My Son’s Favorite Color Is Pink And People Are Losing Their Minds

boy pinkMy son’s favorite color is pink and most people hate it.

It started on his second birthday when his sister was born.  Even though we didn’t buy anything new for our second child, we received the obligatory gifts of pink blankets and toys.  Our family kept it to the bare minimum but it was enough to catch the eye of our perceptive toddler. Envious of the new baby, he coveted everything small and pink.  From there, it took on a life of its own. Pink straw, pink cup, pink crayon, pink cookie. Everything had to be pink. He openly announced to everyone “pink is MY favorite color.”

Some warn me “he is going to be a pansy.” Of course these people also know me and the fact that I discourage competition and hate the word “winning.”  His love of pink seems to push them over the edge.  But if being a “pansy” means they are insinuating he will be weak, all evidence is to the contrary.  Even at three years old he knows what he likes.  Since declaring his favorite hue at school, he has been met with the tired claim that “pink is for girls” from his peers.  He doesn’t care. He maintains every day that he loves the color.  Weak, my ass.  This kid knows what he likes and stands behind it.  A year and a half since his first declaration, he hasn’t backed off in his passion for pink.  That’s like a decade in toddler years.

Eighteen months into this trend, I’ve seen him tell quite a few people about his favorite color. Without fail, he always gets a reaction.  Some pause a moment and simply accept it, but others are visibly uncomfortable with his preference.  Tactics range from distraction, “don’t you want this BLUE thing instead?” to the negative, “no, boys don’t like pink.”  I am surprised how many people — in New York City, where we live — try to dissuade him from picking pink all the time. We’re talking everyone from babysitters to class moms.

Although I will admit there is a certain symmetry in this situation.  My favorite color as a child was pink and many family members tried to talk me out of it.  It enraged my feminist mother.  She was trying to raise a daughter who didn’t buy into commercial notions of what made her a woman.  She wanted it to be my choice.  And I choose pink, despite the fact that I never owned a Barbie or learned to bake.  At five years old I didn’t think of pink as girly.  It was simply pleasing to my eye. Now my son has the same feelings.  I can’t change that and I don’t want to.  I also don’t think it has larger implications as to his sexuality or his “toughness.”  It’s just a color and it is one he likes.

What is far more disappointing is my son’s peers repeating the outdated mantra.  They tease him, “pink is for girls!”   Really?  With all the feminist backlash about marketers targeting girls with pink and all the availability in men’s fashion, I would think people had given up on this silly notion.

If they are inappropriately and offensively inferring he will be gay because he likes the color pink, they need to arrive here in the year 2012.  I’ve worked on Wall Street and I can tell you straight men in finance wear pink to work.  Not only that, but gay men regularly don neutral tones.  Can you imagine?  Members of the gay community masking themselves in blue, black or brown?  It’s true.  The color pink is simply a preference — some human beings like it, some don’t.

If my son is gay I will support him 100% but I doubt if he has any clue about sexuality at the age of three.  Even if he did, I can be certain he isn’t ready to decide his life-long mating habits in preschool.  Determining one’s own identity — sexual and otherwise — is a long and often winding road — but I can promise you it doesn’t start with deciding pink is your favorite color.

(photo: ElisemkII/ Shutterstock)

You can reach this post's author, Carinn Jade, on twitter.
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    • Meagan Senesac

      People are so ridiculous when it comes to gender and color. If my second child ends up being a girl, I will have no issue with putting her in clothes that my son is currently wearing, even if others think they are too masculine. It’s too bad that you and your son have to deal with such ridiculousness!

      • http://twitter.com/MamaHasSnacks Carinn Jade

        Thank you! I have a daughter now and she wears many hand me downs from my son. People call her a boy ALL the time. She has these big beautiful blue eyes and I think dark blue looks great on her. Can you imagine – everyone thinks she is a boy just because she isn’t dressed head to toe in pink? It’s painful.

      • Nyx

        Same here Carinn…my partner and I dress our baby girl in clothes that are comfy, not those that are ‘girls colours’…I also happen to prefer blues (and greens and purples) so that’s how I dress my baby (I’m the one who looks at her 24 hours a day so it’s my choice LoL) One of my sisters friends actually threatened (and only half jokingly) to call DOCS (department of child services here in Australia) because she couldn’t believe I wasn’t dressing my baby as a girl…madness

        Good on you for supporting your boy.

    • gnatselbow

      It’s a color. It means nothing. Good for you for supporting your son.

    • http://twitter.com/NotASquib Nizabeth Bennet

      People are stupid and small-minded. Colours don’t have genders or signify sexuality.

    • aileen_t

      Actually, until about the 1920′s pink was consindered a masculine color. All little kids until the age of 5 or 6 wore white dresses (white could be washed and bleached) and long hair. There’s a photo of FDR as a little boy in a dress if you search for it you can find it. Not that it matters I know plenty of men who like pink. This whole pink thing is just a fad who knows what little kids will be wearing 30 years from now.

      • http://www.facebook.com/helen.donovan.31 Helen Donovan

        And blue used to be a girl color (allegedly the blue association was to Virgin Mary) Pink was “male” because it was a milder version of the bold “manly” red. Also, pansies are tough flowers, they just prefer cold to heat. They bloom through the winter least up to Virginia and can be seen sticking above light ice and snow. People can be such sheep. They should shut up and let your enjoy himself.

      • http://twitter.com/MamaHasSnacks Carinn Jade

        Love this bit about the pansies! Thanks for sharing Helen.

    • LiteBrite

      I think a lot of kids like pink, both female and male, because it’s a bright, noticeable color which is attractive to their eyes. My son also likes pink. It’s not his favorite, but he has chosen pink toys, etc in the past. I don’t think it means he’s a “pansy” or “potentially gay.” It’s just a color he likes, just as orange and red are colors **I** like.

      I imagine at some point he (and your son) will grow out of hisliking for the color due to pressure. But for now? Eh, let the boy like what he likes. :)

    • quinn

      If you had a daughter and she was into trucks, superheroes, and the color blue then nobody would say anything negative to you. It seems as though there is a double standard for male children when they are interested in anything considered ‘girly’. I have always made a big deal out of telling my own 3.5 year old daughter that, “Nothing is just for boys or just for girls.” On any given day you can see her dressed up in a little princess dress, or wearing her Spiderman costume that she dressed in for Halloween last year. I would tell the same thing to a boy, and I think you are doing SUCH a wonderful job by accepting and not making a huge deal out of a color preference. Also, I think your son is a pretty awesome little dude for being able to ignore other people’s hang-ups and power on with enjoying what HE likes because HE likes it. Very strong.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Carmen-Finnigan/841528248 Carmen Finnigan

      I know another little boy who loves pink. I heard this bit of wisdom from a child “colours are for everyone”.

    • Ophelia

      I’ve always felt the best way to respond to a child telling you their favorite colour is to tell them your favorite colour, especially if it has a nice name, like Turquoise or Carmine or Cerulean. It’s completely non-judgmental, opens up new ideas and allows them to change their mind later if they want (I was a stubborn child, if someone didn’t like my choice it would lock it in for a seriously long time).

    • Nat

      I wore blue and green dinosaur shirts as a little kid. Guess I’m a lesbian. My boyfriend will be so upset.

    • K.

      Three is way too early to determine your kid’s sexuality.

      It is NOT to early, however, to determine that your kid has spunk!

    • Amy

      Great post! I blog about my pink-loving boys at http://www.pinkisforboys.com. It all started with an article I found on the history of gender and colors. There is a link from this post-http://pinkisforboys.com/?p=44

    • http://www.facebook.com/shannon.kalmarzi Shannon Kalmarzi

      My son is 3, and his favorite color is pink as well. It catches some funny looks sometimes. But since when does color dictate sexuality? And even if he were gay, that’s my boy, he is who he is and we love him unconditionally. I’m amused that someone else has a strong willed little man who likes pink as much as mine does.

    • JayD

      Interesting … I come from a society and a time where the color’s were switched. Red Hues (including pink) for boys, Blue for girls. Born Belgium, 70′s. Well perception right?

    • Metamech

      There are so many things wrong with this is entry that I honestly don’t know where to start.

      Let me just say this: if man was somehow killed off and there was nothing left but women and babies of both sexes, all boys within 20 years would look like girls and neither sex would have any desire to procreate. 

      Oh and businesses would shut down due to lack of desire to compete. 

      Today’s feminism is vehemently twisted. 

      • http://www.facebook.com/ash.whirt Ash Whirt

        What?

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    • Bruce D Shelton

      I have never cared much for the color pink, even though I am as gay as a picnic basket, and have KNOWN I was gay since at least FIFTH grade. (Although I seem to recall knowing I was ‘different’ *before* I learned what ‘gay’ meant.)

    • doxgukka

      my BIL has BANNED his boys from wearing pink, or purple. My sister had a bag of clothes she was getting rid of so I looked through it and noticed a little orange flannel shirt – tags still on it. I said this is new, why you getting rid of it? she told me how my mum had bought it for her son but because it had a pink pinstripe in it her husband would not let her son wear it…. fast forward my mum coming back from china with gifts in tow she has a super cute kids hat with a bear face and ears on it (like a truckers style cap) my sister says no, dan wont let the boys wear that it has pink…. it was blue with some dark pink.. i said ill take that for my future kids then who will rock the shit out of it!! I mean seriously, her sons ONLY wear blue, green or red. It is freaking sad.