Pink Has Nothing to Do With Modern Womanhood

Jeanne Sager

pink tightsOne childhood photo of me in a pink dress aside, I have never been particularly girly.

So when I saw Ashley Sayeau's Salon essay this week "Help! My Daughter is a Girly Girl," I hopped up and down -- yes, yes, you're talking to me!

Then I hit the subhead: "She wears pink sparkles and angel wings, and I worry she's learning the wrong lessons about womanhood."

It's an oversimplification of Sayeau's more nuanced post, but it gave me pause in part because my aversion to pink is primarily because it's long been associated with the sort of girliness that makes me roll my eyes.

It is a '50s housewife saying "yes dear," before scurrying off to get a glass of beer for the husband. It is the tween girl giggling like a loon while a boy demeans her to her face because, God bless her, she doesn't care that he's a jerk -- he's paying attention to her.

But four and a half years into mothering a girl who loves her sparkles and parades in her pinks, I have to admit the color does not make the woman. It is nothing but frothy cotton candy -- pink or blue or what have you -- on my child's mind.

Placed side-by-side with a classmate who is equally as entranced by dress up, princesses and Barbies, and it may be that uber mama in me, but I can't help but make a comparison of character. Not a comparison I share with either child -- I'm not that crazy -- but the chance to assess her beside her foil is what's pushed me past the automatic gag at the sight of yet another tutu that's a bit too much.

So far, at least, I am pleased to report she is no wilting flower, and a future of songwriter and classroom teacher (ideas of the moment) have kept little homemaker well out of the picture. Most telling, perhaps, was a classroom aide who recently announced "She's a take charge kind of lady."

"So she's bossy?" I asked. "It's OK, you can say it."

The aide grinned. Yes, she's bossy, she admitted, but she's a girl in the classroom who doesn't take any guff -- particularly from the boys. And, she hastened to add, it's not a problem.

As long as it's not gone over the edge into obnoxiousness, as long as she's simply holding her own, I think we can say that a penchant for pink hasn't destroyed her path to womanhood. It's simply along for the ride.

Do you throw your hands up at all the pink?

Image via Anna Loverus/Flickr

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