From the 20 week scan we knew we were expecting a girl. The second 20 week scan. The nurse had packed her away her ultrasound equipment after the first when when I said “so what is it then?”. Cue a tut and some unpacking of said equipment. Apparently I was supposed to ask before they did the scan! My view is that with so much uncertainty about becoming first time parents, why not at least embrace the one bit of certainty that 21st century technology does at least allow you, and find out what’s what.
In the very early days I think I probably thought I’d quite like a boy…someone to pass on my…self proclaimed admittedly…cricketing skills to. To share my appreciation of beer with. To hand down the Walker surname for another generation. The latter was actually my dad’s request. But to be honest, I was still too much in shock at the thought of having to be responsible for another human life to worry about which species it was going to be; as long as it was healthy and could be guaranteed to support Spurs. I also lost count of the number of times I got told off for referring to an “it” . Both before and after the birth! Now I have my gorgeous daughter however, I can’t begin to imagine having anything other than a girl. And the upside is, I can still teach her cricket, still educate her in beer, and her mother can nurture Grace’s independence to retain her surname, even if she does get married. After all, she has….
Anyway….back to finding out we were having a daughter. I immediately gave the wider family the news…together with explicit instruction that I was banning the colour pink, and so to adjust their knitting plans accordingly. Then it was all systems go…the nursery was decked out in a light mint green, the pram was ordered in Royal Blue, clothes were brought in any style, any colour…except pink.
What does colour matter you may say? It shouldn’t at all..but how many chemistry or electronics sets are packaged in pink? Or construction kits? Or cars? Or books of numbers or about science? If all you’ve known is that things for you come wrapped up in pink, then as you get older you could easily be excused for thinking that things in less appetising colours are maybe not for you.
I realise that there will probably come a time in Grace’s early life when pink will seem to be the only thing she wants to be kitted out in, head to toe, morning to night. But that can be her choice. For now, I want Grace to grow up not associating pink with being a girl. Indeed I don’t want her to associate anything with being a girl …. or a boy. It shouldn’t be the toy manufacturers who determine what our children get to enjoy by packaging their wares in a gender stereotyped manner. I realise that this may be a Canute like view, and that many will say it’s a lost cause, but I want Grace to be able to do what she wants to do, and not to feel she shouldn’t because it’s a boy thing. Or it’s not girlie enough.
The extent that society overtly links colours to the sexes can be no surprise to anyone, but without exception everyone who has spoken to me when I’m out with Gracie in the pram has said something along the lines of “he’s very cute” or asked “how old is he?” That’s not to criticise them, it’s just an observation that we make immediate assumptions based on things as simple as the colour of a fabric and I don’t want Grace to fall into the same trap of making judgments about things that she may or may not like, simply on the colour of the box they are presented in.