Friday, October 2, 2009

baby shower

Truly, this was a novel kind of experience for me - it's not entirely true to say that I have never been to a baby shower before, because I have, of sorts - one that involved, so far as I remember, a large sheet cake and a larger box of diapers in the cafeteria of the Native American Prep School, up in the wilds above Rowe, NM. But other than that... I don't know whether to claim that this is just not a British thing (though I'm sure someone will put me straight, here), or whether, never having shown any signs of interest in procreation, I've been carefully and tactfully excluded from this particular female bonding ritual until now. I couldn't be happier than letting my hair down with the English department staff, who are an amazing bunch - and I was so happy to have been asked. But goodness me... I thought it was going to be - well, sheet cake, and a box of diapers, although it dawned on me that perhaps it would be a good idea to take a more inventive gift or two. Cake indeed there was (a big shout out to Courtney ... baked and iced in the shape of a blue truck ... ) ... but I was left musing, among other things, on gender colored codes, and on the arbitrary nature of them. Today's use of pink and blue seems to be the initiative of Amy, in Little Women, who tied a pink ribbon on her girl twin, a blue on the boy. But in fact this didn't get cast in sateen until after WWII: a catalog in 1918 could still happily maintain that "There has been a great diversity of opinion on the subject, but the generally accepted rule is pink for the boy and blue for the girl. The reason is that pink, being a more decided and stronger color, is more suitable for a boy, while blue, which is more delicate and dainty, is prettier for the girl." However, since Rhea (above), is expecting a boy, blue - in 2009 - it was: and all the party favors and prizes were in blue, too. Prizes? Unwrapping diapers to see if they had mock baby poop in them?? I felt as though I was in a total parallel universe - back at the kind of party I sometimes got invited to in about 1962 when other girls wanted to play with dolls, and I had hoped for toy racing cars or plastic ponies. So I got out my own mechanical toy, and hid behind the camera, and remembered how very much I love taking portraits, and don't do so enough.

1 comment:

  1. I remember reading that gender-specific colors were born out of a fashion company's marketing scheme. I don't know how true that is, but either way it annoyed me as a child when adults expected me to wear "girl" colors and be interested in other "girly" things. I did eventually develop a substantial collection of Barbies, as was gender-appropriate, but judging from old photos of myself, it seems I was only really interested in undressing them. I also liked to marry my Barbies to one another, though I think my reasoning for that centered around Ken's role as the officiating priest, which brings along with it even more gendered stereotypes and assumptions...