The Pink Plague.
February 19, 2010

When I was pregnant, I swore up one side and down the other that if I gave birth to a little girl, I would dress her in no-nonsense blues and whites just the same as I would a boy.  And then I gave birth.  Before the end of Charlotte’s first hour in this world, I had already informed Donald that he had a date with Dreft and a few loads of pink crap the following morning.

It has pretty much been one big party of pink ever since.  Pink frills.  Pink bows.  Pink onesies.  Pink bibs.  Pink blankets.  Pink toys.  Pink ribbons.  Pink socks.  Pink pants.  Pink ruffles.  Pink dresses.  Pink hats.  Pink pink pink pink pink.

You cannot walk five feet in this house without bumping into something the color of bubblegum.

I never, not in a million years, would have thought that I would be the sort of woman who would roll her child in a bunch of pink fabric, take twelve billion pictures in the exact same pose as yesterday, and then faint from the cuteness…but there you have it.  My daughter’s wardrobe looks like a Pepto-Bismol commercial.  I have become a walking cliché.

Except, okay, here’s the thing.  Pink is the classic “girl” color, right?  I mean, if I see a baby clad head-to-toe in pink, my first thought is not “testicles.”


Are the frills not frilly enough?  Are the ruffles not ruffly enough?  Is the “sweet girl” onesie not sickeningly obvious enough?  Is the entire population color blind?

Luckily, I think that I have found the solution.  And that solution is pink headbands.

Related Posts with Thumbnails
twitter / becomingsarah Bookmark and Share

  1. By Megan R. on February 19, 2010

    I think I could paint Finnley pink from head to toe and then wrap her in a million pounds of pink ribbons…and someone would still ask me how old my “little boy” is.  I think that is just part of having a bald-ish infant.  And being surrounded by idiots.

  2. By Cambria Copeland on February 19, 2010

    Ha!  I had/have the same problem.  Everything is pink and if I switch it up and dress her in a different color, even if it’s a dress, people ask me if she is a boy. She’s 19 months and this still happens.  Then again…  She still doesn’t have a whole lot of hair.  We’re hoping for pigtails by Christmas!

  3. By C @ Kid Things on February 19, 2010

    I never thought I’d have so much pink, either. Pink pink pink. It’s everywhere.

  4. By Dana on February 19, 2010

    The same thing happened to us! Haven could be wearing all pink and be wearing a bow in her hair and would still be refered to as “he.“ I guess people thought we were very forward thinking in our attitudes toward gender roles in dressing “him”  like that… Or they’re just stupid…

  5. By Andrea on February 19, 2010

    We have the opposite.  My stunning sandy-blonde baby boy has the best thick hair with lots and lots of wave to it. (Even though mine and daddy’s are pin straight)

    Of course I keep it long.  No long, long, but no clippers.  Period.  Scissors only and haircuts only when it is mullet-like and in his eyes.

    An despite the marvel heroes t-shirts under flannel over shirts, the levis, the monochrome black chuck taylors, we still get (not as often) how old is She?

  6. By Sarah on February 19, 2010

    I could have dressed both sons in things that say “brother”, or “boy”, or “Little man” and I still get gender mixups.  I don’t understand…

  7. By Hillary on February 19, 2010

    just look at the woman who asks that and say, “she is six months, sir.“

  8. By Sarah A. Schlothan Christensen on February 19, 2010

    Hillary - THAT IS AWESOME.

    So far I’ve tried saying “SHE’s this” or “Charlotte’s that” or “let’s see…my daughter turns seven months tomorrow, so, wow, seven months” or something like that, but sometimes it still doesn’t work.  I’m always like REALLY?!  The pink isn’t a dead give-away?

    Andrea and Sarah - It is CRAZY to think that this goes the other way around too.  I never would have guessed!  (Although, um, just for the record, I have visited both your sites and would say that your boys look decidedly boy-ish!)

  9. By Amelia Sprout on February 19, 2010

    It happened to me all the time.  Especially since we got a lot of gender neutral stuff for gear to plan for if we wanted another kid.  Also, pink is light and gets dirty faster.

    I dressed her in pink all the time, figuring that once she grew hair, it would be better.  She grew hair, and now pink is her favorite color and it is all she wants to wear.

  10. By Kate (This Place is Now a Home) on February 19, 2010

    It’s amazing to me that people even GUESS. I mean, really, they have a 50% chance of being wrong. It’s like asking a fat woman if she’s pregnant!

  11. By Christy on February 19, 2010

    This is too funny.  When I was pregnant I knew I was having a girl so on my registry I said “not too much pink please”, I told all the people I knew that we were going with sage NO PINK and now everything is pink.  If we have a boy next we really hope he likes pink because all the bouncer/swings heck everything is pink. 

    I don’t know how anyone would think a baby as cute (and dressed in pink ruffles) as Charlotte could be a boy.

  12. By Katelyn on February 19, 2010

    I could have Brooklyn dressed head to toe in pink with PIGTAILS IN HER HAIR, and still get asked that question!

  13. By J. Mark Bangerter on February 19, 2010

    I have two girls, whenever I help my wife with the laundry I am astounded by the sea of pink. And you know how it is with kids clothes, there are just so many of them.

  14. By gretchen from lifenut on February 19, 2010

    Oh, this is funny because Archie was mistaken for a girl at the grocery store a few weeks ago. He was dressed in a navy blue coat and had pants with elephants all over them in neutral colors.  He was wearing green Swedish moccasins. Maybe it’s the hair? He’s getting shaggy.

    All this proves people aren’t very observant.

  15. By Mary @ Parenthood on February 19, 2010

    My pre-mom self would be astounded by how girly-girl we’ve ended up dressing Elizabeth.  In my defence we haven’t actually purchased more than two items of clothing for her (everything else was a gift), but even so I could make more gender neutral choices with my options.

    Partly it’s a reaction to the “little boy” comments.  I get “What’s wrong with your little boy“ ALL. THE. TIME.  Even while wearing pink dresses.  Which I suppose is better than the person who asked me how long Elizabeth had to live.  Seriously.

    I grew up in a country where pink was traditionally considered a masculine colour (although I think that’s changing), so maybe the mistake on gender is forgiveable.  Maybe…  The theory was that red is a masculine and aggressive colour, and pink is just diluted red, so pink is for boys.  OTOH, blue is calming and associated with the Virgin Mary, so blue is for girls.

    Now that Elizabeth has more hair people seem to be less likely to assume she’s a boy, so I’m thinking it’s a hair thing.

  16. By Megan on February 19, 2010

    I have the same problem (with my dog).  Poor Mischa has a pink collar and pink leash, and he he he.

  17. By Dandy on February 19, 2010

    You always make me wonder if I’ll do the same.  Because right now I don’t imagine a pink baby room full of ruffles.

  18. By Andrea on February 19, 2010

    This post made me smile.  I (who always thought I’d have boys) have 2 girls.  When we found out we were expecting the first, I found this beautiful spring blue (but girly) room inspiration online and went from there.  There was no way I was going to have a pink room in my home (!) It didn’t take long for the pink clothes and the princess stuff to creep in and to be honest… I’m totally embracing it now!

  19. By Mailis on February 19, 2010

    I think you have to chalk that one up to extreme stupidity. Charlotte does NOT look like a little boy…lol.

  20. By Mailis on February 19, 2010

    I think you have to chalk that one up to extreme stupidity. Charlotte does NOT look like a little boy…lol. At all.

  21. By amber on February 19, 2010

    Headbands. Yes. You cannot argue with headbands…boys just don’t wear them.

  22. By Johanna on February 19, 2010

    Opposite problem here, it’s all blue! Two boys (almost 4 years and 14 weeks) and everything is blue. Same thing happens though, how old is your baby girl? He’s got on blue clothes, a blue blanket and his car seat cover is even blue and brown. Really!? This even comes from older folks who you’d think would strictly adhere to the gender stereotype color rule.

  23. By Beth on February 19, 2010

    Ditto, I have the same problem. One woman recently told me it was good I had a boy since he was bald. I looked at her and said, “well, actually she’s a girl.“ I wonder what gave it away…the pink blanket, or perhaps the pink shoes. I know, it must have been the pink, red, and orange flowers on her shirt.  Not to mention the fact that she’s not bald, her hair is just really blonde!

  24. By on February 19, 2010

    Mary -historically in many western/Christian nations pink was for boys and blue for girls (and little boys wore dresses and long hair as infants/toddlers too).

    When I was 2 my hair fell out and everyone thought I was a boy; despite bonnets and frills and always being in dresses!

    I generally just ask a child’s name to find out sex but in Ghana, where I spend a lot of time, ohhh I have problems!

    Pre-school kids in Ghana; who don’t have uniforms and both sexes can be found in pants and they ALL HAVE SHAVED HEADS (which make sense) and many have UNISEX NAMES and both sexes wear many colours!

    So I look for pierced ears! Saves me most of the time :)

  25. By on February 19, 2010

    So far, I have two boys, but I stock up on girl clothes that are NOT pink any time I happen to find something cute, just in case!  Now I wonder if I’ll be like you and end up buying lots of pink when I do finally have a girl one day.

    I about fell out of my chair as I read “pink headbands!“  I just can’t stop laughing! 

    Just FYI, my son is now 12 months old.  We dress him in lots of blue, usually polos and khakis, and he definitely looks like a boy.  However, I get comments on how cute my little girl is all the time.  GRRR!

  26. By Heidi on February 19, 2010

    Well, I do hope your headband method of busting the gender myth works better for you than it does for us.  My baby girl has one of those fun headbands with the big flower clip on it…and it’s hot pink with a rhinestone center on the flower.  And I still get the boy comments.  To be fair, she’s got a great mullet (but super cute side swept bangs!) but still…HOT PINK HEADBAND, PEOPLE!

    (AND, our beautiful chocolate lab has a hot pink collar and leash, and she always gets called a boy.) 

    I heart pink.  :)

  27. By kbreints on February 19, 2010

    oh some poeple are just clueless. My son was very ‘pretty’ and no matter how much blue put him in and how many cars and trucks were on him shirt.. they would always call him she.

    Oh well…. instead of arguing I wold just answer and say thanks. ;)

  28. By Sarah A. Schlothan Christensen on February 19, 2010

    Okay, re: the dogs.  When I was a kid, my dad was the only man in a sea of girls, and we had two female dogs, so he insisted that we refer to the dogs as HE so that he wouldn’t be alone.

    I never fell out of the habit.  No matter how frilly the collar, how pink the sweater, how froo-froo the name, I am probably going to call your dog a HE.  Sorry!

  29. By Heidi on February 19, 2010

    Sarah - A perfectly reasonable explanation about why you would call a dog a “he.“  I do realize it’s all about our own experiences.  Which brings me to think about:  maybe all these people that call our girls boys have boys of their own?

  30. By Sarah A. Schlothan Christensen on February 19, 2010

    Heidi - Oooooh, I never thought of that…


    You know, it’s much easier to just assume people are morons.

  31. By on February 19, 2010

    I think it has to do with having a baldish baby…Everyone calls my Bekah “he”...btw Number 2 is on the way for me!

  32. By Sarah A. Schlothan Christensen on February 19, 2010

    Leah F - CONGRATULATIONS!!  That is the happiest news!!

  33. By Jenna @ Newlyweds on February 19, 2010

    I use to have the same problem, mind you I have Identical twin boys dressed identical and people would still ask if one was a boy and one a girl.

  34. By erin on February 19, 2010

    I have the same issues.  I never thought I would dress Hannah in pink, and yet every day she wears something pink because she is so stinking cute in it.  And yet, people still tell me how cute my son is.  I think it is because they have no hair.

  35. By Cynthia @ She Puts Her Quiet Hands In Mine on February 19, 2010

    Most people just aren’t all that bright.

    I wasn’t a pink pusher either… Even the first few weeks, it was all greens and yellows… Then for 3 days in a row, 3 different people ASSUMED she was a he. I got pissed and she’s never gone a day without pink since then.

    I don’t even bother correcting them anymore… If people can’t associate pink with girl… Then we needn’t waste our time.

  36. By on February 20, 2010

    I have been a lurker for a while. I have never commented, but this brought out the need in me.  At least, your daughter has a gender appropriate name.  I have a gender neutral name that leans more male.  People always just assume I’m a guy, so they always address my mail to Mr. Sterling ........  It is especially irritating when it is a response to some kind of form that I have filled out and marked Miss on.  And, to top that off I will never have an American Express card because from the time they have been sending the promotions in the mail (age of 18) they have had me mis-identified.

    BTW….Charlotte is adorable!

  37. By kootnygirl on February 20, 2010

    I never thought I’d go so pink either.  It happens.  The fact is, pale pink and pale blue look good on babies. 

    Imagine my horror when my then 4-year old asked for (and I agreed) to a “pink lemonade” bedroom!  Who was I??

    Now, at nearly 7, she’s all about dressing like a boy.  Oh, how I wish I could get her back on the pink side, at least a little.

  38. By *emilie* on February 20, 2010

    Hillary !! HAHAHAH ! i love it !

    Scott and i get a kick out of dressing alice with boy clothes (blues, train prints.. you know !) but it’s still when she’s looking girly that people ask me how old my boy is..

  39. By Crystal @ Semi-Crunchy Mama on February 20, 2010

    I had the opposite problem when my son was just shy of a year old.  We still hadn’t taken him for his first haircut yet, so he was looking a bit on the shaggy side.  While out Christmas shopping, an older lady came up to the shopping cart and started gushing over my “beautiful little girl.“  Who was dressed in denim jeans, a navy blue coat, soft-soled shoes with dumptrucks on them, a baseball hat, and was chewing on a toy truck at the time.  I stuttered out a thank you, and brought my little man for his first hair cut a few days later.

    Thank you for visiting my blog!  I just spent a while checking out yours, and really enjoyed what I saw!

  40. By Nina on February 20, 2010

    Oh yes, I was the same way until I got Lolita home, then it was dresses, dresses and even more dresses. I want to put her in dresses now in the Winter and I can’t, and that bugs me. Pink and purples, flowers and unicorns….I’ve become my own worst nightmare. LOL!!

  41. By Sarah A. Schlothan Christensen on February 20, 2010

    Nina - I’m the same way.  We dress Charlotte exclusively in hand-me-downs and gifts right now, and there are so so so many dresses.  I cannot wait for the weather to turn around so that I can put her in dresses!  DRESSES!  And more DRESSES!


  42. By Elizabeth Mackey on February 20, 2010

    People are so very unobservant! I always look at the entire package for clues if it isn’t obvious at first.
    I got that all the time with my first daughter who didn’t have a lot of hair. Even though she was wearing a dress, it was always , “how old is your son” What the?*&^(*!  my youngest daughter had tons of hair, and there was never a question. So, it would be best to add the little bow on the hair for all the idiots I suppose! :)

  43. By lifeinapinkfibro on February 22, 2010

    I have two boys, who were both dressed head to toe in blue, no pink within a 50 mile radius. People still asked me if they were boys or girls. Three years apart. Same response from the person on the street. I think the trouble is that while we think our babies are clearly individuals, to most people babies look like babies. Indistinguishable one from the next. But I can see how a headband would work. Hard to overlook!

  44. By Rebecca M. on February 22, 2010

    I think it’s common to mistake a baby girl without tons of hair for a boy.  And some people probably just use “he” by default.  What makes NO sense to me is why numerous people have mistake Nicholas for a girl.  It’s not like he has long lustrous locks or anything.  He barely has any hair!  And I dress him in blues, brown, greys—not pastels.

    If my next baby is a girl I hope to not go overboard with the pink, but I know my family will lose their minds with the ruffles, frills, etc.  I really like Carter’s clothes for girls because they have lots of color variety—purple, greens, blues, red, etc.  But who knows, I might surprise myself and end up with a Pepto house, too.  :-)

  45. By on February 22, 2010

    too funny - I have three girls and I tell my nephew he is a good girl ALL the time!  And was the same with pink - I personally own none, but told my mother she was allowed to go buy pink within a few hours of birth - she was so thrilled…

  46. By My Year in Haiku on February 23, 2010

    Funny!  My daughter was dressed in a PINK DRESS but because she had no hair I guess, the lady at the grocery store kept saying HE is so cute.  Finally my older daughter who was 3 at the time said “she is a girl!“. 

    Thanks for visiting my blog today - I hope you’ll come back often.  I just added your wonderful blog to my google reader so I won’t miss a post.

  47. By Heidi on February 23, 2010

    Don’t worry about Sarah’s androgynous looks. I looked like a little boy until I was three years old. I was bald as Mr. Clean until kindergarten and it didn’t help that my mom used to dress me in unisex orange. 1980s orange. She likes to tell me this story about how she was pumping gas one day and some hillbilly farmer in our hometown leaned over her shoulder, looked in the car window at me in my car seat and asked, “Where’s his handle?“

    Yes. Apparently HANDLE is bubba speak for PENIS.

  48. By Mrs. Sitcom on February 25, 2010

    Nope, the pink & frills are enough…people are just dumb :)





Remember my personal information

Notify me of follow-up comments?