It's Pink, Not Salmon

Posted by Ben Stevens on

I know several guys that would be embarrassed to have photos of them playing with dolls.  I, on the other hand, am very glad my parents were not big on gender roles and let me play with dolls if I wanted to play with dolls.  I had a pretty well rounded childhood playing with dolls, dinky cars, G.I.Joe, transformers, cabbage patch kids, care bears and lots more.  My parents, like all parents, were not perfect but they came pretty close.  Trust me, the majority of my faults and flaws were self acquired in adulthood.  :)  

If you take note of this picture my parents clearly also did not follow gender roles when it came to colour and again I am so thankful.  As an adult, some of my favourite shirts have been pink shirts.  I always loved correcting people as well when they would look at it and say well it's salmon colour.  I would be like, "No, it's pink".  Keep in mind somebody along the line of history said pink is girls and blue is boys.


I guess I've worn a few different styles of pink.  

Did you know that the gender colours we think of now were actually reverse in the early 20th century?  In the late 19th century pastel colours were starting to be added to the traditional white baby clothes, which was largely dresses even for boys for easy access to change bottoms.  In the early stages babies were dressed in any of the colours but then the distinction of pink for boys and blue for girls emerged.  

In 1918 the trade publication Earnshaw’s Infants’ Department claimed the “generally accepted rule is pink for the boys, and blue for the girls. The reason is that pink, being a more decided and stronger color, is more suitable for the boy, while blue, which is more delicate and dainty, is prettier for the girl.”  I thought the only thing adults lied to me about was Santa Clause, the Easter Bunny, Tooth Fairy...ok maybe they lied to us about a lot of things.  

Then in the 1940s the gender colours changed and boys began wearing blue and girls pink.  Now don't get me wrong, I get it does help us communicate easier in some ways.  How did people in the 19th century do baby gender reveal parties for example?  Colours wouldn't have indicated the gender so you would have had to use actual words.  I kid because I do like gender reveal videos and posts with fun ways to reveal pink or blue.  I don't think there is anything wrong with that at all.  

Even when you are dressing your baby I completely get dressing them in colours easily recognized.  Very few babies can be recognized by gender from their facial appearance.  While I don't really care if someone mistakes my girl for a boy or vice versa but it becomes more about saving time of having to correct people.  When that little baby becomes a kid and decides he likes a piece of clothing that's pink or wants that doll in the toy store that's when our response really matters. I thank my parents for letting me play with the toys I wanted regardless of what gender society decided they were intended for, for letting me wear all colours of the rainbow, play with "girlie stuff" and so much more.  


My parents never would have guessed the future impact it would have not only on me but on my parenting of my own children.  Do you think for a minute if my parents were strict on gender roles and such that I would be able to embrace so easily my daughter being gay?  I don't believe I would cause most of the kids who struggle with their sexual identity with their family come from homes with very strict gender roles.  I'm no perfect parent, trust me, but I hope I follow in my parents foot steps and let my kids be who they are and not let society dictate how they should be.    

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