A few weeks ago, I was at a birthday party for a friend’s daughter. It was held indoors with games and activities for all of the kids. As part of the festivities, the party organizer started handing out different colored feather boas to the children, ages ranging from 2-4. When she approached Max, with a stream of bright-colored boas, she asked Max what color he wanted. He told her purple, at which point, she responded, “You can’t have purple. That’s a girl’s color.”
Luckily, a close friend within earshot (I was not) told the organizer that my son loves purple. Ultimately, and reluctantly, she conceded and handed him a purple feather boa.
Max ran merrily off, oblivious to her discrimination.
What the party organizer does not know is that I have suspected that Max loved purple since before he could speak when he consistently favored his purple-colored toys. And what the party organizer does not know is that as soon as he could say the word purple, he has always told us that his favorite color is, in fact, purple.
If I ask Max what color crayon he wants. Purple. What color shoes. Purple. What color anything. Purple.
Recently, I bought him a beautiful army green winter coat. He asked me why it wasn’t purple. And when I jokingly asked if he wanted another sibling, he told me he wanted a purple sister.
More than anything, what I’m most impressed by is that through these past two years, his love for purple has been unflinching and unwavering. As any parent knows, two years is an eternity for any kid not to change!
When I wrote my previous post about Max loving purple 2 years ago, I envisioned that he might be teased or bullied by his peers if he made “unconventional choices.” What I did not expect was that it would come from the mouth of an adult woman who caters children’s birthday parties.
I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again, colors have no place in gender and gender has no place in colors.
In the 1940’s, our society considered pink to be a more decided and stronger color, better suited for boys while blue was a dainty and delicate color, prettier for girls. (When Did Girls Start Wearing Pink?)
Somewhere, along the way, it became the other way around. That’s why it’s so silly to me when I hear that blue is a boy’s color and pink is only for girls.
And at the same time Max is being told that purple is a girl’s color, Alexa is slowly getting engulfed in a sea of pink. I love and want to enable a diverse color palette for both my children.
Of course, if Alexa indicated her favorite color is pink, I would embrace her choice. But right now, with all of the pink gifts she receives, it feels more like I’m force-feeding her to accept a certain color.
And that’s the thing, I want to give my children every color of the rainbow and allow them to make their own choices. I am proud of my son who loves purple, the color of royalty. And I will be equally proud of whatever color Alexa chooses. On her own.