Officrèche Blog

Green is for girls and pink is for boys – not conforming to gender stereotypes

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Sarah Lewis's daughter on one of the occasions she was referred to as a boy

Sarah Lewis’s daughter on one of the occasions she was referred to as a boy

 

My daughter loves green, writes Officréche parent Sarah Booker Lewis.

“It is my favourite and my best,” she says, echoing her favourite book character Lola.

I encourage her to enjoy a multitude of toys and games without conforming to an old-fashioned notion of gender stereotypes.

When she was a week old I was asked by a visiting midwife if I’d thought I was having a boy as she was wearing a Superman sleep suit.

I knew she was a girl and I liked the outfit. It wasn’t the last time she was mistaken for a boy due to perceptions surrounding clothing.

Watching her at a playgroup wearing a green Tinkerbell outfit while playing with cars, trains and a tool kit.

This doesn’t mean she doesn’t play with dolls.

Dressed as a doctor she regularly treats her dolls and My Little Pony toys as they are “unhealthy” or “not very well”.

Like many women of my generation, I feel we are trying to help our children discover themselves without conforming to the gender stereotypes we grew up with.

Other mothers I talk with confirm their girls like green and blue.

It doesn’t matter what the gender, most of the toddlers I know have baby dolls with prams, cars and kitchens.

Sarah Booker Lewis' daughter enjoying home play

Sarah Booker Lewis’ daughter enjoying home play

 

Both sets of parents are found in the kitchen so playing at cooking doesn’t feel like a particularly feminine activity.

Daddys push prams and carry babies in slings, so a son doing the same thing is teaching him to be a good parent.

Colour is still an issue though.

When talking to a Polish parent at a playgroup, she could not get over the “obsession” with pink and blue baby clothes.

This colour coding is a particularly new phenomenon as pink was considered a boyish colour before the Second World War.

So many little boys love pink.

I particularly love the bright pink trainers worn by one little lad we know.

Society makes us feel awkward about our child’s choices.

One friend was taken back when her two-year-old son, who loves trucks and motorbikes, picked out a hot pink potty.

Another of my daughter’s male contemporaries has a pink Frozen-themed drinking bottle.

When they play together their two drinks sit on the table defying commercial colour coding.

My daughter loves her green drink bottle with its tractor and truck design.

Her wellies are green with dinosaurs.

What is frustrating is how retailers still segregate boys and girls items.

A well-known department store has Gruffalo wellies in its boys section, as does a major supermarket.

Some frustrated parents have taken to the website reviews sections to state how amazing it is that their daughters can wear these boyish items.

Let’s hope future generations feel even better about choosing a toy or colour without feeling the pressure of being told something is for a boy or a girl.

Do you try to avoid gender sterotypes? How does your child buck the traditional trends? Let us know.

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