|Image courtesy of [F]oxymoron via Creative Commons.|
She said she needed to get pink now instead of blue. She had purchased a big navy blue plastic bucket, a small turquoise throw rug, and a toy truck. Her new items were the same big plastic bucket, now in pink, a pink throw rug, and a tiny dress.
Although this woman’s actions were not unusual, I found myself startled by the attachment we still have to forced gender identification. Her baby won’t likely care much about the color of the throw rug and bucket for some time, if ever. Nor will she care one whit about the dress, which she will outgrow by 6 months old. And she might well have liked that truck in the years to come, but she probably won’t ever get one now.
I remember when my son was four, and we were going to paint his room. We let him choose the color. At the time, his favorite color was pink – bubblegum pink. Pink hasn’t been his favorite color for 13 years, but somehow, we never got around to repainting his room. It didn’t matter.
What does matter is whether this woman’s baby will be loved and cherished; whether her curiosity and wonder will be nourished; whether the world she grows up in will be fair and healthy and just and humane; whether she will be able to discern good from bad and become wise and generous; whether stores like Target will be filled with products and clothes that come at the expense of other children, other species, and the environment. And so much more.
I wish that mom-to-be had just kept her blue bucket and turquoise throw rug and truck and allowed the child she bears to lead her toward choices that reflect that child’s individuality, proclivities, and interests, and not those dictated by silly social norms.
For a humane world,
Zoe Weil, President, Institute for Humane Education
Author of Most Good, Least Harm, Above All, Be Kind, and The Power and Promise of Humane Education
My TEDx talk: “The World Becomes What You Teach"
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