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Colours. How important are they?

(13 Posts)
AnotherMonkey Sat 08-Mar-14 23:05:29

I have a DS and a DD.

I tend to gravitate towards blues/greens so when I had my boy, the colours worked for me.

DD has a real mix of colour in her wardrobe. We've embraced pink but equally, we've had plenty of hmm looks from strangers who flounder because her outfit doesn't scream GIRL! This isn't through intentional challenging of gender colour stereotypes; rather I consciously choose clothes which will allow her to rough and tumble in the park as much as her older brother. They both wear dark, washable outer layers.

I feel casually proud though when we cause that confusion. And DS has only just, now he's started school, begun to comment on colour/gender (although it's rare and he still prefers the pink bowl at breakfast smile ).

And yet. I can't think of an occasion, ever, when DS has worn pink. If he asked I wouldn't stop him. And I suppose the difference is for him to wear pink, I would need to buy him actual girl stuff - I don't dress DD from the boys department.

How important do you consider this gender identity through colour to be? Does it impact on the clothes your children wear? Do you think it's different for boys and girls and how does that lie with your feminist self?

I'm not quite sure why I've been thinking about this quite so much recently!

Linguini Sun 09-Mar-14 11:23:49

Gender identity through colour only exists in Disney, shouldn't exists in the real world. Don't worry about it!

eastdulwichbedwetter Sun 09-Mar-14 16:27:50

It sounds progressive, but is asinine and superficial, and if it teaches children any lesson at all it is that outward appearances and branding is all-important.

And to be "casually proud" of any confusion illustrates a shaky sense of self. And no, yelling won't change this.

I think we are just confusing our kids with this bullshit. Do we judge books by their covers or not. They are not objects (so why do we care so much about the schmatte we stick them in?)

AnotherMonkey Sun 09-Mar-14 18:03:10

Hmm maybe my post wasn't very clear. I'm only just starting to form my own opinions on this and I'm not sure this one will be any clearer.

By 'casually proud' I suppose I mean that I was a bit of a tomboy and I like that DD is fearless and happy to get in and get a bit mucky too. Her clothes reflect this. But it's interesting that this means people are sometimes confused about whether to use 'he' or 'she'.

And I'm learning that some people do think this colour stuff is important - m&s are looking at the way they package their toys, for example.

Do I celebrate and encourage the traditionally 'feminine' characteristics in my son in the same way? Absolutely. Would I be as happy if he wanted a pink coat? I'm not sure. I find it interesting.

JodieGarberJacob Sun 09-Mar-14 18:09:49

If they sold pink boys' coats no one would bat an eyelid after a while. For a boy to wear a pink coat now it would obviously be from the 'girls' section'. What shops could do more of is just have a children's section where the genders aren't separated.

EdithWeston Sun 09-Mar-14 18:12:59

Colours per se aren't the issue. Early gender stereotyping is however a problem, and it's often an unrecognised one.

There's no need to be particularly proud of dressing DC practically. But a lot wrong with those who give you funny looks for doing so.

Goblinchild Sun 09-Mar-14 18:20:18

I don't think you'd have a problem with your DS wearing a ink coat, or a purple tutu with silver unicorns.
The problems come when you ant your children to be happy and secure, and you don't want them taunted and teased by random strangers, or judged by less aware friends and relatives. It's a lot easier for a girl to be accepted as a tomboy, with'male' clothes than it is for a boy to make 'female' choices.
And when they are small, they have few defences against unkindness and mockery.
I had DD first, she had clothes of various colours and patterns that covered all the shades in the rainbow. We had a very limited budget, so when her brother arrived 4 years later, he wore most of her stuff. I never put him in a dress, but he certainly wore flowers and the occasional pin and white item.
But this was 20 years ago, and the gender stereotyping and colour-coding has increased ridiculously IMO. Pink and frilly buggies for example, I don't remember them at all.

Goblinchild Sun 09-Mar-14 18:22:13

For some reason, I appear to have a number of sticky keys.
<looks suspiciously at DS and his grubby fingers>
Please fill in the missing letters as appropriate. grin

legoplayingmumsunite Sun 09-Mar-14 18:51:17

I think the order you have your kids in makes a difference. DS does wear some pink but that's because he has 2 older sisters. My niece wears some very boyish clothes because she has 2 older brothers.

There are usually pink t-shirts for boys in Next or Gap or Boden if you want to get your DS one, and smart pink shirts are relatively commonplace. I consciously buy some clothes for the DDs from the boys departments. Jeans tend to be baggier in the boys section, hoodie tops are warmer, trainers and wellies less, well, covered in glitter fairy vomit.

Yes, it's easier for girls in a patriarchial society because a girl being a 'tomboy' is striving for higher status, a boy showing feminine characteristics is downgrading himself. So the people who care about such things will be much more critical of a boy in pink, with long hair, playing with dolls than of a girl in blue, with short hair, playing with a train set.

AnotherMonkey Sun 09-Mar-14 18:53:26

Yes, I think what's nagging at me is to do with the points in the above posts.

I'm really struggling to articulate it!

I think it's to do with the way I view myself as a parent (celebrating and encouraging equality and avoiding stereotypes) and how accurate that actually is.

AnotherMonkey Sun 09-Mar-14 18:56:56

X posts with lego - grin at fairy glitter vomit!

And yes - DD does get hand me downs which makes a difference too. That's a good point.

callamia Sun 09-Mar-14 19:14:17

I do buy my son clothes from the girls' sections, but he's still a baby, so it's quite different to toddler ranges which seem very gendered. I wouldn't worry about colour, rather the style of clothes is the the thing that seems to differentiate genders.

Even for babies, I've noticed a difference in cuts, and girls baby gros often have puffy shoulders, or keyhole closures at the back. The clothes just look more delicate than boys' and this seems weird to me.

TamerB Sun 09-Mar-14 19:20:12

It depends what they want to wear-when I was young there was no way that my mother would get me into any cast offs of my brothers. I wanted girls clothes, the same way as I want women's clothes now.

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