Boys can like pink too!
When I was a kid one of my favorite albums was Free To Be You and Me - that Marlo Thomas and Friends LP that busted stereotypes! touted women's lib! and pretty much advocated for an open society by appealing to as yet un-programmed minds through quirky songs and funny spoken vignettes.
I took my cues from Carol Channing, Mel Brooks and Diana Ross as they joked and crooned: boys could be waitresses! Girls could be engineers and astronauts! cuz "you and me are free to be you and me!"
And those messages have stayed with me my whole life.
So when it came time to designing a nursery, it never occurred to me that it should either be blue or pink, masculine or feminine, strong or soft.
It would just be colourful and fun!
And that would have been the case even if I knew whether I was having a boy or a girl - at this point it's anybody's guess.
But when the fuchsia rocking chair I ordered arrived (yup, it's big and soft and electric pink) at our home recently, my husband had a fit.
"It's pink! It's pink! What if we have a boy??" he sputtered.
"I don't think he'll care," I said. "And he'll learn to like pink."
This was not the end of the "discussion."
Boys like blue. They like rough sports and to play with toy cars, my husband said.
Kids like colours, I shot back. They like to play with whatever you give them! And actually, they like to horse around with cardboard boxes the best, I think. At least I did when I was growing up - the creative potential in those things is endless!
"Besides," I said, "you wear pink shirts!!"
We live in a society where boys don't have fuchsia chairs in their rooms so that other little boys don't make fun of them. "I don't want the baby mocked by its peers," my husband said.
Neither do I. Obviously.
But I do want a child who has a mind of his or her own, is strong both physically and mentally regardless of whether it's a girl or a boy. Our child, I hope, will understand that colours by themselves don't mean one thing or another (we'll teach this to him or her). It's society that heaps on those determinations.
There is a clear message in Free to be You and Me and it is the hope that society can be changed one child at a time.
Society has come a long way since I listened to that "silly" album 30 years ago. But apparently, it hasn't come far enough.
Any by the way Ted, go look at that Free To Be You and Me album we have in our house - the one you like to listen to all the time these days: It's pink!!!
Well actually. It's fuchsia.