For Young Boys, Is Pink the New Blue?

VIDEO: Andrew Canning takes a look at the changing color trends for todays children.
Share
Copy

For generations the view has held strong that while girls must dress in pink to be girls, boys can't do anything with pink, lest they turn into girls.

It's the view that's determined the color scheme in many a kids' bedroom, clothes and toy closets, and that has held strong through decades of change.

But, in today's 21st century world, is that view changing?

Take Gregory Jobson-Larkin's 6-year-old son, James, for instance.

"James' wardrobe choices are pink, purple and chartreuse," Jobson-Larkin, of New York City, told "Good Morning America" of the colors his son reaches for. "And he does have a pink pair of cowboy boots."

And Jobson-Larkin is okay with it.

"Got no problem with the pink shirt," he said.

James' choices may not have gone over so smoothly when his own father was a boy, but today the fashion-forward, seemingly color blind 6-year-old may just be on to something.

Recent episodes of TLC's popular reality show "Toddlers & Tiaras" have featured "pageant boys" competing right alongside girls in pink and sequins, and "pageant dads" standing right next to the "stage moms" coaching their little ones to the crown.

A near media maelstrom erupted in April when a photo of clothing company J. Crew's president and creative director Jenna Lyons painting the toenails of her son Beckett pink ran in an ad sent to customers.

Add in the books and blogs in support of boys and their pink choices and you see that young James is exactly right. Pink is in.

"It's a big deal to see boys dressed in pink because, simply, it's not the cultural convention," gender expert, and author of the book "Pink Brain, Blue Brain," Dr. Lise Eliot, told "GMA." "But it's nothing hard-wired. Boys are not innately aversive to pink and girls and are not innately attracted to pink."

Boys may not be 'innately averse' to pink but what about their fathers, the generation of men who grew up in a not-so-open society, one in which blue was, without question, for boys. Is pink also "in" among these dads, fathers like Jobson-Larkin whose young son already clearly prefers pink?

ABC News gathered a panel of four fathers of sons, Jobson-Larkin included, to see where the men raising this new generation of gender-neutral kids fell in the gender color war.

The dad's sons, we learned, had varying interests and preferences.

"My son is into trucks and yellow is his favorite color," one dad said.

"My son loves golf," said another.

"My son likes Tae Kwon Do," said a third. "He also loves everything pink and purple.

For the dads who saw their sons bending the gender color lines, what was their true, gut reaction that first time their little one chose pink over blue?

"I verbally said, 'Is that the color you really want? Look at…there's some other colors,'" Jobson-Larkin recalled. "I really didn't know to handle it when it first happened."

"I really wanted him to choose a different color," he told the panel. "It was really a reflection of me to be honest, of my own struggle."

And what if, in a perfect world, the dads could choose whether their son grabs a pink shirt or a blue one?

"Pink shirt," one father replied immediately. "I'd want him to go to the one he was drawn to."

Even the fathers who firmly wanted their sons dressed in blue acknowledged that, in the end, it should be their son's decision to make.

"I'd prefer my child to choose blue," said one dad. "But if he wants to choose the pink shirt over the blue shirt, it's up to him."

"I follow my child's lead," another agreed. "So it's not really the point of what I like. It's the point of what my child likes."

Dr. Eliot says fathers like those on the ABC News panel opening up to non-gender based color choices is having an impact on this generation of children.

"We actually created the color scheme that we now define as gender based," Eliot told "GMA." Kids learn that one color is "bad" for them from adults."

Examples of the gender colors breaking down are even showing up where the stereotype has long held most firm, the consumer marketplace.

Page
  • 1
  • |
  • 2
Join the Discussion
You are using an outdated version of Internet Explorer. Please click here to upgrade your browser in order to comment.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
You Might Also Like...
See It, Share It
PHOTO: Firefighters rescue a woman who got stuck in a chimney in Thousand Oaks, Calif.
Ventura County Fire Department
PHOTO: Up in Ash: Mount Sinabung Erupting
Tibt Nangin/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images
PHOTO: Apple Pay is demonstrated at Apple headquarters on Oct. 16, 2014 in Cupertino, Calif.
Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP Photo
PHOTO: Defendant Jodi Arias testifies about killing Travis Alexander in 2008 during her murder trial in Phoenix, Feb. 20, 2013.
Charlie Leight/The Arizona Republic/AP Photo
PHOTO: Kim Kardashian, Kanye West, their daughter North West and Delphine Arnault attend the Givenchy show as part of the Paris Fashion Week Womenswear Spring/Summer 2015, Sept. 28, 2014 in Paris.
Bertrand Rindoff Petroff/French Select/Getty Images