My family is probably tired of me complaining about how gendered baby clothes are, and harping on how I want to dress my son in all kinds of clothes, not just blue ones that have some sort of sports paraphenalia on them. Sometimes, it might seem like I'm just being stubborn, but this post from Liz Rose-Cohen speaks to the heart of why I stand so firm on this.
My favorite parts:
When I picked him up that afternoon a little boy asked me if Moon Boy is a girl or a boy.
“A boy,” I said. “Are you asking because he's wearing pink sandals?”
“Yes,” said the child. “Why is he wearing pink sandals?”
“Because I want to,” Moon Boy said, with the same happiness.
“Oh,” said the boy. “I like to play with my sister's wand.”
And that’s when I realized why my son wears pink shoes. He doesn’t wear pink shoes because he’s gay. He wears pink shoes because your son might be gay. My son is making room for yours. Right? I mean, my son has two moms whether he wants to or not. (And he’s black, and Jewish, and adopted.) He cannot disguise these things. Room or not. But your son, your son can blend. If there’s no room, then fine. He can wear his hunter green, his navy blue, his burgundy. He can slide under the radar for a while, but then sooner or later he’s going to need the room. Because he’s going to stick out. And it’s my son who will be there, making that room.
...I hear it in on the playground, around the neighborhood, in the hallway at school. “I’ve got boxes of clothes waiting for you,” one mom says to another. “I hope your baby’s a girl ‘cause I’ve got so many sweet things I could never put on my son.” And it’s hard to imagine how we can hold these things in our brains at the same time. How we can be sticking like crazy to these arbitrary gender rules, even for infants, and then saying we’re committed to ending anti-gay-bullying in schools. Because that’s what anti-gay bullying is: picking on kids who cross the lines. And who are the first people to draw those lines? Who are the first to tell our sons they can’t wear pink? To insinuate that no boy should wear pink? We are. Even before they are born. Listen carefully while I say that again: we start training our kids to bully their gay peers even before they are born.
It matters. Yes, something as simple as boys wearing pink.