While some gender stereotypes may be fading (with plenty of moms happy to have their daughters play with “boy” toys like cars), many parents are still apprehensive when their boys like the color pink or want to play with dolls. As Circle of Moms member Michelle H. admits, “I thought I'd be a very open-minded parent, but I try to discourage my toddler son from using his favorite sippy cup (which happens to be pink) in public.” Whether in public or the privacy of your home, several Circle of Moms members advise moms like Michelle not to stifle their sons’ love of so-called feminine colors like pink and purple. Here are five reasons why.
1. Pink Isn't Intrinsically Feminine
There is nothing intrinsically female about pink. As a member named Anika points out, color associations change over time. Before World War II, she says, pink used to be for boys because it was similar to red, which is associated with war, and blue was a “girl’s” color because it was associated with the Virgin Mary.
When small children choose color preferences, Beth M. explains, they're not yet aware of cultural norms for what is "girly," or what “boy” things are. And it's no wonder that both boys and girls like pink and purple, Amy R. adds. Her seven-year-old son recently pointed out while sock shopping that “boy” colors like blue, white, black and brown are boring. She had to agree with him. “Pinks and purples are a lot brighter and more fun than blues and greens, for the most part,” she says.
2. Color Doesn't Determine Sexual Orientation
Even when there’s no clear reason why your son likes pink, many Circle of Moms members emphasize that liking the color pink does not mean a boy is weird, gay, or weak. As Krista E. jokes, “If colors were that powerful, all we'd have to do is put gay men and cross-dressers in a room painted blue, and they'd all come out wearing lumberjack clothes and craving Playboys and Budweisers.”
Yet in all seriousness, “people shouldn't be judging a child’s orientation long before the child would even care about something like that,” says Elizabeth R.
3. Childhood Choices Build Confidence
Instead of dissuading specific color choices, moms like September W. recommend letting your son develop his own likes and dislikes. Conversely, “forcing kids to fit in a nice little square mold is what gives them issues,” a Circle of Moms member who goes by "Medic Mommy" says.
Plus, allowing your son a few harmless decisions when he is a toddler gives him more practice in determining not only what he likes and dislikes, but the reasons why. This helps him make sound judgments when he is older, Jamie B. adds.
Your son’s decisions on many things will become more difficult as he grows, Amy R. warns. She notes that sticking with an offbeat color choice is likely to be more difficult for school-aged children, who have a tendency to tease each other. Nevertheless, she still believes it’s great if your son likes pink then, too, because even adults sometimes have to stand behind their unpopular decisions.
4. Colors Can Affect Cost
No one can criticize a mom for making budget-minded choices, especially in today’s economic environment. “I just laugh whenever my son uses something pink or purple,” says Heather L., noting that price, not color, is the main factor when shopping for her eight-month-old son. His purple Bumbo seat, for example, cost $8, as opposed to the $40 blue one. And his pink and yellow sippy cup came in a budget-friendly four-pack that contained a variety of colors.
Sound budgetary decisions won’t cause toddlers to face any stigma when they are adults, Karstin N. says. She recalls that her brother wore pink sleepers and onesies because her mother had two girls before him and didn't want to spend the money for a whole new set of clothes when he was going to outgrow them in a few months anyway. “As long as their needs are met, kids don’t care what colors they are using,” she says.
5. You Should Let Your Son Follow His Heart
As for me, I’m perfectly content if my son’s favorite color is pink, from when he’s four to forty. He’s healthy, happy, and every day he comes home from preschool showing off his amazing art projects. Even if it’s too soon to tell if he’s a Picasso in the making, I’m okay with his right-brained nature. Because I agree with Tammy B.'s advice: “Let your little guy follow his little pink heart; he'll have plenty of time [to] be manly when he hits puberty.”
The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, POPSUGAR.