Ruminations on the color Pink

I have been thinking a lot about the color pink.

When I was a little girl I don’t believe I wore that much of it (parents, correct me if I’m wrong.) My favorite tutu was either blue or purple, and I seemed to wear a fair amount of yellow and blue (based on photos.) Even as a teenager in my various phases, including my babydoll phase, I favored blue. And I think my goth phases speaks for itself. I think I was always turned off by pink as too “girly” or too closely related to princesses.

However, near the end of college, as I discovered my queer self, and as a femme-ish presenting queer person, I began to reclaim pink. The best and boldest being this jacket that I bought with a friend at the outlet malls soon after moving to Boston.

I mean, what is gayer than that? I know that pink is historically representative of queerness but I don’t know my gay history well enough to know why.

Anyway, I grew to love pink and now I wear it a lot. When I say pink I do not mean pastel pink, I mean that bright almost fuchsia pink. In fact, I love pink so much and believe in the power of its gayness that we got married in it:

(Note the pink tie)…

So we love pink in our household.

Enter a baby girl.

What do we do now?!?!

Anytime she is wearing anything other than pink or purple, people think she is a boy. Which doesn’t matter. But it is that limiting that makes pink such a turn off now. What is boyish about yellow? or green and blue for that matter? And the bigger question, if we had a boy, would we put him in pink the way we put her in green? I don’t want to put her in pink because people think she should wear pink. That pink is what makes her cute or beautiful. I want to put her in pink because it is awesome and fabulous and gay. But the outside world doesn’t know our intent when we put her in pink. So it is a constant exercise in intentionality when choosing what to put her in every morning.

We have found a few choice items, though, such as this pink stripped outfit:

Once she is old enough to decide that she wants (or doesn’t want) to wear pink, then we will let her decide. But until then we have to figure out that delicate balance of pink or no pink, and just the right kind of pink….

Follow up blog posts yet to be written: Masculine and feminine in a two mom household, thoughts on pretty things, and “is that a boy or a girl?”



7 comments on “Ruminations on the color Pink

  1. char says:

    I like the “we will approve the pink” standpoint we have been taking with the baby. I enjoy buying her wicked gay pink stuff but, find myself annoyed when other people buy her pink “because it’s so cute”. I think we just need to find a way to advocate for our family more. I’m so happy you started this blog.

  2. allisonjf says:

    I struggle with the same things. We had so much pink clothing for Maya after the baby shower that the lint in the dryer was all pink. And it was bought not because it is people’s favorite colors, but because it is what they feel they are “supposed” to buy for a girl. It made me so uncomfortable. But in the end, we put her in the pink clothing because it is there and quite frankly, I want to send the message to Maya that I don’t really care what she wears.

    I think what’s more important is how you talk to your baby about color and gender. Even more important I think is how you compliment her. There was a post several months back on JPmoms about how to talk to girls. It has made me more conscious of the things that I say, and I am finding it hard to turn off the immediate “you are so cute” comments, especially to young girls. Anyway, I think you should buy clothing you like for her.

    • rachhs2 says:

      Good point! It is true, in the end the important message is that what she wears or how she looks doesn’t matter, it is her brilliance that is important. I read that article. It was wonderful and so hard to turn off!

  3. Jen says:

    This one comes up a lot for me, having a boy and a girl. With mostly female cousins, our kids have gotten a TON of pink hand me downs. When our son was a baby, we occasionally put him in mildly pink things, but often (not sure why) felt a little funny about it… he rarely got mistaken for a girl though. Now, at almost 3, pink is his self-proclaimed favorite color! Love that. But will I love it in a year and a half, if our daughter decides it’s HER favorite color? Probably not… not that I’ll let her know! Talk about a reverse double standard!

    Right now I find myself struggling with the whole “do I care if people think she’s a boy today, because she’s not wearing a stitch of pink or a dress?” and sometimes end up giving her something pink or flowery to wear, just to not have to freakin think about it.

    Someone somewhere was recently lamenting the loss of the gender-neutral 70s and early 80s, and it got me thinking about how much things have changed since I was little… looking back at class photos, yes, the girls were often wearing dresses, but nearly everyone, male and female, had some version of a bowl haircut and the color palette was muted rainbow, tan, brown, dark orange.

    • rachhs2 says:

      Thanks for your thoughts. I love that his favorite color is pink. As we would say in this house, how fabulously gay! I want to write about that question of what to do when people ask or mis-gender your child. Stay tuned!

  4. mccoy says:

    Re: what to do when people ask or mis-gender your child. I was at a doctor’s appointment for me and Maya was about 2 months old. A nurse asked if she was a boy or a girl. She was wearing bright yellow and green with some fabulous big green and white flowered pants. I said she’s a girl and the nurse’s immediate response in an almost accusatory tone was, “Oh, how come she’s not wearing pink?” I was taken aback and just said the first thing that came to my mind which was, “Because I hate pink.” That ended that conversation.
    I’m looking forward to when Maya can choose what she wants to wear and who she is.

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