Feminism/Gender, Olive

Pink and Blue

Pink and Blue - SweetMadeleine.ca

Olive is pretty perceptive, so I guess I should have known that it was just a matter of time before something like this happened.

The other day she was playing with her Aunt Loulie (my sister, Lizzie) and Lizzie said something about a boy wearing pink, or choosing pink.

Olive’s reaction was immediate and certain. “No!” she giggled, “Pink is a girl colour!”

When Liz relayed this story to me, a little part of me died inside. It’s happening. It’s happening. Olive is becoming aware of the world outside this strange Eco-friendly, feminist bubble I have created, and now it’s all going to fall apart. It’s only a matter of time before she realizes that other moms buy cool flavoured cartoon toothpaste instead of making it themselves out of goddamned baking soda!

The exchange was funny in a “crazy stuff kids say” sort of way, but it was also genuinely disheartening. I feel like I have tried so hard to present a balanced view of masculinity/femininity, to encourage her to choose clothing and toys and books based on what she is interested in regardless of whether it was found in the girl’s section or the boy’s.

This conversation was so small, and some might say insignificant, but for this overthinker it suddenly felt like our culture had managed to slowly chip its way into her psyche and overwrite my beliefs with its own. It feels like this tiny shark-boots-wearing, independent loudmouth little person will be lost to me soon, buried under the meaning of pink and blue.

What’s that? Making mountains out of molehills, you say? Why that’s so unlike me! It’s like you guys don’t know me at all!

Ha.

The next morning, however, redemption! A conversation happened that restored all hope for this little weirdo of mine. She often comes into my bed in the morning when she wakes up, so we were lying there talking, and I asked, as I usually do, if she had any dreams. She told me a terribly convoluted – most likely made up- rendition of her dream that ended with this:

Olive: …And then the bunny got married.
Me: Oh my goodness! What a dream!  Do you think you will want to get married some day?
Olive: Yes!
Me: Who do you think you will marry?
Olive: A boy and a girl.
Me: A boy and a girl! Will you love them?
Olive: Yes! And kiss them!
Me: And then you’ll live happily every after?
Olive: No!
Me: No?
Olive: No! ‘Cause I’m not a story, mummy!

You guys, she’s two and her views toward relationships are already more open and realistic than those of some adults I know.

You go, Olive! Pink and blue be damned.

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7 Comments

  • Reply Lindsay Narain June 15, 2015 at 2:15 AM

    Ah, I hear you. Someone just told my son that “big boys don’t cry” and I cringed.

    • Reply sweetmadeleine June 16, 2015 at 12:34 PM

      Ohhhh no! That is cringe-worthy…

  • Reply cookie1986 June 15, 2015 at 8:14 AM

    Kids are going to find influence from all angles. Sounds like you are set to be the strongest one though, despite her apparent color discrimination, lol.

    • Reply sweetmadeleine June 16, 2015 at 12:36 PM

      I hope you’re right! Otherwise I will have to homeschool her and dear LAWD no one wants that.

  • Reply jamie June 15, 2015 at 8:38 AM

    i am totally dreading that, too, that i try to create this safe little people-are-just-people world for my kid, and they pick up all kinds of harmful ideas to the contrary.

    i don’t think you’re overreacting in your panic! if somehow this somewhat-innocuous-on-its-own idea got in, who knows what will follow, right? that’s how i’d think of it.

    i have an idea, one i am prepared to try, if my kid picks up the idea that there are these two rigid categories out there: (1) make my own self unidentifiable as either—embrace an ambiguous presentation (the wife and i already do for the most part, so the will only be a few modifications necessary) and then give the message that some people choose to take one of the categories (boy/girl) but some do not, some pick their favorite things then mix and match at will. then, (2) give the kid a very clear message, and permission, to be any & all genders (or none) that they choose, without adding a layer of negativity or judgment to any of it. and always letting them change at will and being unphased by any of it. at the same time, we plan to have age appropriate talks with the kid at various intervals to help be more explicit about the message we are sending (sometimes the subtle stuff like demonstrating acceptance isn’t enough, you have to talk about it outright; they’ve already proved this is true for teaching your kids about race).

    no idea if this will work or not, but it’s part of my plan so far. i want the harmful gender binary to shove it! 😛

    • Reply sweetmadeleine June 16, 2015 at 12:35 PM

      I like your plan! good to be prepared 😉

  • Reply #ForeverAlone - Sweet Madeleine July 23, 2015 at 1:05 PM

    […] I always love having conversations like this with Olive, discovering how she sees the world and how she begins to understand the different relationships between genders, friends, couples, etc. ( A previous one can be found here.) […]

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