I don't like the colour pink, it's never been my colour. As a child it never really suited me, it always looked kinda alien on my body. I always felt more comfortable in jeans and a plain top. Dresses, I liked because I liked how tights made it easy to run and play, comfort was and still is my number one priority when it comes to clothing. As a grown-up I feel very much the same. Pink just doesn't suit me, but the more I think about it I realise that my dislike of the colour pink runs slightly deeper than that. As a child the things I was supposed to like, the things the "cool" girls liked were pink, and the things that I liked weren't; I liked books, science, history magazines, skateboarding and none of those were pink so I began to dislike the colour because the pink things never really matched the things that I liked, and I was lucky enough to be brought in a way that this mattered very little.
My sister, on the other hand, is about a pink a person as one can be; her bedroom was pink, she enjoyed pink things and other pink like-minded girls, and you know what, that is and was totally fine. We were always opposite ends of the spectrum, one that was always synonymous with pink and not pink. I did, of course, have clothes that had bits of pink on, it is kind of an inevitability as a young girl, the colour is just on everything; it's in the everyday things like five packs of socks and knickers from supermarkets, it was guaranteed that at least one of those would be pink, stationary, gifts from others, prizes in lucky dips, etc this colour always seems to be the one that defined being a girl because it was just everywhere.
The problem with pink is not the colour itself, it is the narrow focus of what you as a young girl are told you can or can't like, what you should like because it has this one colour painted all over it. Pink was never on the Harry Potter lego I loved. There is so much more to a girl and to being the girl than this one colour appears to say. Yes, it is just a colour, and yes it is absolutely fine but it needn't be the only colour that represents all that is involved in being a young girl. I always found it kind of annoying that as someone who really wasn't too fond of the colour I couldn't really escape it, and I still feel the same way, but, the joys of being grown up, it's almost as if the older you get retailers begin to realise that for women there can be more than just one dominant wardrobe and I can choose to simply not have that colour. (I am way more of a dark green, purple and black kinda gal)
So, why rethink pink? Well, because my wonderful child has all of a sudden begun to adore this colour, for the past two weeks he has wanted to wear at least one item of the brightest pinkest pink available in shops; the frilly, glittery, love hearts, sparkles, princesses, sequinned fabric that I have fought a quiet internal battle against because I believed it was selling a false and damaging femininity to a young audience and enforcing rigid patriarchal gender norms. Something I do still believe to a certain extent but to Arlo... he just likes pink, he just likes the sequins and the sparkles and who am I to tell him what he should or shouldn't wear to dress your child exclusively in Little Bird, Frugi and WAHM outfits instead of having to rely upon the regular Sainsbury's 25% sale section
I just want to make it clear here, the issue is not his gender, not in the slightest (as such a thing is tenuous and tangible at such a young age, before he can fully self-identify with a gender) and in a weird way I am quite proud that he seems as yet unaffected by the whole pink for girls and blue for boys thing. I have just never been comfortable with frills and sequins and had vowed to myself that my child would be dressed as "gender neutral" as possible practicality and comfort in clothes always taking priority, this is, of course, one of those ideals you hold when you have hypothetical children and hypothetical money that grants such freedom.
The fact of the matter is that pink is my issue, not his, and I don't get to dictate what he feels comfortable in, even if it is not something I would ever feel comfortable wearing myself. Parenting brings around many weird challenges, issues you never really realised you had and for me pink is one of those, but I will aim to acknowledge this, and simply do an internal eye roll while purchasing the pink sparkly light up wellies because I know that's what Arlo really wants, (even though the dinosaur ones are significantly cooler).