Friday, October 1, 2010

My son loves pink, a rant

Warning: extended, only remotely related to Banned Books Week rant below. Please find a more indicative sample of our regularly scheduled light-hearted silliness here.

Dear World,

Yes, my son loves pink. He loves his glittery “do you believe in fairies?” shirt and his Hello Kitty water bottle and most of all his hot pink prairie skirt that twirls and that is, along with some boxer briefs, really the perfect summer play outfit.

Yes, I know he is wearing a skirt. And I know it is pink. No need to keep pointing that out, stating the facts as though you aren’t making a judgment in your head. Stop laughing; stop shaking your head. Stop congratulating yourself on your open-mindedness by saying, “That’s so great you let him wear it,” as though maybe I shouldn’t. In fact, please stop bringing it up in front of him at all because every time you do, you teach him that as much as he loves it, there’s something wrong or at least remarkable about that. And who wants to hear that it might not be okay to love something you love? Over and over, at the mall, on the street, at school, at your own family’s house?

While we’re at it, stop “reassuring” me that “it doesn’t mean anything.” What does that even mean?! Are you trying to say that his love for pink at age 3 doesn’t prove my son is gay? Thanks for the insight. Here’s a clue: the idea of him being gay doesn’t worry me. Here’s what worries me: it’s 2010 and my pink-loving son still has to defend his right to like a freaking COLOR. It’s 2010 and there are still people out there so incredibly homophobic that they CANNOT STAND the sight of a three-year-old boy in a SKIRT. It’s 2010 and my son wore his pink shirt to school the first day and there was MASS GENDER CONFUSION on the playground because some kids already, by age 3, are so gender-indoctrinated that they REFUSED TO BELIEVE he was a boy.

It is 2010 and every single time he wears his favorite color, my son’s feelings get hurt. Every single day, he gets told it’s not okay to be who is he is. I’m not worried about him liking pink or what it “means.” I’m worried that someday people are going to make him feel so bad about himself that he wants to jump off the GW bridge.

It’s 2010. It’s time to stop hurting people’s feelings with closed, terrified minds. It’s time to stop trying to prescribe other people’s lifestyles and families and reading material. It’s time to admit that reality is complicated and surprising and full of questions to which you don’t have answers. And it’s time to let my kids – and everyone's kids -- fully participate in that deliciously diverse reality without having to worry about the whispers.

It’s 2010, World. My son loves pink. Get over it.



P.S. Thanks for the chocolate donuts, though, World. Those things are awesome.


Anonymous said...

Parenthood is heartbreaking, isn't it? I'm glad your son has you as a mom.

Anonymous said...

Oh. My. Lord. That was a good rant. This is how I feel every time we read "Free to be You and Me" and I am forced to reflect on the world in general and think, "Um...shouldn't this book, written in the 70's, no longer be RELEVANT in 2010?? What is still WRONG with people?"

If it makes you feel any better, our own Li'l Miss is going to be 'William' for Halloween.

Anne M Leone said...

Oh, Jacqui, I'm so sorry. No wonder you're ranting. What a heartbreaking thing to have to deal with this day in and day out with your son. And how heartbreaking for him as well!

Thanks for sharing this. Hopefully reading this helps to remind everyone to be more careful what they say and how they appreciate and treat others.

Liz Straw said...

I know a ten year old that loves pink, but I think he has been teased out of wearing it. He had a great shirt last year and I saw him wear it once. Never again.

This boy has always loved and played football, but loving pink at the same time I think the others finally got to him. Which is so sad. He looked good in his pink shirt. Other guys wear pink shirts all the time, but boys get teased unmercifully.

Little known fact: Baby boys used to be dressed in pink and girls in blue, this changed around the thirties I believe. I do not have any clothing books at hand. So where this prejudice sprung from is beyond me.

ephelba said...

May this be as hard as it gets.

Ann Finkelstein said...

Believe it or not, a similar comment was made about my older son when he was 2 or 3 because he had no interest in toy cars and trucks. The world is full of idiots.

Boni Ashburn said...

When my younger son was little, his favorite colors were green and purple. So uniquely him, I loved it! His twin sister (and their older brother) however, at some point, got to him about purple being a girl color and he reluctantly changed his favorite color to blue, the favorite color of his older brother. It made me so sad!! He was crushed. I tried to reassure him it was okay, but to no avail- I was too late. He never smiles about blue like he used to smile about purple :(

On the flip side, his now-teenage older brother has started wearing bright-pink t-shirts because he has discovered "chicks dig guys in pink shirts!" Ha!

In any case, when Captain Destructo gets his own book, I think he should wear pink :)

p.s. You're an AWESOME mom, Jacqui!! :)

Jacqui said...

anne, yes. It's one of the things no one warns you about, isn't it?

Thanks, mysimplegreenbaby. We read Free to Be You and Me all the time and I always wonder where the world went wrong.

Anne, the funny thing is, I think it happens to a lot of boys (see below). Hopefully we are making headway...

Liz, that makes me sad. And yes: pink used to be considered "red junior" so it was given to boys as little warriors. No idea why it changed.

ephelba, I am too charmed by your picture to comment thoughtfully :)

Ann, the cars and trucks one is even more prevalent, I think.

Boni, so sad! Interestingly, Tink hates when people make assumptions about her because she's a girl, but it took her awhile to leave Destructo alone about the pink. Now, though, she is his staunchest defender. And thanks.

Michelle said...

Jacqui...I just fond your blog and I wanted to let you know I've made that same "rant" many times over. For us, it really seems that things have gotten somewhat easier over time. Perhaps it's because we purposefully surround ourselves with a loving, accepting community (and homeschool) so that when my 5 1/2 year old son is with the greater public he has such a sense of confidence about it that I can't help but be proud. We went through a three month stretch where he was afraid to wear pink or dress up clothes because my mother tried to physically remove us from my dying grandfather's hospital room b/c of what my son was wearing. He had on all pink, pink sparkly shoes and fairy wings. Over a year later, we no longer have a relationship with my parents because they actively oppose our choices to let him be himself freely and I have not looked back and questioned that decision one bit. I hope that it gets easier for all of us at some point down the road! {{hugs}}

Jacqui said...

Michelle, thanks so much for your comments and encouragement. I'm sorry it's been such a tough road and glad he's come out of it still smiling and pink!