Thursday, June 18, 2009

Pinkification... so that its about THAT baby?

I never liked pink. Even when I deep in my barbie phase as a kid, I didn’t like the pink of all her accessories. I’d go out of my way to find alternative items to furnish my barbie’s lives with (for the record, my fantastic Mum managed to get me teeny little cane furniture for my barbies. Hey, it was the eighties, cane was cool).

My bedroom as an infant and toddler was pale blue – it had been painted before I was born, not because a boy was expected, but because my parents thought it was cool and restful for a baby. Indeed, back in the early eighties, you couldn’t (or perhaps just didn’t… I wasn’t there to know, really) find out the sex of the baby (well, not unless serious genetic issues were in play).

In the last few months, friends have started to have babies of their own. And without fail, they are learning the sex of the baby as early as possible – I understand that, they want to know as much about the little person soon to be in their lives as they can.

I wonder, though, if knowing whether the baby is a boy or girl – and knowing only that really – for several months before they arrive is perhaps driving the seemingly relentless march of pinkification/blueifying of clothing, furniture, and accessories of baby boys and girls? If in the rush to do something in those months of waiting for the baby to arrive, people somehow feel the need to try and connect with the unknown, through identifying clearly that their things were chosen specifically for that child, not a child?

A friends’ little girl was born in January. Being somewhat crafty, I had made the baby a little sundress, in pale lime cotton with a purple, yellow and white daisy print all over it. I decided that the dress might not be enough (what if bub was a bit cold and didn’t want just little straps?), and tried to buy a teeny (size 000) t-shirt, in purple or yellow to go underneath it.

But there were no tshirts in purple or yellow in size 000, not at Target, not at children’s Cotton On, not at Kmart (oh yes, I am classy – on the other hand, how long will a child wear size 000? Not long enough to splash out I say). I had to settle for plain white. If I’d wanted pink, I could have had twenty different styles.

Interestingly, my friend was thrilled at the gift – not only was (most of it) handmade, but it was the only clothing they’d received so far that wasn’t pink.

I guess the question is – did everyone buy pink because they knew a girl was on the way, and wanted to buy for that baby not a baby, or did they all buy pink because that was all that was available? Chickens and eggs… or rather, pinks and blues.

1 comment:

  1. I tried to have this conversation with an ex's family once and they just didn't get it. Personally, I love pink, but I also like variety. And they love pink, but were dressed in browns and blues and greens. And yet somehow, having a choice of colours for baby clothing was way radical and feminist and stupid, and I was just pushing my agenda again.

    The stupidity, it hurts.