Gender boundaries and babies – the full discussion
We’ve broken down many, many gender stereotypes since that time many decades ago when it was decided that blue should be for boys and pink should be the colour for girls. Women now vote and wear pants, boys now dance ballet, express their feelings and buy just as much hair gel as the chicks. So, if you’re looking to stock up your own baby clothes wardrobe or buy a gift for a friend, should you buy pink baby clothes for girls and blue for boys? Today we look at several things you should consider.
The ‘Explanatory Factor’
When you buy a pink item of clothing, passers by will immediately assume that the baby wearing it is a girl, just as they’ll assume that babies wearing blue clothes are boys. If you choose to buy an ‘opposite’ clothing colour, you’re setting yourself or your baby clothes recipient up for many wrong assumptions and explanations. If you buy a neutral colour, people will at least ask if it’s a girl or buy!
Can a ‘pink obsession’ stunt girl’s personalities?
A recent BBC news article featured a parenting author questioning whether a ‘total obsession’ with the colour pink actually stunts girls personalities. Of course, there are plenty of individual factors that go into determining whether a girl will be ‘obsessed’ with pink when she grows up. The colour of baby clothes she wears is probably the least of these…
Parents have to look at the clothes too!
When you’re buying baby clothes, it is often more about what the baby thinks is comfortable, and the parents think looks good! If you’re buying for an ultra-feminine, pink-loving Mum, choose pink baby clothes. If you’re buying for a Mum that can’t stand the sight of pink, don’t make her stare at it on her baby!
Girls may be hardwired to like pink
There may be evolutionary and biological reasons that girls like pink. Generally speaking, females have more red-pigment cone cells in their eyes, allowing them to see colours at the red end of the spectrum more easily. In the evolutionary female ‘gatherer’ role, red colours would indicate ripe berries… and full bellies.
Colours and psychological development
Researchers at Princeton University refer to the stage where girls typically become obsessed with pink things as the PFD stage – the Pink Frilly Dress stage. The theory is that by around age 2 or 3, girls are starting to become more aware of gender divides and the symbols and accessories of each gender. Feeling a sense of belonging within your gender may be an important part of psychological development, and girls that don’t dress in pink may be excluded from groups.
There are plenty of arguments on either for why girls should and shouldn’t be dressed in pink baby clothes… in the end, though it comes down to two things. The colours that the parents prefer, when their child is still in baby clothes, and the colour that the child prefers once they grow up a little!