Nic Heath over at The Dawn Chorus on the ubiquitous custom of parents colour-coding their children according to gender:
Dressing a newborn in either pink or blue is not a benign social tradition. Like expecting a woman to change her name upon marriage, it is an unquestioned convention that is hugely symbolic – in this case of the enormous gulf between sex and gender, and the widespread indifference to this disparity. In contemporary society pink and blue each carry codes of behaviour that children comprehend at a very young age…
A girl in pink will be encouraged to be passive and appearance obsessed. She will have different opportunities to her brother in blue, and different expectations placed upon her. Despite her own personality, she will have been shaped by forces beyond her control all her life – without ever really exercising her choice.
It’s a good point. If these gender differences are innate, then why do we feel the need to impose them before the child has ever expressed any opinion on the subject?
I’m painting the nursery walls green.*
*Well, to be honest, probably off-white. But you know what I mean.