BigBrother’s preschool has a color of the month. Every month, they focus on a color. One day each month, the kids are to wear that color to school. BigBrother thinks this is fun. He enjoys putting the color on when we get dressed and telling me about the other kids wearing the same color after school. It’s been fine and dandy. Until the last two months.
February was pink month. March has been purple month.
I’ll be honest. Prior to these two months, BigBrother didn’t own anything pink or purple. I’m not a particularly pastel person myself. I normally go for bold colors when shopping for myself. (Or, really, green.) The same for the boys. But I found a nice pink polo for him last month and a nice lavendar button up for this past Tuesday. See?
Doesn’t he look handsome? (Yes, the purple shirt was featured in yesterday’s Wordless Wednesday photograph which I might frame for the wall.) The pink shirt especially brought out his rosy cheeks.
When he came home from school on Thursday, I asked him if everyone in his class wore purple. He said, “No, just K.” (I also know that another girl had purple on but it wasn’t a “true” purple, more of a fuschia, so it may have confused him.) Some backround info about his class: three girls, eight boys. And, so, similar to last month, he was the only boy sporting the color of the month.
This drives me somewhat insane.
Why do we need to teach boys as young as three that they can’t wear certain colors? Why do we need them to be macho at such a young age? Should I have dressed him in navy blue and sent him to school grunting instead? Thankfully it sounds like no teasing occurred. But will it next year (he’ll be in the same class)? Or the following year when he moves up to the older class? When will he learn from other kids that “real men” don’t wear pink?
We started out with gender neutral toys. He gravitated toward all things wheeled. Fine. We still have dolls and a kitchen (the latter of which my youngest son thinks is the bees knees). We read books about both genders. And until he brings it up, we’re not going to say that pink is a girl’s color. He’s got too much other stuff to worry about right now. Like sounding out words, coloring and running happily through his yard.
This whole concept makes me just as mad as when girls are told that they can’t “be” something when they grow up because it is a “man’s job.” Or how my friend’s daughter was made fun of for always wearing shirts with dinosaurs. Since when did dinosaurs become solely a boy’s toy and topic of interest? Why do we feel the need to tell boys and girls what they can and cannot like, can and cannot wear and can and cannot be? Why can’t we just let them make those decisions for themselves?
I know we all raise our families differently. I know we all have different goals in mind. But I can’t find one reason why a boy can’t wear a pink shirt. My grandfather has always owned and worn pastel colored shirts and he’s one of the most handsome men I know. And then there was the time my Dad wore a pink vest to my brother’s wedding. He looked smashing. These are some of the “manliest, macho men” I know… and they’re fine with it.
And hopefully our sons will be as well.
(FireDad approves this message. While I’m still not sure I could bribe him into a pink vest for either of our sons’ weddings, he happily told BigBrother how handsome he looked in his shirts. And he meant it. He’s a good guy, no?)
Tags:colors, gender roles, preschool