13 April 2011
little girl blue
Cute huh? She's 5 months tomorrow - eep! Here she's wearing a gorgeous handmade frock given to us by lovely family friend, a handmade onesie by moi and leggings made from refashioned socks, also designed by me, a lifetime ago. When I took her out in this outfit the other day, someone asked me "how old is he?" She always gets called He. If I bother correcting the admirer, they usually tell me it's because she doesn't have hair... or because she's wearing blue. A colour which happens to suit her. I'm often amazed at how strong that colour association is. To the point where a dress is overlooked because of its colour. It's something I've found quite amusing when selling my lovebird onesies at markets too. The onesies are navy and white, so the first impression is boy, then the blue bird reaffirms that. But the red love heart!? Well hearts are for girls! Or are they? Usually the customer works through the confusion and buys it for their boy or girl, but it's interesting to see them challenged. What I find most interesting of all is just how recently these colour teams were picked and why. Perhaps it demonstrates the importance and power of colour as a branding tool...
Buyers from the big department and chain stores tell us that pink is for girls, with purple running a close second. And often that is all they will stock. I remember the frustration when a buyer handed us a colour palette to work with of their forecasted "hot colours of the season" and they were all pink. Or purple. Apparently red, or green, or yellow didn't sell. Don't even think about brown or orange and never, ever blue. And then a wander through the boys department! Navy, black, khaki... blue in most shades or sometimes beige or grey. Seldom any real colour. And most certainly never pink. I remember the bagging Huz copped for wearing a pink shirt to our wedding... Imagine if my owlets had been boys!!
My owlets seldom leave the house wearing pink, although it may be one of the colours used somewhere in the mix. The two bigger owlets have been through a pink phase each. I've not restricted their access to the colour, but always made sure other colours are represented in their wardrobes. It seems that the pink phase happens at around 3 or 4 years old when they are starting to understand boys and girls and the gender roles society places on them. But it also happens at a time where they are reaching for independence. Pink is a very nurturing colour, the colour of love and warmth. It's quite natural that they would be attracted to it. I've noticed several boys around this age finding an affinity for pink too (whether it is encouraged or not). It makes sense. Which is why I find it so sad that these restrictions are placed on colours. Especially at such a young age, from birth. To me, colour can be such a nurturing thing. I've found myself drawn to colours at times of need. As a mother, green is what brings calm to my days. Red is for strength. Orange got me through a miscarriage or two and felt very healing. My girls love yellow for sunny days and chocolate brown when they are being detectives. Colour always should be playful and nurturing and free.
Ooh P.S: Did I mention the sympathy I get when I tell people tiny owlet is a girl? "Oh well, don't worry, keep trying, love" is what Huz and I usually hear. Imagine! We do sometimes wonder what life would be like with a boy around. Would it be different? I like to think not too much, I don't know that we'd do much differently and he probably would wear the odd pink grosuit. And then I look at other families, like Kate's, with three girls all similar age gaps to ours, but a few years down the track and I think, well that's just lovely, thank you! No need for sympathy at all ;)
Ooh and PPS: Thank goodness for handmade!!
Ooh PPPS: Check this article out : Hot pink-toenailed boy in J. Crew ad sparks controversy