The Year of The Child - Colours of the Bib

Artistic Director Mitchell Marcus chronicles his journey of raising a non-traditional family (with husband Orrin) as it relates to the non-traditional family in Falsettos (Apr 23 – May 12, 2013). Check back every week to see how he balances raising a company and raising two new born twins.

One of the funny things about redefining the traditional family, is that even though people are now very open minded to families of all sorts, they are no more open minded about gender-identity colours. Every gift we have received comes in the same colours – blue for our son, pink for our daughter. Outfits, teddy bear outfits, blankets, towels, bibs, etc. Don’t get me wrong, I like blue and pink, but everyone needs a little variety in their wardrobe, don’t you think?

Even more surprising is the reaction of people when we deviate from this colour-scheme. When our daughter is styling baby blue, people stop us and say:



“Two boys?”

“No, a boy and a girl.”

“But she’s wearing blue!”

It’s as if we put her in white after Labour Day.

More people have gotten upset over the colours of the babies’ outfits than they have about the babies having two dads. On one hand, that shows how far we have come in redefining the traditional parents. On the other hand, I guess even as societal values make drastic shifts, fashion expectations remain absolute.

How did pink become ‘female’ and blue ‘male’ anyway? And how come adults – who wear all sorts of colours themselves – come to expect babies to always have their sex identified by colour?

[Editor's Note: The Smithsonian online Magazine wrote an interesting little piece on the evolution of gendered colours for babies. And recently broke down gender stereotypes in an amusing editorial.]

  • Rachel B

    A great topic to address. It is more than just keeping it simple - it’s about defining gender expectations from birth. Funny to think that not long ago - maybe fifty years or so - babies all wore white. I read an amazing book called “Cinderella Ate My Daughter” which is all about the evolution of all things pink and girly-girl. Sure, Pink and Blue is - at first - simply used to confirm what bits and pieces your little one has. But it goes so much further than that as they get older, and they begin to understand what is different and similar between the genders. It is at this point that the dangers of colour-coding our children come into play. Using Pink and Blue not only identifies what toys are for your child, but also who your child plays with, what they can aspire to, what stores are for them, what books they should read, etc. etc. I think, as a parent, it can be a difficult path to maneuver.

    There is another book that’s on my “To Read” list that addresses this topic called “Pink Brain Blue Brain”.

    • ActingUpStage


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