Gender Neutral Clothing-Whats Your View ?
Is This A New World Of Gender Politics?
Are we stuck in a time portal where girls have to wear pink and boys have to wear blue?
It's one of the undeniable truths of having children. Whether you're having a child of your own or you're shopping for someone else, you're bound to be frustrated or puzzled by the idea that in the 21st century we still seem to be bound by the idea that pink is for girls and blue is for boys. I was born and bred in Coventry, UK and my family still go by Gender colours, to which in some ways this is the way things were for me growing up. For me i felt like it was wrong to dress children in clothes that gender stereotyped them.
It had taken me until i was 18 and married (YES 18, SO YOUNG BUT WOULD NEVER REGRET)
I met and married a man i met through my workplace (KFC, boring i know)
Having a husband from India, obviously we had two weddings. English wedding in the UK and the other in India.
India is a peaceful, loving country. I found peace while there, its really is a spiritual country. I did find it quite hard to understand that in India all babies are dressed in what ever colour the parents like. When i was in India i seen girls in Blues and Greens, Boys In Pink and Yellow sometimes even with little ponytails in their hair. In India there is no such thing as Pink for a Girl and Blue for a Boy. India is country of gender neutralness when its comes to clothing.
We got pregnant with our first child in 2011 it was a overwhelming suprise, but a very much welcomed one. Just after our 12 week scan we told everyone we knew. The were as ecstatic as us.
The following day my husband came home from work with a bag from Next.('What's in the bag, babe')
He pulled a few items from the bag- blue blanket, blue sleepsuits, superman outfit.
Erm!!! Hello but we don't even know if it's a boy or girl. 'What the hell you talking about, i liked these clothes so i bought them for our child', he said.
Well we had our gender scan a few weeks later, we were having a little girl.
My daughter my best friend, amazing times to come.
Our little princess was born in Aug 2011 such a beautiful little angel who could steal anyone's heart.
We named her Jasmine, so excited we brought her home from hospital. My husband had chosen to put her in the light blue sleep suit with a cute teddy bear on the chest which he had chosen a few months before. I didn't have a problem at all with putting blue on our child.
Well, it all changed when we arrived home from the hospital with our little Jasmine all wrapped up in blue.
Near enough my whole family was at home to welcome us.
'What the F*** have your put on the poor girl', my Grandma says
'She's not a boy!! she exclaimed.
'Err yes i know, but who cares what clothes we put on its not going to change her gender , is it'?
Well for the way i spoke, my grandma didnt like this. She actually stopped talking to me for a while.
Yes, just over putting blue on a girl.
Good God , damn it the 21st century. Let me be the one to decide what i can and cant put on my children.
Long story short, we had fallen out for about 3 months, she had eventually came round, but didn't apologise. Neither did i for that matter. Life just carried on as normal.
Finding gender-neutral clothes, accessories and toys within the UK can still be a challenge, and if you dress a little girl in blue? People are still going to assume she's a boy. It wasn't always that way, and if you do some digging into the history of how we identify our children, you'll find it's been a far from straight road to get to where we are today. Jo B. Paoletti is a professor at the University of Maryland, where she focuses on the clothing and textile industry along with the history of fashion and its role in American pop culture. She's also the author of a book called Pink and Blue: Telling the Boys from the Girls in America, and she's done a ton of work on this topic.
She started with looking at what families did before pink and blue were even a thing, and found that for centuries it was completely gender-neutral clothing that was in favour. That meant dresses for boys and girls, and both were typically dressed in white. It was a practical matter rather than one of fashion, as it was easy enough to bleach dirtied clothes when they were all white. It wasn't until kids turned 6 or 7 years old that they started adopting a method of dress that was more in line with what their parents were wearing, and that was about the same time they got their first haircuts, too.
How often do you see little boys in tops emblazoned with ‘Champion’ while girls clothing have less empowering slogans splashed across them such as ‘Princess’ or ‘Mummy’s Little Helper?’ It’s vital that we move away from these demeaning sentiments on girls t-shirts and tops and create a more gender-neutral attitude to children’s clothing. John Lewis, has already gone so far as removing the ‘boys’ and ‘girls’ labels in their ranges. The traditional aisles of blue and pink are no more allowing parents and kids to select their clothing based on their likes rather than social conformity.
Growing up in the 21st Century is tough enough as it is without having to worry about your position in society because of your gender. As responsible parents, it’s vital that we are able to teach our kids how to be mature citizens of the world with a sense of justice and fairness. The world is moving in the right direction, and it’s now up to us to keep up the momentum for gender equality.
Have you fallen out with your family or friends for trying to make a decision about your children?