Monday, September 29, 2008


This morning I told my daughter I'd mentioned her on the forums, discussing the comic books that we just bought for her and her brother (Supergirl and Spiderman, respectively), and she suggested that I should mention her new pajamas. So here I am.

There's actually more in sleepwear as a topic than you might think (there always is). Do people dress for bed? Or do they undress for bed? Do they wear hats in bed (remember The Night Before Christmas?) to keep from being cold? Or would sleepwear be considered a waste of money because it's a piece of clothing no one but the family sees?

Actually, this is not true, as my daughter just wore her new pajama top to preschool. It's purple with black trim, an image of a black kitten on a broomstick, and the words "Spooky but Sweet."

This brings me to color and gender.

As we were walking up to the store, my son was saying he wanted Spiderman pj's, and we were joking with him, suggesting that he get bright pink with orange flowers and purple stripes - he said that would be girly (he's learned that, but not from me!), but actually I don't think even my daughter would want to wear something with that design. I suggested maybe it was just "too much." My husband mentioned fairies and we collectively bemoaned the fact that so few people in this world know about the cool and awesome male fairies that are out there. (Don't get me started on Disney Princesses, a good few of whom aren't even princesses but are still trying to take over the world of small females.)

When you think about it, gender assignment of colors etc. is a lot like manners. If you ask someone what they would say in a polite social situation, they will tend to tell you what they believe they should say, rather than what they would actually say. And if you ask people which colors, or symbols, go with which gender, they'll have very clear ideas. Fortunately, if you look out into the world beyond clothes-and-toys-marketing-for-children, you'll soon realize there's a lot more nuance out there than you think. Even Disney has to bow to the fact that the market is not all for pink and purple - which is why I was able some time ago to find my daughter some Lilo pajamas which were turquoise and orange and absolutely gorgeous.

Don't get me wrong - I love pink and purple myself. But at least for our family, love of the color purple transcends all boundaries. All four of us love it.

Thanks, with hugs, to Nonny for suggesting the topic.