Ask Me Why I Wear Pink.

I am in an Education class where we go to a local elementary school once a week to observe children in reguards to a topic we have every week. Last week, we were dicussing gender and children. We brought up the thought that elementary children are divided between the blue for boys and pink for girls. One student asked whether children at such a young age notice gender. My professor sent me on a mission. I was told to wear my bright pink scarf to my next observation and jot down what children said to me. I agreed to do so but I didn’t think i would get many reactions.

To give a brief background: I have been to the school once a week for six weeks now.I have introduced myself to all of the students as Erick. I have worn clothing of pretty much every color. Usually, the children are kind of shy and talk to me minimally.

The reactions that my pink scarf got completely blew me away. TWO students asked me, “are you a boy or a girl?” One of them had never talked to me before because he was in a different class. Kayla, who also asked me, is in the class i observe. One girl asked me “why are you wearing a pink scarf?” I noticed many more children who snickered about me, but didn’t say anything. How is it that a pink scarf changed my gender and caused chaos? Today in class, we talked about what can be said about the children who asked me. They still don’t censor themselves, which is great because this is the way we are able to learn. As for the other students, I think we can tell their parents have talked to them about being rude, or they are really shy.

I want to focus more on how this event affect me personally. I didn’t take offense to what the children said. With my experience with children, they have felt free to say what they feel about me. However, I have never asked if I was a boy or a girl. If the children saw me in a different way because of a scarf, what is everyone else thinking but holding inside?
I think that it has became taboo to ask questions about gender and sexuality because it sometimes can be read as rude. It is no question that I wear pink and purple often. When you spot a guy on Locust with a bright pink scarf or purple jeans, it’s me. I have been asked about my sexuality and it has been a rather awkward situation. Mainly, it has been on my part because I would read their questions as attacks. I was one of those people who thought it was rude to ask about things like this, or about gender and sex. I used to think “It is none of your business.” Through discussion, I see how asking questions is important to understanding. I don’t know if I will always answer this question, but I will at least understand the reasoning behind asking questions.

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1 Response to Ask Me Why I Wear Pink.

  1. irism999 says:

    Wow! This sounds like a great experiment. I’m glad that you were able to put to test what we have been discussing in class, gender stereotypes, and that you were able to generate an honest response from the kids. It is true that children usually do not censor their comments at a young age, and that they are more direct in asking questions about things that seem different to what they have been exposed to in their lives so far. Although you mentioned that some of the kids snickered when seeing you with the pink scarf, I think that the majority of young kids are still at an age where they are more open-minded and receptive to a variety of things than typical adults are.
    Perhaps this is another one of those instances in which adults have a lot to learn from kids. We need to be more open-minded and receptive to new forms of personal expression, behaviors that are not necessarily congruent with what mainstream society presents. Kids are at a stage in which they are being introduced to new concepts daily, and so things such as nonconventional gender roles may not be as shocking to them. We adults need to keep that mentality; being adults does not mean that we know everything and that the way we have experienced the world or the way the world has been presented to us thus far is the “norm.”

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