1st Grade Boys and the Colors They Choose

We HAD two umbrellas. We did. One basic black one and one pink princess one. Somehow over the summer one broke and we were down to one. The Pink Princess one. Now, umbrellas are one of those things I never think about buying until we’re actually walking to school in the rain.

So over these last few weeks of rain my 6-year-old son and 4-year-old daughter have had to share the one lone umbrella, the princess one.  Obviously my son is taller and is the one stuck carrying it to cover both of their heads. This didn’t seem as much of a problem for them and the walk is not really that far (it takes longer to drive around to the front of the school and park).

But then something happened that broke my heart. Kids laughed at my son. They cracked jokes about his pink princess umbrella and how pink wasn’t for boys.

Now this isn’t the first time he’s gotten a little grief over the color pink. For Christmas he got a DSi, which turned out to be pink (which was beyond my control) but that’s not something that’s brought to school and when he’s been asked why his DSi is pink by friends he shrugs and says that he doesn’t care. And he doesn’t. My son is aware enough to know he’s lucky to have one and the color really doesn’t matter.

But this, the pink umbrella was different. THIS was standing beneath a glob of pink princess in front of his first grade class with all his first grade friends. I made a point of telling him to give his sister back her umbrella so that all the other kids would be clear that it was not his.

I then resisted the urge to call them all mean little punks and break all their fancier umbrellas.

That afternoon when my son got home he asked why boys couldn’t like all colors. All colors are beautiful he pondered, why couldn’t he like them all? My husband, God Bless Him, told him real men could like whatever colors they want. He asked why the boys at school don’t like girl AND boy colors. We told them it was their loss.

The next morning, having not gotten around to purchasing a second umbrella yet, we headed for school in the rain. Only this time as we came around the corner toward his classroom he handed his sister the umbrella and pulled his hood around his face. He stood in the rain, not wanting to be under the pink umbrella and waited for his classroom door to open.

As he turned around and gave me a kiss goodbye he asked me if I was going to be getting him a new umbrella today. I told him I would.

After both kids were safely at school I ran to the dollar store and picked up a few black and blue umbrellas.

Then I cursed society for making the color pink a crime for first grade boys.

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5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Jennifer Chaney
    Feb 10, 2010 @ 15:33:54

    Oh that is so sad… I love it when my boy wears his sisters stuff b/c he just doesn’t care. I dread the day other kids laugh at him for wanting “pink” because that’s currently the only color he really knows!

    Reply

  2. Goog
    Feb 10, 2010 @ 17:18:51

    My son wanted to be Dora for Halloween this past October, but since he was only 2 and doesn’t really understand the difference between boys and girls I felt like it wasn’t appropriate. He went as Elmo instead and was happy. He doesn’t like Diego (of course I suggested him as an alternative) and he wanted to be Dora. This year, if that’s what he wants, I’m going to let him. My husband’s favorite color is purple, while mine is green. My son knows that the purple toothbrush is MDaddy’s and the green one is ommy’s. Given the choice between two of something, if one is pink he’s most likely to pick the pink one. And you know what? It’s NOT because I’m a stay-at-home-mom and he spends all of his time with me – I HATE pink! He just likes pink and he likes girls. He prefers playing with girls. His lovey is a Carter Blanket Buddy and he announced one day that “Blankie Friend is a girl because she’s wearing a dress”. He gets offended if you refer to it as “he”. I like this stage of his life because he’s not afraid of the color pink and playing with girls. I saw a shirt once, a pink one on a teenage boy and it said “Keep laughing, this is your girlfriend’s shirt”. I realize it’s snarky and sophomoric, but I LOVED it.

    Reply

  3. Mamadino
    Feb 10, 2010 @ 21:23:50

    This brought tears to my eyes! You have such a smart & thoughtful kid. I remember when my oldest first started wearing underwear. She really wanted Shrek ones but they only came in boys’ briefs. I bought them for her anyway & none of the other kids thought anything of it, but you should have heard the comments I got from other parents! Makes me really understand that intolerance is really a learned behavior.

    Reply

  4. Terri
    Feb 17, 2010 @ 04:42:04

    That’s too bad that he gets picked on for liking all colours. My son was the same way. It aggravated me to no end when he got picked on.

    Reply

  5. Trackback: Defining Gender With Coats | SheHeroes

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