When I was little, I loved pink. As I grew older, however, I learned that pink was too girly and not cool. Girls who were cool did not like pink. They didn’t wear their hair in little pig tails, storm around in little tulle skirts, and they defiantly didn’t like pretty things. The cool girls were the tom boys, the ones who could run with the boys. They liked sports, they drove four wheeler’s, and they played in dirt. The cool girls grew up to like blue and change their own tires. They were fierce and they drank beer. With two older brothers, this is the world I grew up in. If you couldn’t keep up, then you were just a girl. I spent my whole life trying to be equal. Eventually these things just became who I was. I was one of the boys.
It wasn’t until college that I learned what it was to be a feminist. Women fight to be equal, to stand out, to be taken seriously. Before this, feminism got lost in the crowd. Honestly, I grew up to believe that female was inferior. To be as important as a man, we literally had to be a man. We had to think like one, we had to look like one, and we had to keep up with them on their level. For me, feminism took away feminine. It took away anything and everything that represented the ideas of femininity. Playing with barbies and dolls, little pink dresses, and makeup sets.
It took away the hair and the makeup, the dresses and skirts, the nail polish and the glittery things. It took away the bows, the lipstick, the mascara, and the curling irons. It also took away feeling beautiful in my own skin. It took away the confidence in my own body and the curiosity to understand its workings. It took away the power to be feminine, feminist, and female all at the same time. Little did I realize, how very wrong my interpretation of feminism was.
Don’t let her wear pink, they said, because it misrepresents her gender and it belittles her future. If she wears pink, you’re setting her gender for her and you are setting her up to fail. You’re choosing her path and you’re suggesting that she’s just a girl.
As if being a girl was a bad thing.
My daughter wears pink for many different reasons. She wears pink because I get lost in all things pink and flowery. I gush over the tiny t-shirts and little dresses. She wears pink because the clothes she wears now won’t determine who she will be in the future. She wears pink because being a girl is powerful and wonderful. She wears pink because there’s nothing wrong with being feminine, regardless of her gender. She wears pink because I am her mother and I only have a short period of time before she starts dressing herself.
Yes, she wears pink because she is a girl. I selfishly lose myself in the girl section of the toddler department. I match little outfits with adorable shoes and flowery bows. I get excited for special events where I can put her in a little dress. Soon, however, picking out her little outfits will end, and my little girl will be a big girl, choosing her own favorite colors, her own patterns, and her own style. So now, I embrace it!
She wears pink because it’s not about determining her gender. Yes, because of her gender, I shop in the girls’ section. Yes, she was born a “girl”, but someday she may come to me with fear in her heart as she tells me she’s not comfortable in her own skin. I’ll embrace her journey to his, and I’ll love his soul just the same. She doesn’t have to wear green or blue or yellow to tell me that. Pink is feminine and it represents the female body. I’ll spend every day teaching her about hers, so she knows just who she is, or who he isn’t.
She wears pink, but she doesn’t just wear pink. She wears purple, and blue, and green, and yellow, and orange, and black. Her wardrobe is mostly comfy because she doesn’t tolerate frilly and itchy. Honestly, she’d choose her birthday suit if she were allowed to run around naked. However, since that is looked down upon, comfortable is her second choice. She wears red boy pajamas, unisex onesies, and girly t-shirts. She wears dragons, dinosaurs, monkeys, butterflies, unicorns, and mermaids. She has cute little black boots when it’s cold and glittery jellies with her flowery dresses. She doesn’t care for them; she prefers to be barefoot. She has pretty little bows that she rips out. She wears pretty patterns because for some reason she’s drawn to them. She grabs them up as we pass by the fixtures in Target, so I drop them in the cart. She rips them out of her dresser and she cuddles them, admiring all their colors. Yes, I pick out her wardrobe, but that doesn’t stop her from having a preference, and wearing pink doesn’t change that.
She wear’s pink because it’s cool, just like blue, yellow and green. Right now, she chooses cars over dolls and that’s beautiful. She wears girls’ clothes, but her toys are unisex. Wearing dresses won’t sentence her to gender specific roles created by society. Her likes and dislikes aren’t established by the kinds of clothes she wears now.
She wears pink because if she chooses to be feminine, there’s nothing wrong with that. She loves to play with my hair, and I’ll teach her how to do hers once it finally grows in. She glares at me while I apply my makeup, curious and fascinated. I’ll teach her how to contour and apply her lipstick. She wears pink because she can turn up her femininity or she can turn it down and she can love herself without restriction, no matter what direction she chooses.
She wears pink because it’s powerful and it represents that girls are unique. We have a history that needs to be remembered and we fight wars no man will ever truly understand. Our bodies build humans and then we deliver them into the world. Our bodies are our fortresses and we should love every single thing about it. She wears pink because there is nothing wrong with building confidence in the hearts of all our future women.
She wears pink because there’s nothing weak about feminism or femininity. She wears pink because she will be raised in a world where she can like what she wants, choose a passion that she wants, and she can wear what she wants. She doesn’t have to base her likes and dislikes on what others think, and she won’t have to pretend to be something she is not. She doesn’t need to fit in a box, and she won’t feel like she needs to be one of the boys to know that she is so very important.
Most importantly, she’s going to grow up in a home that is not subjected to titles, categories, stigmas, trends, roles, and biases. Instead, she will be surrounded by endless love and support. She’ll discover her own paths, her own likes and dislikes, her own goals and passions, and her own unique individuality. She’ll do it all wearing pink, for now.
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