In the New Zealand Herald today there was a piece titled “My son wants to wear pink shoes, should I care?” http://www.nzherald.co.nz/lifestyle/news/article.cfm?c_id=6&objectid=11190307
By simply asking the question about caring means there is some angst no doubt attached to the association of colour to gender. But to link colour choice to some ‘survival instinct’ based on berry colour – I think that is a bit of a stretch. Evolutionary ‘theory’ needs to not be our default for explaining everything without question.
The fact that the shoes are not actually pink is important – so to go searching for the pinkness/wrongness suggests some deep seated fear not about poisonous berries but our need for gender distinction of everything lest we somehow not be able to reproduce as a species. Or fall into some cataclysmic blurring of roles that could bring down the entire moral fabric of society.
But it doesn’t seem to hold the same weight for girls, so there is another part to this ‘pinkture’ and that is about the taboo of sexuality – particularly for boys. And lets be clear – its about worries about boys being seen as feminine i.e. gay.
Now the young man in this story was quite happy with his choice of shoe. He was not clouded by the fear of being labelled anything – he just liked the shoes (apparently they lit up as well – disco shoes!…probably didn’t do anything to reduce the angst from Mum). He was astute enough to recognise the threat to his male species gender identity and let mum off the hetero-normative hook by declaring he didn’t care what others thought.
Slow clap…I suspect this happens rather frequently. But did you catch who had the fear? Parents worry about these things and I challenge anyone who is in a parenting role…yes that is ALL OF YOU ADULTS OUT THERE…to embrace a more diverse concept of gender beyond the ridiculous association with two particular colours – you know them…but especially for our young men – pink is awesome, its beautiful, the colour of sunsets – everyone needs pink in their lives.