This morning our four year old son turned up in a pink sweater with glittery letters. Word has it that, while I was having a sleep-in like a properly improper mom, my spouse pulled the sweater out of the back of our son’s closet and had a short father-kid conversation about how ‘people who laugh people for the colour of their sweater are imbeciles’. Very deep and heartfelt. I’m sorry to have missed it, but I was previously engaged, worshipping my pillow.
So now the sweater is back in business. After over six months of being out of audience. I guess it still fares better than Belgium’s pub life under a year of Covid-19.
The sweater was a personal choice from our youngest son. But shortly after he picked it out, he received some comments on his pink boots, which he then refused to wear in public. The sweater suffered a similar fate. So much for his freedom of expression. He’s not even five yet.
Now, these ‘comments’ were not made by some anonymous kid, for me to trace and berate about stealing colours of my kiddo’s plate. They were made by his six year old brother. And they were uttered out of concern.
Because apparently six is old enough to worry about your little brother being bullied for wearing a ‘girly’ sweater. Being a girl myself, I don’t hesitate to take offence to that. But that’s a story for another day.
How often am I reminded of these lyrics by Madonna ‘sigh’
Girls can wear jeans and cut their hair short
Wear shirts and boots 'cause it's okay to be a boy
But for a boy to look like a girl is degrading
'Cause you think that being a girl is degrading
The battle of colours is ongoing, and how I wish it would end.
Yesterday I finalised the details of our impending bathroom renovation. Due to Covid-19 I went on my own. The bathroom design is a dashing mix of black and white with rosé faucets, which we plan to finish off with some mint green and some pink to match the faucets. Very on brand for me, I’ll admit.
Meanwhile my husband has received the label ‘easy’ for discovering the rosé faucets and dragging me towards them. It’s often said that renovating is the ultimate relationship test. I’ve never experienced it that way, but of course, if we are going to gender our bathroom aesthetics …
Truth of the matter is, neither B nor me are particularly easy. We just liked those damn faucets. Which are, as a matter of fact, more copper than pink.
The battle of colours has nothing to do with colour. It’s about being free to express yourself. About being free to be yourself. About not harming others for what not harms you. And apparently, a rosé faucet is expected to raise some controversy between a man and woman. I’m amazed every day about what things makes us stand out.
While I could amuse you further with tales about gendered faucets, I’d rather recommend a pocket book by Alok Vaid – Menon. ‘Beyond the Gender Binary’ is part of the pocket change collective. It’s the first book I read in that series, but it will not be the last.
Both touching and heart-wrenching, ‘Beyond the Gender Binary is filled with wisdom for moments when the gender binary threatens to pull you down. I found in it, both the story of the pink sweater and my own struggles with gender expectations.
So with this short blog post comes the warm recommendation to read it, and if you already did, of course I would love to hear your thoughts!