Pink things, blue things, and tractors

I like tractors.

It’s OK, I’m not embarassed to say it. Please don’t point me in the direction of tractor addiction support groups (or, for that matter, mail me the latest John Deere catalogue in a plain brown envelope.) I’ve got it under control.

Me with a sit on toy tractor from my youth
Your author, complete with probably the most exciting pedal powered object I will ever own. The levers operated the scoop and everything.

If I like tractors now, I loved them as a child. They combined everything I was found of; loud noises, bright colours, dirt, and the ability to convert large areas of landscape into mud. Where other kids had little Dinky-style cars and fire engines, I had sets of agricultural equipment. If you were after a 2″ tall combine harvester that lobbed little plastic hay bales out of a tow-along trailer, I was the kid to go to. I probably wouldn’t share it with you, admittedly, but I had it.

My favorite colour until the age of about ten was pink.

It appears that the manufacturers of kids clothes don’t believe children like that still exist.

We’ve done a fair bit of browsing around stores for baby stuff over the past few weeks and, with the notable exception of some of NEXT’s range, pretty much all the big stores have decided that your baby will wear one of three styles:

  • White or grey, either plain or with some light patterns
  • Pale pink or peach with bows, ribbons, tutus and some of the duller kind of disney animals
  • Pale blue with overtones of demin, plus cars, trains, planes, crocodiles, elephants and pirates.
ASDA's baby clothing, which is either pink or blue.
Not to point fingers or anything, but this is the current front page to ASDA’s baby clothing range.

Why?

Why on earth, before Darkerside Jr is even born, are we being forced down this hideous gender-stereotyping route? Maybe, if we have a little girl, she’ll grow up liking pink things and satin and dancing. Awesome; I’ll happily be the dad that goes to ballet school every Saturday morning and auctions off bodily organs to pay for shoes made from baby seal skin (I’m a little hazy on the details). Or maybe she’ll end up running around some freezing field chasing a ball in the rain every weekend – no worries; anyone who lives in Scotland and doesn’t have a well-loved set of waterproofs is either a dog or mad. Maybe she’ll like both both.

Maybe she’ll even like bikes.

I honestly couldn’t care less what hobbies and interests (s)he grows up to like.

I care hugely that some marketing oik at Tesco doesn’t decide what (s)he should like.

It would appear that baby is going to spend the first few months on a task rotation of stuff in, stuff out, sleep, and cry – I really struggle to see what role a tutu has to play in this. Some kind of vomit seive, perhaps? If baby’s a boy, the only material I can think of less comfortable than denim is a hair shirt, or possibly the kind of wool sweater you get for Christmas and immediately hide in the back of the wardrobe.

Give me something in bright, cheerful colours that’s kind on young skin and easily washable. Surely that’s not too much to ask?

Finally - a decent rainbow babysuit offering from NEXT
The best options we’ve found so far are from NEXT, but most of their range is as bad as everyone elses.

PS: if you’re new to this blog, you’ll rapidly realize that I pride myself on taking truly awful photographs.

4 thoughts on “Pink things, blue things, and tractors

  • 2014-04-09 at 23:15
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    I feel your pain. I’m still incredibly frustrated at the “choice” on offer for baby clothes. I’ll try and let you down gently: it’s going to get worse. OK, that wasn’t very gentle.

    My wife and I went to great pains to find clothes in colours other than blue for our boy, only for a torrent of clothes in exactly that colour from friends and family straight after his birth. All resplendent with tractors, cars, planes, and the other one-or-two things boys are allowed to like.

    There’s little more depressing than the realisation that no matter how hard you try not to pigeonhole your child, society will do it for you right from the start.

  • 2014-04-11 at 11:16
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    See, I’m not sure you tried to be gentle at all there.

    Someone on Facebook suggested tie-dyeing…

  • 2014-04-13 at 18:05
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    *ahem* might take a few years for mini-darkerside to grow into it but this t-shirt is resolutely non-gendered (and you can get matching ones for yourself and partner)

  • 2014-04-13 at 18:31
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    I could probably savage it with the sewing machine and create some kind of sleeping bag contraption…

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