Proving that many people still have a strange relationship with colours and their relevance to being either a boy or a girl, a father recently returned a cake that was made by a local bakery for his son’ first birthday party because the cake was pink.
A cake. Not okay for his boy’s birthday party. Because it was pink.
Now, maybe this dad brought this cake back because his son truly does have a special aversion to the colour pink. That could be the case. There are some colours I abhor to even look at, so can’t imagine how terrifying they’d be to have in my mouth. Had my mom or dad presented me with a chartreuse coloured cake for any of my first seven birthdays, there’s a great chance I’d have stormed off to my room, only emerging again when a puce coloured cake had replaced it on the table. So, maybe that happened. And if it did, good job parents for making sure your child’s first birthday party remained trauma-free.
I’m often quite capable of getting past the convictions of one individual, but if you look at the little poll below the story, it suggests that nearly half of the thousands of people reading and interacting with this story would also return a cake made for their son because it was pink.
And that is astounding.
One child hating pink I can believe and understand. Thousands of parents of boys suggesting they’d have returned the cake because it was pink and because it was for a boy is thoroughly disturbing.
Here are a few more logical reasons to refuse a pink cake than simply because it was intended for a boy:
The cake is pink, but more importantly, made of nails.
The cake is pink, which is interesting, but the cake has also been placed out on the CN Tower’s EdgeWalk, and to get it the young boy needs to crawl out to get it without a properly fitted harness.
The pink cake is actually a black and blue dress. I mean, cake. It’s all just an optical illusion.
Duh, it isn’t his birthday, and kids shouldn’t think they’ll get a pink cake every day just because! That would spoil them.
And here’s a really quick look at some of the things I think could be more damaging to the moral development of a young boy than giving him a pink cake:
Telling your boy that pink isn’t for boys.
Pretty much everything else that follows a 1970s cigarette ad’s definition of what it means to be masculine.
You cannot make any other case for returning a pink cake than the ongoing concoction of a false, antiquated definition of what it means to be a boy and how a boy grows up to be a man. And saying your one year old can’t handle a pink (but delicious) blueberry cake is suggesting you’re going all in on the “boys will be boys” mindset that does nothing to help a boy along the long and often bumpy path that is growing up.
I imagine if there had been a blue cake presented to a young girl’s birthday party, the issue would not have been the same. Societally, we’re closer to accepting young girls liking what we’d identify as typically masculine things than we are at letting our boys enjoy something that is viewed as typically feminine. Think gender-neutral clothing for kids. In that regard, we're suggesting girls should be able to wear pants and shirts, not that boys should be allowed to wear dresses.
The masculine is the neutral, and as long as we have parents cowering at what the colour pink might do to a boy, we’re putting our boys at risk of growing up with a dangerous view of what they should and should not do if they want to be a man. And unfortunately, what we’re telling them they need to do to be a man is very rarely in line with what they’d actually like to do.
Using this flawed logic, dancing is also only for girls, the movie Frozen won’t be welcomed into their house, Black Widow toys shouldn’t be allowed in a boy’s toy box, boys shouldn’t cry, and on and on with thousands of other “girls vs. boys” tropes that are just plain bullshit.
Yes, some boys love football and throwing stones and blue Superman cakes. And some boys like pink and dancing and reading by themselves.
As parents, it’s not for us to teach them how any of these choices are un-manly or not for boys. It’s for us to tell them: “Perfect! Let's eat cake.”