The pink debate

It is that time of the year again.

Just like that, we find a note from the teacher in our Summer Camp backpack with this years supplies list. And so it begins, yet another quest for glue sticks and select a size paper towels. I am no closer to understanding why we need to contribute 200 Dixie cups, nore do I really care.

Seeing how this year my son is older and ever so opinionated, I thought I should take him shopping. Also it rained and I was not too crazy about watching the demolition site documentary, again. So we went to our local department store.

Little J insisted to hold and read the list. Then somewhere in between electronics and fragrances he told me there are shoes on his list. I double checked because I do, as all other mothers, believe my son is a genius who is capable of teaching himself to read.  No shoes, just above mentioned bizarre items.

I was in rare form, because the next thing I know we are in the kids shoe section. Looking back, it is a good thing he did not misread his imaginary list addendum and we ended up buying a new ostrich or bobsled. Anyhow, the selection was limited, as I am sure is the case in most small town shops. He looked around and settled on a pair of Chucks. I started looking for his size in red or black.

And then Little J said:  MAMA WHAT ABOUT THE PINK ONES?

Me: What about them?

Little J: Do they have my size?

Me: Do you like the pink ones?

Little J: It is not my favorite color, only my fifth favorite. But I don’t see the blue or green or aquamarine.

Me: You will wear pink sneakers to school? You don’t think they are a bit girly?

Little J: Girls wear blue and green. And Erika wore red last week.

Me: Well sure, but you don’t see many boys wearing pink.

Little J: Daddy has a pink shirt and  I have a pink shirt.

Me: True. OK, I will look.

Turns out they did not have his size.  In fact I realized he is still on the toddler side when it comes to Chucks, so we ended up buying the only pair they had in 9- hi top black ones. OK, they had high top pink ones too, but I kept quiet.

I always thought I was kind of cool. I let my son have long hair, because he likes it. I let him put pepper and salt on his dark chocolate, because he likes it. But I struggled with the image of him going to school in low, bright pink Chuck Taylors.

A day later I still don’t know why. Because with this attitude I am sure he could get away with it.

Would you buy pink Chucks for a boy?

This post was linked to the one and only
Wednesday Words of Wisdom
Because your vote will ultimately count as the wisdom of my friends. So here is your chance to democratically voice your opinion. Just click yes or no. Promise it is not a trick question.



55 thoughts on “The pink debate”

  1. Twitter: prettynotpink
    Found this post on a random trawl for things related to my website. Thanks for making me giggle – love the photo. My little brother insisted on bright red shoes for his first pair. At the time (mid-80s), they were considered incredibly girly but my parents went with it and he wore them well… I’m sure your son would have done the same, although I don’t know if I would have bought them either.

    It’s hard managing that fine line between pushing for gender equality and not letting your child fall into a situation where they could be bullied.
    Mel (Pretty But Not Pink) recently posted..Tights Please!

    1. Twitter: NorthWestMommy
      I love how your parents got your brother the red shoes. I think after all this great support I might have the courage if I get asks the same next time.
      Your website is lovely. Bet lots of moms are relieved to find clothes for their girls that is not pink!

  2. Twitter: kiddothings
    Arggh…I’m struggling to pick an answer. I really don’t know. I might be able to handle a less pinkish one. Not a bright pink colour. I might let him wear them till his 6 only. But then again pink is for everyone, not just girls. I might think of starting a pink movement for boys first to get more boys to wear pink shoes.

    This is a dilemma. I voted anyway.
    Kiddothings recently posted..Son Wrote His First Storybook

    1. Twitter: NorthWestMommy
      If a few others started wearing them, it would be easier! But I guess one of us has to be the trend setter right?

  3. Twitter: MamaWantsThis
    I love his new shoes!

    I wouldn’t be able to buy my son pink anything as his father is a manly man, and doesn’t understand why boys and men need to wear pink when they can wear blue, blue and blue.

    Just being honest. Don’t shoot me, Stasha and Stasha’s readers. We have nothing against pink, or males who like pink. It’s just our household. Even I don’t like pink. We are a strictly dull monotonously family who frequently dress in blue, black white and grey. Yes, I’m talking about me. My son does wear orange, yellow and green a lot.

    Am I over-explaining myself? Yes, I think I am. Will stop now.
    Alison@Mama Wants This recently posted..Guest Posting on Guest Posting

    1. Twitter: NorthWestMommy
      I hear you. Pink is not on top of my list either. But I have bought a pink button up shirt for Little J and he rocked it. Then, when he grew it out, I gave it to my neighbour’s daughter. Although my grandpa tought me buttons are on opposite sides for male and female garments. So perhaps my friends 3 year old daughter will be viewed as wearing boys clothes?

    1. Twitter: NorthWestMommy
      It is a pity I agree. But many years ago, before we had a child, my husband and I were at the airport and this cute one year old kept smiling at us. She was wearing baby blue t shirt and jeans and I told her mom she was the cutest boy I have ever seen. Talk about embarassing! Guess I am guilty of it too.

  4. I can see why you’d be wary. But he makes a great point – girls wear whatever color they want! We’re the ones who tell boys what they can’t/shouldn’t wear. Your boy sounds like a pretty cool kid and you’re right – he could probably pull it off.. I’ll have to try salt & pepper on my dark chocolate now. 🙂
    Mrs. Jen B recently posted..It’s The Great Pumpkin, Mrs. B!

    1. Twitter: NorthWestMommy
      There are chocolates with salt and pepper out the. So I cannot believe he came up with it on his own too. It gives it a nice kick.

  5. Twitter: mommyrachelle
    you know, we have male students who rock the pink chucks all the time… it really is about attitude. It’s not being feminine to choose them, though around here my son’s father would flip about the purchase (so I’d have to refrain). My son is growing up in a house of women and I’ve already caught him playing in make up and wanting to wear nail polish.
    Rachelle recently posted..Hey School: bring it on!

    1. Twitter: NorthWestMommy
      My son randomly tell me he likes my shirt or shoes. I have no idea where this comes from since I am not girly myself at all. But whenever I wear something nice, he notices. Perhaps he is so inclined anyway…
      And I would date a dude wearing pink Chucks. Now talk about double standards, shame in me.

  6. Twitter: smellsofborscht
    In my opinion, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with a boy wearing pink chucks. Would I let Sammy wear them, though? It depends. See, the reason it would work on little J is that he’s a badass – and seems to totally run his own show, and is totally cool with it. I mean, who puts salt and pepper on their chocolate? I bet he’s the kind of kid who if he were to be poked fun at, he’d make the other kids feel stupid for making fun of him.
    Bill recently posted..Phase Three of Life is Guest Posting!

    1. Twitter: NorthWestMommy
      Thank you Bill. I think he would be able to take the shots too. I saw him at the playground the other day telling the kid that was throwing pebbles into his face to stop. And he insisted on not moving away and kept calmly telling him that hurts and is not nice and he should stop.
      Next time, if he brings them up again, I think I just might be brave enough!

    1. Twitter: NorthWestMommy
      I agree with you. Aside from what I think, my job really should be to encourage him to be himself. That is the tricky part though. We want them to be mini versions of ourselves because that is what we can deal with best. And I suppose we want to protect them from the world, cause we learned from experience. Then again, if I don’t let him, we will never know if he could have handled it, right?

  7. I didn’t vote because I’m really not sure. I have two sons. I wouldn’t care what they wear at this age as long as it clean and mostly matches. But I think my husband would have a fit. So….

    Your son’s take on colors is excellent! Love how he pointed out that girls wear traditional “boy” colors. He has a point!
    Holly recently posted..The first day of VPK preschool

    1. Twitter: NorthWestMommy
      I am always left speechless when his argument outweighed mine. Which is often. Kids see world black and White. Maybe we should too.

  8. Twitter: finallymom
    oh boy!! :))) i voted NO but that’s b/c i wouldn’t buy them for my girl, either b/c i HATE pink. thing is that i can say this today b/c she’s not at the point where she’s asking for a specific thing yet (other than peas or fries or apple). but you DID look for them and the thing is, i think he totally could’ve rocked them! though i will admit, i LOVE the high (black) ones on him. and i ADORE his hair.
    christina recently posted..Sometimes

    1. Twitter: NorthWestMommy
      Thank you Christina. Brace yourself, kids ask you so many things that question your perspective and your believes. It is a very humbling experience, this motherhood. Isn’t it?

  9. Stasha, I love this photo! Your son could be in ads, he is so good-looking 🙂 I think he could pull off the pink shoes, but I didn’t vote, because I have no idea what it’s like to have a son (nor a brother). Girls run in our family for generations, and for my girls who love their Spiderman, Captain America, and Batman costumes, I find it easy for them to wear these ‘boyish’ type things and their boy friends love playing with them more when they wear these costumes. But I don’t know how it works for boys who want to wear pink shoes. I think at such a young age the children wouldn’t see it as different, especially if you son was so fond of them and happy to be in them, but I’d probably be like you, riding the fence on it and leaning towards no to be safe he didn’t get teased. I’m curious if he’ll want to go back to see if the store has his size in those shoes next time you go, or if he’ll forget about the pink shoes and be happy in the ones he has on?
    Kim recently posted..Silencing the Pain

    1. Twitter: NorthWestMommy
      I wonder that too. But to add to this, you know where we shop. And you know where my husnband works. And my son wo his shoes to the cashier! I think that probably made it even harder, specially since kids shoes are located next to the uniform items.
      I love how your daughter is so into superheros. I was a total tomboy, growing up leaving with my grandfather who was a retired general. It was for the best, he always told me after having three daughters I was his first ‘son’. And I ended up being a fight attendant. So there.

  10. Well, you know how I feel about pink in general. Never a good color and then my life became awash in the stupid color because of breast cancer. I was in Manhattan last summer, and I saw a man – a very hip, confident, attractive – wearing pink jeans. Somehow he made it work. So while my son wouldn’t touch pink anything with a barge pole, some guys could perhaps turn the color back to a self-respecting place in the spectrum. Go for it!

    1. Twitter: NorthWestMommy
      I was surprised he wanted those pink shoes since he is not really surrounded by girls. Who knows? And I like a nice looking man in pink. But a beautiful woman wearing too much pink is too Barbie, no? Now I am going all double standards…

  11. Twitter: runnermomjen
    I like the black ones…not that I don’t think he couldn’t have pulled the pink ones off, but I would hate if he was teased by the other kids for wearing girl’s shoes.

    1. Twitter: NorthWestMommy
      True Jen, the teasing bit worried me too! And thank you, these Chucks are giving him a bit of a bad boy attitude 😉

  12. Twitter: amountainmomma
    Thats a tough one, Stasha. On the one hand, you want your kids to make their own choices, good choices, and support equality and acceptance. On the other, you don’t want your kid to be bullied by other mean kids, especially when he is so young. But who knows, maybe that wouldn’t happen these days. Things are changing. Maybe you should get him some pink shoe laces as a compromise…
    Theresa recently posted..Don’t Worry About it Momma {Wednesday Words of Wisdom}

    1. Twitter: NorthWestMommy
      My pleasure. Yours is my favourite link up. Makes me feel very sophisticated.

    1. Twitter: NorthWestMommy
      Thank you. He is a cute one. It helps a lot when he is having an annoying moment…

    1. Twitter: NorthWestMommy
      Thank you Jacqui. I knew I could count on you for pink support. Will ask him to model the button soon.

  13. Such a great question. I voted yes, just because I think kids need to be allowed to express themselves…as long as they don’t go overboard. And pink chucks are not overboard, IMO. I think we need to let our boys be boys, even if society thinks the way they are is sometimes a little girlie. 🙂
    Jennie recently posted..Worst Memory

    1. Twitter: NorthWestMommy
      I love this Jennie! Boys are boys even when they are a little girly. Perfect!

  14. No vote without thinking pink, but watching your child well I think the pink does not look bad, and has very good logic in what he said about the colors used by chicas.y because not?
    andrea recently posted..Acolchando circulos

    1. Twitter: NorthWestMommy
      Thank you Andrea. I am so glad you came across my blog. Yours is beautiful, love your photography and your quilts!

  15. Twitter: JenAnnHall
    His shoes look great on him!

    But I do think long hair paired with pink shoes might really make people think he’s a girl.

    He may not care, though.

    I answered no to the question of buying my own son pink because I know for sure he wouldn’t want it!
    Just Jennifer recently posted..The Very First Fantasy Eff Off Friday!

    1. Twitter: NorthWestMommy
      I never thought mine would want them either. But thank you for thumbs up. I honestly hope he could wear them strong and proud. If there is one thing I learned from this, it really doesn’t matter so much what others think. I just need to make sure I can build him strong to be able to meet judgment.

  16. Twitter: mannahattamamma
    I would’ve bought the pink. In a few years he’ll be doomed to a life of gray, blue, and tan, with perhaps occasional dashes of red & orange for fun. Girls get the entire spectrum and can pull off “tomboy” well into teenagedom but boys get locked into the drab end. Have you ever looked at kids clothing shops and noticed that the girls’ side is bright, sparkly, varied, while the boys side looks a bit like every male is going either into the military or a funeral? Makes me sad. BUT I totally understand the desire to avoid having your kid teased, too – but Little J seems like such a totally self-confident kid I’m sure he could handle anything. Plus there’s that big-ass dog: one walk past the school in pink chucks holding the leash of Huge Pet and voila, all bullies will vanish.
    I will say, however, that I was faced with a similar gender conundrum a few years back…and caved:
    deborah l quinn recently posted..Piece of Cake…

    1. Twitter: NorthWestMommy
      Love that post Deborah! I honestly never thought of it before but you are so right. Girls can play army men or dolls and be accepted at any age. Boys will be viewed as effeminate at any age if the enjoy playing with dolls. It is hard, in this age perhaps even more to raise boys. They are expected to be thoughtful and emotional but they are still judged for many of traditionally girly things.
      And I would have taken the polish off to. But just as with the shoes I cannot tell you exactly why. Think it is a combo of reasons and I pledge to work against them all!

  17. Twitter: lilahbility
    Hard to say, since I don’t have a boy. I want to say yes, I’d buy them, but when I think back to how irritated I was when Lilah was a baby and people kept thinking she was a boy because she didn’t have much hair (EVEN WHEN SHE WAS WEARING PINK!) that I think, if I’m being honest, I probably wouldn’t. A pink shirt, yes, because you don’t wear that ever day, but shoes… I dunno.

    Doesn’t matter, because he looks SO insanely adorable in his black hi-tops that they had to be the only option!
    Amanda recently posted..Four Years and Counting

    1. Twitter: NorthWestMommy
      Thank you Amanda. So many of my friends that have girls told me they were viewed as boy for the lack of hair. Which is so silly. Not many of us are born with pig tails, no?

  18. Twitter: goaliej54
    I want to say no, because I don’t like pink. 🙂 But I wear blue all the time, so I think a boy wear pink if he wants. I agree with your decision, though, because it wasn’t his first choice for a color, and why put him in a position where bullying might come into play if he doesn’t really care about the color. Besides, the black hi-tops are super adorable (and so is he!).
    Jessica recently posted..[235/365] In the Clouds

    1. Twitter: NorthWestMommy
      Thank you Jessica. I am so glad to hear all your opinions. This, like many other parenting dilemmas, really challenged me as a mother.

  19. One time a friend of mine handed my 5 yo son a pink gift bag for his bday and apologized to him that she only had girly wrapping. I freaked out (to myself) and let her know (casually, nicely, and within earshot of my son) that our family doesn’t believe in boy and girl colors.
    So. You could totally guess that I would support his desire for pink shoes. My husband would,too, and wears a purple t-shirt very well! If I picked up on him receiving any flack for wearing a girly color, I’d help him process why others are being mean and stress importance of doing what makes him happy. Recently, my girls received black shiny tap shoes from great-grandparents and I know my boys are feeling left out…so I’m on the hunt for tap shoes and if they wanted ballet shoes, too, I wouldn’t think twice.
    Christine@TheAums recently posted..Monday Listicles- 10 Yin Yang

    1. Twitter: NorthWestMommy
      You know, it is my dream for my boy to go to ballet. I grew up dancing and I always adored male dancers. They are the best conditioned athletes in the world. For a child to be able to follow the routine and discipline of a ballet class is a great skill to be learned. Plus feeling confident among girls will be such a boost in his life.
      I even found boys ballet slippers. I truly thought it was all systems go. So when I told him we will go to the local studio to sign him up he said: ballet is for girls. I argued that we saw males in the ballets we went to see. He said no. I showed him my ballet videos. He said no. I am a bit heart broken. I will not push it, hoping for him to come around on his own. In the mean time he swings on my bar while I practice.

  20. Twitter: sperk01
    Interesting debate. I voted “yes” but am uncertain that is definitely what I would do. I can understand your instinct to perhaps protect him from the possible negative social results of wearing pink shoes. Also, because I have girls, I do a lot of reading on gender equality, and often fail to consider the consequences of cultural expectations placed upon boys. And boy, does he have some very valid arguments! Great post.
    Kimberly S. recently posted..March Towards Summer

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