'Kim is right not to dress her baby in pink'
Published 20/08/2014 | 02:30
Kim refuses to dress her baby in pink - and she's not alone, writes Gillian Fitzpatrick
'Perhaps they wanted a boy," one commentator remarks on an online article featuring baby North West. In the accompanying pictures, the 13-month-old, the daughter of Kim Kardashian and Kanye West, is wearing a green bomber jacket with orange lining, a grey knit top, and matching grey leggings. Her mega-famous parents usually attract plenty of intrigue, but lately it's North who is also being observed.
"Why is North never dressed like a girl?" asks another.
"I know it's their baby, but there is nothing wrong with a little pink or dresses or skirts or bows," says yet another.
One reader suggests the child was being dressed deliberately dowdy and plain, so as not to take attention away from her glamorous mother.
My daughter, Giulia, is 16 months old and I like to think that she's usually well-dressed. After all, Giulia's wardrobe is bulging with an impressive selection of dresses, jackets, accessories, cardigans, leggings, jeans and tops. What her wardrobe doesn't have, however, is very much pink, purple or anything that involves copious amounts of glitter or tulle.
My husband, James, is particularly irked by it all. "It used to be the other way around," he has often said.
He's right - less than 100 years ago, pink was considered a definite, strong colour, and therefore more suitable for boys. On the other hand, blue was viewed as being delicate and calming, and so feminine.
Jillian Bolger is a Dublin-based journalist and writer, as well as the mother of three children. She too is hesitant to dress up her daughter as a "little princess", preferring practical clothing in more muted colour tones.
"Ivy is my third child and arrived after two boys, so it's inevitable that she's ended up in some of their hand-me-downs," she says. "She has a beautiful, vintage Doors t-shirt with cashmere sleeves that's particularly cool. And she's plenty of stuff decorated with dinosaurs. I'd say her favourite dress is the one that has cars on it.
"Thankfully H&M does a great range of jeans and leggings in red, emerald, grey, burgundy and mustard. I get frustrated when I walk into a shop and it only stock pinks and purples with love-hearts and princess motifs."
Jillian stresses that pink certainly isn't banned, but she is believes that some "girly" clothes are just impractical. "Of course my daughter has received some lovely presents that happen to be pink - it's certainly not a colour I stringently avoid putting her in - but wearing dresses all the time is just silly.
"Imagine that you're sending your daughter out to play in the garden with her brother, say, and a boy from next door. They're in jeans and t-shirts but she's wearing a princess-type dress - you're ultimately teaching her to be cautious; to hold herself back while the boys run around, for fear of ruining her clothes and getting into trouble."
Helen Deering, who lives in Kildare with her partner Chris and their two-year-old daughter Lily, thinks that a balance can be struck.
"As she's grown older, I definitely dress Lily in pink items - but only because that's a colour that suits her. Shades like navy and cream complement her complexion, so you'll find plenty of those in her wardrobe too."
Like Jillian, Helen feels strongly about creating gender divisions for children.
"I despair when I see girls and boys being stereotyped from the earliest of ages. I recently spotted some children's books in a supermarket - girls could choose from a story about ballerinas and princesses, while boys could opt for a fireman and truck-driver. It's 2014! Surely we should have all moved away from those sorts of cliches. Lily has a tool set - she also has Spiderman pyjamas and loves Lego."
Giulia's probably still a little young for Lego, but certainly I wouldn't have her dressed any differently. Even when she's been called a "lovely, little chap" by well-meaning waiting staff in a restaurant - when she is wearing a ruby jersey, grey leggings and stripy brown socks - I haven't been tempted to reach for the pink. And no, I didn't secretly want a boy. I doubt Kim Kardashian did either.