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Tuesday, February 28, 2012  

In the Pink

During the deepest, deadest cold of this winter that stretched out for literally hours, M. Edium asked us for a ski mask. I picked him up at school one day and he told me about how the wind had frozen his cheeks on the playground that day. Heartbreaking. I expressed my sympathy as soon as were safely in my car and out of the cold.

So that night, after dinner, I suggested we go out and pick up a little face-warmth for him. But as anyone who has ever tried to buy a ski mask in January knows…well, those people don't know anything, because they're idiots, like us.

So since we're idiots, we went to Target and looked in the boys' department. And the men's department. They barely had hats at all, let alone the kind you can pull down over your face and rob a bank in. We picked up a couple of other things, and before we left, as a hail-Mary, Trash suggested looking in the girls' department. Maybe they'd have something in green or blue, his two favorite colors.

Nope. In the clearance bon, there was one balaclava left in the whole department. It was bright pink.

Now, Trash and I have always made an effort to raise M. Edium as someone who isn't sexist. He knows girls can do anything boys can do and vice versa -- which isn't technically true, as you and I know, but since he's only seven, there are some differences we don't want to get all that far into yet.

But it can be an uphill battle, what with him hanging out with counteracting influences like…oh, other first-grade boys. We have to be on top of it, to listen for telling phrases like "fight like a girl" and that's a girl toy" and "does M. Edium need to choke a bitch?"

Trash and I both saw this pink hat as a unique learning opportunity. Trash laid the choice out for him: we could buy him this one, or we could not buy it -- and then he'd stick with his regular earflap hat, because we weren't going to a bunch of other stores looking for just the right color when there was a perfectly functional ski mask right here, that would keep his cheeks just as warm as would a ski mask with bullets and mudflap girls on it. It was a lot to ask, but M. Edium decided to buy the pink one, and planned to wear it the very next day. We were so proud.

All the way home, we talked about the color pink, and what it means -- and doesn't mean. Despite what anyone says, it's not a girl color, it's not a boy color, it's just a color. I told him that I've owned lots of pink shirts in my time, whereas Trash wears almost no pink. But we didn't lie to him. We acknowledged the possibility, even the likelihood, that some of the other kids at school might try to make fun of him. He'd merely respond to those kids, "Pink is just a color. And my face is super warm." Which, no doubt, it would be after a few minutes on the playground.

We both told him we were so proud of him, and so impressed with his open-mindedness and maturity, and how much we respected his choice. And we meant it. Trash and I were both so amazed at how he'd refused to be bound by arbitrary gender norms imposed by our pervasively sexist culture. We congratulated ourselves on being such great parents.

Then after he went to bed I went to the mall and found him a black one to wear for the rest of the winter. Because honestly, that pink one made him look like a walking penis.

posted by M. Giant 7:50 AM 3 comments

3 Comments:

You could always teach him to close one eye and introduce himself as "Mr. Happy" when wearing it.

By Blogger Febrifuge, at February 28, 2012 at 9:01 AM  

Now I'm dying to know how you explained the black mask to him after telling him how proud you were about him choosing to wear pink!

By Anonymous Lemur998, at February 28, 2012 at 1:37 PM  

Oh, he was SO relieved.

By Blogger M. Giant, at February 28, 2012 at 2:20 PM  

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