Pink – the Old Blue

When my wife and I were expecting I enjoyed torturing my mother on whether we would be having a girl or a boy. She threatened to camp out at Babies-R-Us® when my wife was to begin labor so that she would be able to buy the correctly colored clothing. I suggested that green was also lovely and that my father’s favorite color is lavender (also reminding my mother that she liked blue), but to no avail. A baby must be outfitted in the appropriate color scheme. And, when friends of ours who were expecting a girl were surprised with a precious boy instead, many a joke was said hoping the newborn liked pink.

Why is there a distinction between pink for girls and blue for boys? I was surprised to find out that for many decades the opposite was true: blue was for girls and pink was for boys! Some scholars inferred that the manliness of red was applied to baby boys in pastel and light colored hues. Whereas blue was the color of little girls in remembrance of the Virgin Mary, the mother of Jesus. Then, of course, as it goes with fashion, “one day you’re in, the next you are out” and the trend was reversed.

Another interesting discovery in children’s clothing was made when going through the old family pictures after my grandmother died. She had pictures of babies and toddlers clothed in long white gowns. In previous generations the sex of children was not distinguished by color coding, or even by pants and skirts in the very young. Children instead were distinguished from adults.

I wonder if there is something of importance here for us today. We are so quick to differentiate and segregate ourselves into male and female but it has affected the boundary of adult and child. Parents now are less adult and more peer to their kids. Modern clothing perpetuates this. It is oddly difficult to find a one-piece bathing suit for my four-year-old. Why is that? Why does a preschooler need a bikini? Why do we have Baby Gap® and other mature clothing lines marketed to our young kids? Why are we trying to grow our children up so fast and make them look like a miniature adult? Do not misunderstand my point by what I am not saying. I am still suggesting that a boy is male and a girl is female and they should comprehend that male and female are different. But I am concerned of the overactive effort to mature our children too quickly. Allow their innocence to flourish. Do not allow your teen to influence your buying habits. Be a conscientiously righteous parent. By dressing them like ourselves we should not dismantle the distinction between adult and child; between parent and offspring. Whether pink, blue or white gowns, let us allow children to be free to stay young and innocent and yet keep the distinction between parent and child for their steady and honorable maturation.

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