Monday, March 13, 2006

"Pink is my signature color."

So Pregnant Neighbor found out she's having a girl. She's all about the sugar & spice & everything nice; she wants to "bring on the pretty--pink and purple and butterflies and flowers and rainbows and GIRL stuff." She says she's done with construction workers and dinosaurs and blue; she wants ballerinas and dollies instead.

Over the weekend, I decided to knit a hat for the baby, and I was so torn about the color. I wanted to use a ball of pale peach Debbie Bliss cotton/merino I'd just purchased, but I figured Pregnant Neighbor would hate it. Then I almost opted for a bright celery/lemon cotton stripe; I was set on that until Petunia showed me a ball of palest pink. I was torn: If I made the baby a pink hat, wouldn't I be giving in to traditional expectations for girls? On the other hand, what good is a handknit hat if the baby's mother hates it? The gift was meant to welcome the baby and to honor Pregnant Neighbor's excitement, not to push my own values. In the end, I made the pink hat.

Pregnant Neighbor opened her gift this morning, and she was thrilled. It turns out she's never received anything handmade for any of her children, which nearly made me cry. She was so touched that she wants to use the hat for the baby's going home hat--again, cry city. But her favorite part, far and away: "It's pink!"



Blogger Hashbrown said...

You are a good neighbor and person. I think the act outweighs the thoughts prior to the act. Your kindness truely made her day.

12:58 PM  
Blogger Canada said...

Blush and Bashful, baby, Blush and Bashful! FYI, we had lots of green and white and peach, and some pink for "Clara", but she just LOVES pink. And purple. And pink. And dresses, dresses, dresses, unless it's time to switch to skirts. Whatever, as long as she's wearing clothes!

On the hat note - both my kids loved both hats from you and Petunia, and they still wear the yellow and red striped one.You rock, sistah!

1:30 PM  
Anonymous Jenny PP said...

You're so sweet! That's a cute story. Pink!

1:47 PM  
Blogger Clementine said...

Hester's nursery is butter yellow with lots of tangerine, peach, and grass green accents (we're going with Cleo the Cat illustrations as our inspiration). And his/her linens are mostly blue, green, and yellow, though I'm knitting her/him 2 orange blankets, too. Her/his bibs are mostly pink and purple. It's not that I'm against pink--I like pink and wear it myself, plus it was my own signature color when I was little. It's just that I can't buy into the whole "boy clothes" and "girl clothes" thing. And I also don't believe it matters whether strangers think your baby is a boy or a girl--this is the major justification for Pregnant Neighbor's pink preference. She nearly died when she visited at lunchtime and saw my 3 boys decked out in pink and purple bibs.

When I was in college, I read this classic study about gender stereotyping. Subjects were called into a room where a researcher held a baby, and they were asked to hold the baby while the researcher left the room. In half of the experiments, the baby wore a pink sleeper; in the other half, the same baby wore a blue sleeper. Researchers watched the subjects talk to the baby and recorded what they said to her/him. It turned out that if the baby was in pink, they commented on "her" prettiness, cuteness, sweetness, etc. If that same baby was in blue, they commented on "his" strength, solidity, toughness, etc. I always think of that study when I see babies out and about in the world.

1:56 PM  

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