enough pink, okay?'.
What confuses me even more, is that none of these women are wearing pink themselves. They are wearing jeans and t-shirts, or shades of black, brown, blue and red. They are dressing in more 'manly' colours than they are telling me not to put Mollie in! Pah!

I started this post with a purpose, and I seem to have lost it a little. I seem to have ended up just having a little bit of a rant. But that's okay, right? I think my main point is this: assigning colours to gender is ridiculous. So, while we probably can't escape the idea completely, I will be dressing my girl in blue, tractor covered onesies one day, and a frilly pink dress the next (and putting Otto in unicorn t-shirts) for as long as I possibly can.. and no comments from 'well-meaning' others is going to change it.


  1. Nah, 'well meaning' nags who think they know best can bugger off. I've already nearly got into a fight with the op shop lady over cloth nappies (she thought I would use disposables cos she did 20 yrs ago). Like you don't know how you want to raise your child. Ignore them. And DEFINITELY ignore the plunket nurse, they say the oddest and sometimes rudest things sometimes.

  2. ah don't get me started! Andrew has a pink rocker shirt and has taken to wearing a dress up skirt out and about and I don't have a problem with that at all, but other people certainly do. I dressed Eloise in nearly every colour except pink and still do, and I got all the same comments as you - but who cares? They are kids/babies not fashion accessories as long as they are warm, does it really matter?

  3. I remember feeling a bit bummed about this too when I had my first girl after two boys. I reckon the thing with girls is that people tend to comment on their outfits waaaaaaaaaaaaaay more than when it's a boy. That seriously drove me crazy!! The hardest part was we were living with my parents at the time and mum had something to say about what she wore grrr
    I dressed Belle in baby blue cos it really suited her too and the weird thing is, I think it is a colour that looks really "girly" on boys, and I had a lady make the same comments you have had too. ugh.

  4. p.s look at all your adorable babes!!!! awwwww

  5. Lala has a lot of pink and purple - she has a lot of handme downs. We have 3 regular contributors which is lucky, you know - but pre kids I didn't rate either colour much - (barbie pink - gahhhh!), so there you are. Actually I think the prettiest colour on her is navy and also dusky rose - so when I make for her I go that way. No one says anything to me - I think you need to perfect your 'don't mess with me I'm a designer look' maybe that's the key - haha!!

  6. I have a red headed girl and barbie pink made her look terrible, so I always went for bolder colours, she still loves the bright bolder colours and shes now 6!

  7. great :) Enjoyed what you had to say but also enjoyed playing pick the baby with the photos - Aesop and Mollie look so alike (Roald swore that last picture of Aesop was in fact Mollie!) but I think Otto looks distinctly himself, at least in these pics. They are all gorgeous x

  8. Whilst watching (I don't know how this happened, please don't hold it against me! lol) Wife Swap a couple of weeks ago, I saw a little boy with long hair, who loved pink, being abused horribly by the wife swapee over his femininity. This kid was maybe nine, and came out with one of the best comments I've heard in my life. Colour doesn't have a gender. How cool is that.

    Poor Olive is stuck looking like a marshmallow quite a lot of the time as all her stuff is hand me downs - you can identify things I've made or bought by their colour scheme ;) Although this week there's a couple of packets of dylon on the shopping list, her wardrobe is getting a makeover.

    Anyway, you're awesome. So there. xx

  9. I'm with Roald on this one. I was wracking my brain trying to figure out where those photos of Aesop were taking because I thought they were Mollie ("Do we still have that elephant cushion???"). So amazing how much they look alike but yet look like themselves.

    Personally I think you do a great job with Mollie. Personally I think the neutral with a splash of girlie is working out great. You should make the most of being able to dress her because I'm sure once she's Ottos age she will have her own ideas of what she wants to wear and some of those amazing pieces you've saved for her might get ignored in favour of brothers Star Wars t-shirt and pirate pants.

    Love you bro.

  10. You know how much I agree with you here! I never stop getting comments from people about how I dress my kids. Sometimes I do the gender stereo-typed stuff (dresses, pink, flowers - overalls, shirts, blue) if I'm in the mood, but not because I think that looks better/is how it should be. Purely because I dress them in whatever takes my fancy that day. Some days you could easily mistake E for a boy - I even dress her in the hand-me-downs of my friend's sons, and I often add a touch of pink/purple (only pieces that I like though, few and far between in these two colours) to Garland's outfits. *Shrug*. As far as I'm concerned, they are cutie patooties and I don't care what colour they're wearing! (as are your scrumptious babies)