The Problem With Pink

It all started when we tried to buy my daughter a bicycle for her fourth birthday. Oh, who am I kidding. It started when we found out we were pregnant with my daughter even though we wouldn’t know she was a “daughter” until the day of her birth. Waiting to find out the sex of your child is pure torture for your family and friends, and I highly recommend it. We wanted to be surprised, and we didn’t want our entire world to turn pink or blue just yet.


Five years can make quite a difference in the world of baby gear. Gender neutral for our first pregnancy meant a lot of ducks.  Like a lot. I’m not sure who decided that baby ducks were equally appealing to little girls and little boys, but their lack of imagination annoys me to this day. Today the options are much more trendy and much less ornithological. Nevertheless, we successfully navigated a pregnancy without knowing the gender of our child. But as soon as she was born, shades of pink dominated our lives and her wardrobe.


To be fair, I like pink. I did ballet as a kid, played with Barbies, pretended to be a Disney princess, and in many regards followed traditional gender roles, and sometimes stereotypes. And I don’t think I am totally ruined as an adult. But don’t we all look at parenting as a chance to do better? To create a better version of ourselves? So, I decided that I wanted my daughter to play sports in addition to dancing ballet. I wanted her to realize that pink and purple, hearts and ice cream, sweetie and cuties, did not have to dominate her closet. I wanted her to aspire to be more than a princess, to be the hero of her own story.


Back to the bike. My daughter wanted nothing more than a “big girl bike” for her fourth birthday. And do you know what I learned? It is almost impossible to get a bike for a girl that isn’t pink or isn’t decorated with a princess or a Barbie. And it really frustrated me. Unless we were willing to drop an inappropriate amount of money for a child’s bike, our options were pink or pink and purple. I would have been happy to see ducks. My frustration rose to a boiling point when an associate at Walmart saw her gleefully riding a red bike, perfect for any child, and said to her, “Sweetie, don’t you want a girl’s bike?”


At the tender age of four, my daughter’s options should not be so dramatically limited. What I want for her is exactly the same thing I want for my other two children, both boys. I want her to be able to choose who she wants to be in this world. Maybe who she wants to be is a pretty princess who wears nothing but tulle and pearls. But maybe she wants to be a construction worker. Maybe she wants to be an athlete who rolls her eyes at the thought of wearing a dress. And maybe, and most likely, she will want to be a combination of all of these things, because aren’t we all a little complicated?


So, that’s the problem with pink. It’s just not enough. I want all of the colors of the rainbow for her. I want ballerinas and Ninjas and ballerina Ninjas. My daughter will have plenty of time to choose who she wants to be in life, so for now I am perfectly happy watching her in a muddy tutu ride her red bike down the street.




  • Caitie

    Reply Reply October 11, 2017

    I love this!

    I have a 7 year old son (and Ninja at the GrandPark academy) who, if you ask any of the old ladies at church, is “all boy.” That phrase has annoyed me from the get go because I think he’s a lot like I was as a kid and I have been in possession of 2 X-chromosomes from birth, but people seem to get a good idea of what you’re talking about when you say it… he’s rambunctious and rowdy and climbs trees and gets dirty and loves superheros and thinks farts are funny and so on. That being said, his favorite color has been pink since he was in preschool and I did my level best to make sure he never thought there was anything wrong with that.

    Fast forward to this summer, we were at Bed, Bath and Beyond trying to find new curtains for his room and not having much luck, so when I asked an employee, she said, “well we have these few in girl colors and these few in boy colors.” And without missing a beat, my son politely, but with zero hesitation, looked at her and said, “there’s no such thing as boy colors and girl colors.” I just about cheered out loud at that!! I did give him a high five and tell him he was exactly right, and when he told me a couple weeks later he wished he had a pink t-shirt, I took the opportunity to not only get him one, but put those awesome words on it too!! It turned out so awesome, we ended up putting it in our shop so others could do the same!! 😀

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