• Laura Madden

To Pink or Not to Pink


My sister and I have been joining in a lot of discussions lately. Many of them are about justice, injustice, the pain of loss, the struggle of getting by, and the chaotic transition we are all going through. But they always land back on the essential things that connect us -- family, community, compassion, caring...LOVE.

Yesterday we landed on the topic of how we consciously and subconsciously impose old worn out gender stereotypes on children at very young ages. The funny thing is that even the fact that we have to teach and convince kids on these things should be a clue to us that we are messing with nature and redefining "normal."

We are talking about very simple things, like buying pink clothes for girls, blue clothes for boys, trucks vs. dolls, and even the books we choose that show girls as nurses rather than astronauts. There is nothing wrong with girls in pink (if they like pink) or boys with trucks. But girls like trucks and boys like pink. It's ok.

I was quite surprised to see a "tough-guy" father across the street from us "letting" his little boy wander around the front yard and driveway in his mother's high heeled shoes and a frilly shirt as a dress. When asked about it, he said it did no harm and it was better to let him do it than upset him by forcing him to stop. It was beautiful. This little boy did not learn from his Dad that it was somehow wrong or weak to be a woman, and so many other things. And maybe he also learned that it is not so easy to walk around in Mommy's shoes. Why does society make mommy wear those uncomfortable shoes????

It is quite liberating in fact to just let them be and learn from them. Children are born with curiosity, compassion, joy, endless energy to learn, create and dream. It is crazy how much time we spend redirecting and interfering with that.

Now, full disclosure, I have never had kids (although I have been involved to help at every stage for many). I know and respect that there are all kinds of foundations you want to lay as parents to protect them and help them "succeed" in life. That is admirable and loving. It is hard not to fit in. But I think maybe we have to quit defining success and acceptance in old worn out terms. I am convinced that these new generations of super-humans are coming here to free us and awaken us -- the adults -- to what it us to be a limitless human. We need to get back to our need for curiosity, compassion, joy and endless energy to learn, create and dream.

I found this website as I was googling the topic of gender stereotypes in children called Pinkstinks. I laughed. I never liked pink, and refused to wear it until pretty late in life (denying myself many vibrant and pretty pleasures lol). I am sure it was because of the box it put me in -- "pretty, pleasant and politely imprisoned."

Society today does not gender stereotype AS MUCH as in the past, but it is inside of us and we need to open up, free ourselves from judgement and polite imprisonment.

"Why fit in when you were born to stand out?" Dr. Seuss

#diversity #compassionalliance #creativeemergence #liveandlearn



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