A couple of days ago I called E. over to look at a prospective sun hat on the computer (because who has time to go to a store in person?). E. badly needed a new hat, not only because he’d just lost his current one at school, but also because that hat was getting too small for him, and although he’d repeatedly said he wanted a new hat that was “exactly the same as the old hat!”, I’d several years ago only purchased said hat in small and medium, not large, and now the store no longer made it.
The potential new hat was from the same store, but in a different style. E. came over, looked at it, pronounced it a good hat, and then said, “Oh, and look, it comes in pink too!”
“Do you want to get it in pink?” I asked.
“Yes, please,” E. said immediately. “Navy really isn’t my style.”
I ordered the pink hat with a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach.
E. loves pink: he will tell anyone who asks that it’s his second favourite colour because “pink is closest to red!”
Thus far, E. has remained blessedly oblivious to the gendered associations of pink (even though he frequently comes home from school and tells me that something is a “boy movie” or a “girl book”). At a birthday party in January he picked out the last pink balloon when it was his turn and seemed genuinely perplexed when the girl behind him challenged him on his choice (she had clearly assumed that that balloon was hers because she was the next girl in line).
But he is about to turn six, and I know someday soon he will be told he shouldn’t be wearing his pink hat or his pink, orange, and red leggings, that he shouldn’t choose the pink balloon. It will come from his peers or (worse) from adults in the community. I don’t know when it will happen, but I know it is going to.
I hope he is strong enough to ignore the naysayers.
It breaks my heart that he’s going to have to defend his choice, that he’s not going to be allowed to just be a kid wearing a hat.
Do boys wear pink where you live?
This post is part of #MicroblogMondays. To read the inaugural post and find out how you can participate, click here.