As I feel my energy returning, I feel the urge to write here, but because I have not been writing much, I start to feel certain internal pressure to write an amazing post. But this only works to stop me writing anything, so I decided to take the pressure off and slowly warm up again, and write something, you know, light. Here it goes.
So today I was thinking about our house move, and how I could decorate r’s room. We have been toying with the idea of a seaside theme, since r. LOVES fish and anything sea-related, and we are going to be living by the sea. All well and good until I get this nagging and stupid, but real, thought: but it is going to be BLUE, and that is more like a boy’s room. And it actually makes me wonder if we should not keep the room as it currently is, with reds, oranges, purples, and more forest things like owls, elephants, mice and butterflies things.
But actually, this is not the first time that this stupid normalising, colour-coding hegemony thought came to haunt me. When we were thinking of decorating the nursery for the first time, I went for what I like. As I said above, reds, oranges, purple, green, rather than pink. First, because I am not a fan of pink, especially the pastel version of it, fuchsia is more of my taste, but I thought it might be bit strong for a baby’s room. Second, pink is not such an easy colour to combine, so almost everything has to be shades of pink and white. And that would be too much (for me). Third, all the stuff that was pink is mainly fairys, and ‘cute girly’ stuff, and I wanted to expand her senses, her colours, her themes, before (and if -here is me hoping) the marketing machine got us. I figured that if later on she wanted a pink room, with barbies hanging as mobiles, we could think about it, but for now, I chose what I was most comfortable with. But I had some moments of doubt.
And here it is again. Me, a feminist mother, stopping to think that I am making her room like a boy’s, just because it is blue. And the doubt is a kind of guilt at not creating her a ‘feminine’ room, and instead creating one that might be confused for a boy’s room, horror of horrors! And I had to stop and think what was I guilty about. Because I was not depriving her of something she wanted, on the contrary, she loves the sea and its creatures. So, why the guilt, the nagging feelings and thoughts that come unnanounced?
I think this unguarded thoughts reflect how categories such as colour coding become so entrenched that doing something different, even such as small thing as decorating a room, can bring about these beliefs and values that come attached to gender, and to being a good mother at the moment we are living, even to someome used to critically examining these issues. Have you found instances such as this one happening to you?