My cousin James’ wife recently gave birth to twin boys. My mother in on a gift-buying binge for them, as usual whenever a family member breeds. When we were in Halifax, my sorta-aunt Donna was looking for baby clothes for a new boy of a friend, too. She was also in the process of crotcheting baby blankets for her two pregnant daughters, but was overwhelmed because she felt the need to make four blankets: two pink and two blue. Not knowing the sex of the babies, she felt she needed two of each colour, just in case.
The three of us went to Winners, a perfect place for a great selection of infant’s clothing. Mum went to Newfoundland yesterday, and she’ll be there for about 3 weeks. She wanted to bring some stuff back to the new babies. She needed two of everything, of course. I found a matching pair of those t-shirt things that snap in the crotch – garments I from now on shall call “pooper-pants”. The ones I was holding up were white, red and yellow striped. My Mum wrinkled her nose and said, “Are they too feminine?”
It’s time. It’s time I address this annoyance on my soap box, a.k.a. Sweet Nothings. I think I can officially count this compulsion to strictly clothe infants in pink or blue according to his or her sex as another pet peeve of mine.
What the hell kind of difference is it going to make if a boy wears pink, or at least, not blue. And if a girl wears blue? Are people afraid their kinds will turn out to be… horror of all horror… homos? If a boy has a pink baby blanket, do people think his first words would be "hello, goigeous!”? And a girl will be drawn to flannel and crew cuts? Jesus… I think we’re giving these kids a little too much credit, aren’t we?
This is actually a much bigger debate. It involves gender and gender identification. Ok, to dork it up here for a moment: do we remember the episode of Star Trek: TNG where the Enterprise encountered the society with no gender? It made the Starfleet crew really uneasy. (That’s right: all philosophical and academic debates can always come back to ST:TNG.) I think the preoccupation with engendered-colours is not for the sake of the child, but to save face for the parents. Like Picard’s crew, people feel a great deal of dis-ease if a person’s gender cannot be immediately identified.
Why, though, should we expect to know the sex of an infant? (A side thought: is this why some parents pierce infant girls’ ears?) Why should we know, and what difference does it make? This baby is only just alive and we need to know his or her sex? These persons have no secondary sexual characteristics, no decipherable language, no skills or feelings or opinions. Hell, they can barely focus their eyes! Why is there a concern that he or she will grow up somehow confused because he or she wore the “wrong” colour in the months after it exited the womb?
I think this idiocy has gone too far. I look awesome in pink. I also look good in blue. I hate that a man with the same skin tone, eye and hair color as me would shy away from pink because it’s “for girls,” or worse, far, far worse, “for fags.” Some girls I have met are in the same boat, refusing to wear pink because of all it stands for. “It’s too girly,” they say.
Sure, I guess I have no need for gender-identification through symbolic colours with the hips and D-cups, but still… (I know this weakens my argument that infants have no gender identification and should not symbolically assign them a sex. Uncle.)
I know that somebody that has any background in gender studies would be able to tear this Peeve of mine full of holes, but I want people to think about this. I’ve learned enough about symbology in my two Religious Studies degrees to understand that it’s not just a colour, just like it’s not just a cross, and it’s not just a flag, but it’s got much deeper meanings, such as gender and religion and country. Still, isn’t it a bit ludicrous to assign so much importance and distraction to specific wavelengths of light? What a bland world we deserve to live in. Wouldn’t that be so much easier? I’d have one less pet peeve.