Last week I photographed 14 month old Elliot, as part of my ‘Pink‘ project. I put an ad on Mumsnet looking for families to take part in the photographs, and his mum Natalie was the only one to reply. So I was very keen to meet them, especially since almost everyone else I have photographed for this work has been connected to me in some way.
Natalie likes to dress Elliot in pink. He has a pink shirt, pink t-shirt and little waistcoat, and because of this Elliot is frequently mistaken for a girl. Natalie doesn’t mind at all if people initially think he is a girl. She just takes it as a sign of him being seen as cute. I found Natalie’s reaction to this quite refreshing. I can remember when my daughter was two. She had a navy blue Duffle coat and was regularly mistaken for being a boy. My immediate reaction would be to feel a bit annoyed, as it seemed so obvious to me that she was a little girl, but maybe it shouldn’t have made me so cross.
Young children do look androgynous, and it is only in the way we cut their hair and dress them that people who meet them in the street can assume what sex they are. We seem so keen these days to dress our children as little men and little woman.
If you have a young daughter and don’t dress her in pink, frills and dresses.This is the reaction you are going to get, from even well meaning strangers. So maybe you should view it as a good thing if your child is mistaken for the opposite sex, maybe it just means that you are not conforming to imposed social stereotypes.
Thanks to Natalie and Elliot for taking part. It was wonderful to get some nice light in the middle of January.