parent opinion

"I was out with my daughter when I was shamed for what she was wearing - a pink onesie."


It’s said there are four stages of a trend. The birth, its acceptance by the upper echelons of cool, followed by the spread to the wider, more pedestrian, world and then its crumbling demise into oblivion.

And if that’s the case then it would appear that gender-neutral, once a trendy notion used by millennials who prefer to swap he/she for they/them, has now elbowed its way into the rather uncool mainstream, better known as stage three.

The evidence of this arrived at Tuesday’s Wriggle and Rhyme class, in which I was dressed down for dressing my 14-week-old daughter Georgie up in a pink onesie by a grandma accompanying her baby (or should I say ‘theyby’?) grandchild.

“Oh, could you put any more pink onto that baby?” snarked the duckie in question.

Rude people, they never arrive in your life when you’re ready for a fight, do they? They bolster in when you’re tired so you lamely bumble through some words and flash red in the face.

Side note – there are two types of mums when it comes to the school list. Post continued after video. 


Awkward reaction aside, I was fully aware that I was – and not for the first time – being pink shamed for dressing my daughter in the ‘traditional’ colour of girls.

If you haven’t got the memo, the only acceptable modern-day clothing choice for your girl (if you really insist on calling her that, you dinosaur) is a unisex palate of sand, grey or white.

Or if you’re really outlandish and want to stick it to the man (or, erm, them) then choose a blue outfit for your girl and pop your little dude in pink.

It’s all part of the gender-neutral revolution that’s happening at this very moment. But like all trendy revolutions, its real meaninghas shed layers as it’s moved further into vogue.

Yes, gender politics might be the verbal soup de jour, it’s just a shame that so many people are getting it wrong, like the chopsy grandma at Wriggle and Rhyme.

"I was fully aware that I was being pink shamed for dressing my daughter in the traditional colour of girls." Image: Supplied.

Initially, the non-binary movement was all about celebrating each other’s individual choice. If you wanted to shake off your gender titles because you weren’t really vibing them, then the fluid approach to labels worked and was adopted by teens around the world.

But it’s perhaps with great irony that the latest arm of the movement, the dismantling of traditional clothing choices for children, is being re-erected as new rules so we can all judge each other some more.

Pink shaming really is multi-functional. Not only does it show that you are totally out of touch by dressing your daughter in pink but it’s also a pretty effective way to mum shame at the same time. Yay, another mum-shaming stick to beat us with.

But I’m standing up for the simple joy of pink. Yes, a colour traditionally worn by girls (but actually was initially the preference for boys until the 1960s), it begs to question what exactly is so wrong about being a girly girl?


After all, will wearing a rose-printed onesie at a few weeks old really impede my daughter’s chances of being a fearless female in the future? I highly doubt it. I’m sure that attitude is down to something more complex than her outfit colour.

For me, I like being a feminine female. I like wearing makeup, I enjoy a dress and I curl my hair within an inch of its life. The ambiguity of unisex doesn’t really grab me and if it does you, then brilliant, knock yourself out…but do we all have to be the same?

In 2019 if I want to dress my daughter as a bumble bee called Eric or in head-to-toe pink like a beautiful rose, shouldn’t my decisions be celebrated and not chastised by an anti-pink recruit before the welcome song has even kicked in at a baby sing-song?

"The day before Georgie had worn her brother’s navy blue jumper cast-off." Image: Supplied

The day before Georgie had worn her brother’s navy blue jumper cast-off. The day before that it was a lilac jumper dress. And a few days before it was mustard, which isn’t a great match with red hair so we try not to focus too much on that fashion faux pas.

On paper the current sartorial revolution sounds great. It should be widening the choices for girls and boys to wear what ever they want. But pink shaming is just relocating judgement so us lovers of pink (and blue!) are seen as outdated at best, and narrow-minded ignoramuses as worst.

But perhaps with the grannies now getting behind the cause, wanting to shove every child into the gender-cancelling uniform of unisex, we must be etching closer to stage four of this trend, the tipping point into obsolete.

And I personally can’t wait for it to happen. I look forward to being able to dress my daughter in every colour of the rainbow, pink included, and for it not to be seen a big gender political statement because let’s be real, I’m just grabbing what ever is clean and on top of the pile of clothes I’m yet to put away.