Rainbow Boy

Right now, Luis’ favourite book at our house is The Rainbow Bear. My girls loved it too, and I took it out from the book bin just before Christmas because I though that Lou was ready for the sad story of a bear who just wanted to be  colourful, and lived out the downside of trying to be something you’re not, learning that each of us is supposed to be exactly as we are for things to work right. Maybe that was in my mind, or maybe it’s the winter grey that’s getting to me, but this weekend I sat myself down, and made my impending grandson a pair of bootees. I’d saved the leftovers from a pair of Rainbow socks a while back, with this exactly in mind. (Well, bootees in mind, but not bootees for my grandson. He was a sparkle in his mother’s eye when I saved it.)

startrainbowbootees 2017-01-16

I was totally right about the book. Luis loves it, and I was knitting the bootees on the subway a few days ago, feeling cheerful and happy about the whole thing, when a very nice lady sat down beside me and asked what I was making.  I told her my daughter was expecting a baby, and that I was making bootees.  “Oh, it’s a girl!” she chirped, and I paused for a second, and then said that it was a boy.

morerainbowbootees 2017-01-16

She looked at me for a minute, and I could tell that we were entering a fragile moment, one that we were going to disagree on, and this being Canada we’re good at disagreeing politely in public, and so she said “Goodness. Aren’t those a little… girly, for a boy?”

Now, since we are good at disagreeing in public, I did tell her what I thought, and I was gentle. “No” I said. “I don’t think it matters.” She looked at me for a minute, and she said “You’re right. He’ll be tiny. It won’t matter.” I looked at her for a second, and I said “Oh, I think it’s fine in general” and then she said this. “Of course – though when he’s bigger, you won’t want someone taking him for a girl.”

rainbowbootees 2017-01-16

We didn’t go any further than that, it was the subway, after all. Here’s the thing though – I think what happened there was pretty sexist. Not the overt sort of sexism that’s wound up with women having a significant pay gap, or men still owning most of the property and having most of the money (despite women having most of the education, but that’s a fight for another post.) I mean – and let me be perfectly, absolutely, fantastically clear… I think that if you’re worried about what would happen if a boy is taken for a girl, then you’re sexist. It means that you have a plan – whether you’re aware of it or not. It means that you treat boys one way, and girls another, and that you think you need to know if a baby is a boy or a girl, and that there would be consequences of some kind if you got it wrong.

When someone says “What if they were taken for a girl?” It tells me right that minute that you think that would be a problem. You can say all  you like, lady on the subway, that you think boys and girls are equal, but you’ve just revealed that you don’t think the same systems apply – and I’ll ask you this… What if? What if someone took my grandson for a girl? What if they absolutely took a look at this wee human with his gorgeous rainbow feet, and got his gender wrong, and treated him like a girl? What would happen then? What were you planning on doing differently?

If the answer is nothing, my commuting compatriot, then why do you need to know? I understand that there are problems here. That there are things that we think of as manly, and things that are feminine, and that there’s a whole great big system at work and it’s complicated, and hard to buck against, and I’m not saying that there aren’t families and parents where boys have to wear boy clothes, and girls have to wear girl clothes (and live with the fact that there are no goddamn pockets in the garb of the latter) and I am totally copping to the fact that from time to time, I feel the pressures of all of those things,  but here we speak of bootees. Tiny socks for a tiny person, and wouldn’t it be so nice if we could just begin their time on this earth truly thinking for one little minute that the sort of socks that they wear won’t have a huge impact on what happens, and how people treat them?

rainbowbear 2017-01-16

On the other hand, we live in a world where girls make less money (globally, 60-75% less) hold less power, do a disproportionate amount of caregiving, and have a 1 in 4 chance (and that’s in North America) of being sexually assaulted in their lifetimes, and where someone who is about to be the President of the United States can talk about grabbing women’s privates because he’s powerful – and it will be dismissed by enough people as unimportant (or the way that men talk) that he will still win. So maybe, if I’m being kind… maybe the lady on the subway was just trying to keep our little human safe, because there are very real consequences to being a girl.

I now return you to your regularly scheduled knitting, rather apologetically.


708 thoughts on “Rainbow Boy

    • I hear that stores are running out of pink yarn for Pussy hats! I am looking forward to lots of pictures of women and men wearing pink pussy hats and standing proud!

      • I live in Ohio, and I saw on the news last night that there was an early march on our State capital over the past weekend, and I specifically noted quite a few pink hats with ears. It made me smile 🙂

        • I saw a few pink pussy hats on girls when I dropped my kids off at school today. I don’t know if the parents understand the meaning or if it was just, “oh cute pink kitty hat” that made them get the hat for their girls, but it was nice to see.

          • I have an niece who claimed my first pussyhat – because she liked it, and needed a new hat (her story). I didn’t explain the backstory to her, because while it matters to me, it shouldn’t matter to her. I’m sure there are many other pussyhats on children in the wild for the same reason!

      • My darling (and very male) 41 year old son will be donning a lovely pink pussyhat to wear on Saturday. I am such a very proud mom!

  1. I felt my hackles rising as I read the insistence of the subway-woman. I think a lot of people simply don’t realise that these “small” beliefs are the foundation of sexism, and of racism and a lot of other injustices.

    So I do the best I can – I work to uncover and fight the unconscious biases I still hold myself, I stand up where I can, and I try and teach my son to be kind and thoughtful and not to make judgments based on gender, sex, sexuality, race, etc.

    The booties are beautiful, and just perfect for a tiny human, of any type. xx

  2. Steph- If you get this wound up from a comment made by someone on the subway wishing you well for your expected grandhcild, you will not last until your grandchild is grown. This was obviously a very traditional older lady who was trying to recover from an unfortunate assumption that she made about the sex of an unborn child. A small social gaffe. You are turning it into a global statement about sexual discrimination. Believe it or not, there are some women who like being women and like feminine things. There are some men who like being men and like masculine things. They are generally just being themselves. No massive global statement is intended. It is traditionally considered a positive thing for parents to focus on having their children identify with things that relate to the child’s sex. It is not a conspiracy, just people being traditional, as they have for thousands of years. Many younger parents want their children to figure it out for themselves. To each his/her own.

    I am rather insulted by the indirect insult that you lobbed at our next president. He may have said sexist things, but the Clinton has done seriously illegal things. And her husband’s track record on fidelity is to be noted. So, which is worse: Saying or doing? Most voters (like me) saw the two candidates as both being bad, and it was a question of voting for the one that was less toxic. Clinton had 92 documents email leaks that each constituted a felony. 92 FELONIES. There was no question about whether the leaks occurred or not. To save time and space on this response, they constitute only one (or 92) serious crimes that she committed. There are others. These are not things she SAID, but they are things that she DID. Like most American voters, we are hoping that the new administration will get our country back on track, and wipe out a lot of the corruption that has seeped into our system. Maybe Canadian men never make sexist comments about women, but many men in THE REST OF THE WORLD do. Believe it or not, many women make derogatory sexist comments about men, too. Mr. Trump is a quick study, so I assume he has stopped doing that. Our country is going through a large change over the next few months, and hopefully it will be for the better. And Clinton? The tabloids indicate Clinton, her husband and her daughter may be indicted for criminal behavior. These are not things they SAID, but things they DID.

    I really like your blog when you stay away from American politics. You have a rather utopian view of gut-level reality. In other words, you do not understand what is going on here.

        • Fuck Trump. I’ll be at the Women’s March knitting rainbow socks. The entire system was broken this year and Trump has no business being president. He represents himself and the wealthy.

          • My sentiment exactly, and you can be sure that if Hillary Clinton had the felonies that you claim she has committed she already would be in jail. She is a class-act and has done more good for humanity in her lifetime than the president-elect could only dream to do. He is a repulsive and vile human being and I will be laughing in the faces of everyone who feels that “we needed change.” I think you all need to be very fearful of the change you are likely to get!

      • I’ll make a pussy hat in your name as well – and I will bite my tongue so I don’t say other things that are upsetting to you. Steph – preach it!

        • What I don’t get is why not ignore the remark Trump made. Women are strong enough to ignore foul language. A much better statement or impact from knitters and crocheters whether male or female, would have been to instead of making hats to wear as a protest or some kind of badge during a march, use the yarn instead to knit sweaters for needy children.

          • I mean it nicely. Just think of all of that yarn for hats used to protest? Marchers could be using that to really make a huge difference.

          • I’m a strong woman. I’d rather knit than march. Instead of making pink hats I’ll be using LOTS of yarn making slippers for our local women’s shelter. I hope everyone who marches,when they go home, be active and work in your local community for the causes you marched for. The way to make a difference comes about from action not just marching.

          • below, may commented about all that yarn used as a protest. well, it’s winter. i need a hat. why shouldn’t i knit a pink pussy hat if i want to? i could not find a ‘reply’ button at the end of may’s post.

    • I think it’s a bit cheeky to insist, on somebody else’s blog that ‘they’ stay away from your politics. Everyone, in the free world (& still in the USA – for now) is entitled to their opinion and entitled to state it if they want on their blog. You can read if you want, you can take offence or applaud it if you want, but you cannot tell someone to keep their views quiet because you are offended.
      I love those little bootees btw. And every single word of this blog post.

      • To be fair, marilynr did not tell Steph to keep her views quiet. She said she did not like the blog when it turned political. That’s her right to say, as well.

        I agree with Stephanie, that words lead to ideas, and widely-held ideas lead to systems of thought. So what we say is important. And how we say it is important.

        This response is polite, strong, and to the point. And marilynr has the right to express her opinions in this way as well. In my opinion.

      • For a countrythat made it their business not mindind their own business, and meddling in other countries, please…a pussy hat in your name.

    • I think it comes to this… everyone is doing the best they can. Compassion, people, and understanding. Mr. Trump is our President just as Mr. Trudeau is Canada’s PM. Sometimes, there’s a good person in the office and sometimes there isn’t. Regardless of what we think of them personally, the fact is, they are our leaders and we owe respect to the position and support for the individual in hopes they will become effective leaders. I truly believe that what really matters is what I do at home.. knit my wee grand girl something snuggly.. bake bread…. knit the same number of hats that I am old to donate for charity (folks, that is getting really tough!)… and the “life lessons” I share with my college English students hoping they will go into the world kinder and more understanding… If we continue to focus on the events of the past (distant or not) we have confined ourselves and others to a realm of stagnation. Things happen; we learn; we move on. Instead of focusing on what has been or is, perhaps focusing on doing our best to give the next generation the tools to live in a world that isn’t always kind or smart or fair… but, hopefully, they will be able to live that way and THAT will make all the difference…

      • Actually, no we don’t. This is normalizing what should NOT be normal. And the voters of the United States should not have normalized Bill Clinton either. This is actually the whole point of the post. This behavior is normalized and should not be.

      • We absolutely do not owe respect to someone who publicly makes fun of disabled people, women, and who blatantly has sexually abused women, by his own words. This is a sick man. I am a psychiatric nurse practitioner and than man has a personality disorder. It is not easily treated because guess what, he doesn’t think anything is wrong with him….most narcissists don’t, which is why they continue with their disgusting behavior.

        • So glad to hear you sat that! I’m a nurse, (not an NP) and I’ve thought for months now that he has a personality disorder. He can’t take even the smallest amount of criticism, and must lash out like a 5 year old. Plus, iit’s very scary having a POTUS who doesn’t (or can’t?) read!
          Steph, you go girl! I’m glad you spoke up to the subway lady. Maybe you gave her something to think about. And I love the rainbow booties!

        • So glad to hear you sat that! I’m a nurse, (not an NP) and I’ve thought for months now that he has a personality disorder. He can’t take even the smallest amount of criticism, and must lash out like a 5 year old. Plus, iit’s very scary having a POTUS who doesn’t (or can’t?) read!
          Steph, you go girl! I’m glad you spoke up to the subway lady. Maybe you gave her something to think about. And I love the rainbow booties!

        • Thanks, Jodi. And even though I am in no way a medical professional, I know that this repulsive man is a narcissistic sociopath and I hope he is booted out of office within his first 100 days.

      • Respect is earned not deserved. One who has treated each of his peers who competed with him for the position of the republican candidacy with total disrespect, one who mocks the disabled, one who discredits an american war hero, one who acts like a spoiled child when faced with criticism, one who treats women with total disrespect, one who appears to have run for a very important office largely for the pleasure of personal ego satisfaction and finds himself at sea because he is actually an ignorant moron who has no clue what to do next, has not in any way earned the right to be respected. By the way, to say that a woman should receive some kind of punishment if she chooses to have an abortion shows a complete lack of respect for the pressures women are under just because of the fact that they are women. No man can ever know how frightening it feels to be in a position of carrying a child when for any one of a million reasons she feels she should not have the child. No man can ever know the anguish of giving a child away for adoption and wondering and worrying for the rest of your life how that child is doing. To respect a woman’s right to make very difficult choices that affect not only her future but also the future of an unborn child is to show maturity and true intelligence. Sadly, Donald Trump is not in possession of these qualities.

        • I was going to write my own response, but yours is so eloquent and says exactly what I feel. While I respect the office, I do not respect the man who has proved himself to be lacking in human decency and quite frankly does not deserve my (or anyones?) respect.

      • Sorry, but the point is we haven’t learned. We have elected a man who knows nothing about history and I think the people who voted for him know nothing either. He thinks like a 14 year old boy and speaks/tweets like someone with a 144 word vocabulary. I love you Stephanie! Speak your mind, I’m with you all the way. #notmy president

        • Even though wearing pink might be a bit sexist in itself, I will wear pink and march in Oregon on Saturday. I will continue to work against changes that negatively affect women, children, people of color, the elderly and the disabled. I can do this without disrespecting the office of POTUS but not respecting the man in the position. After all, the US congress holds the greatest power, not the POTUS, despite what Mr. Tweet thinks. And Congress had better watch their backs for women in pink hats.

        • I think he speaks and tweets more like a 4 year old, making up words, carrying grudges and taking offense at the press asking questions.

          Since I am Canadian, he’s definitely not my president (thank goodness). I am embarassed for my American friends who chose to vote for a demagogue who is racist, sexist, xenophobic and downright rude instead of a fully qualified woman based on fake news about the seriousness of her email (remember the Republican Bush did the same thing), imaginary “felony charges” (not a single one was ever laid), and “Benghazi” when the Republican Congress voted to reduce security, which contributed to the deaths. Unfortunately, everyone in the world is going to suffer for their choice.

          I love the rainbow booties, and think they’re perfect for a baby. Rainbow clothes (sweaters, socks, scarves, etc) are fine for both sexes at any age. Just watch Time Team on TVO (our public television station in Ontario) and see the archeologist in his handmade rainbow sweater in almost every episode.

    • Thank you my fellow American for standing up for our next president. I feel exactly as you do. How quickly these people forget that Bill Clinton raped and sexually assaulted many women. We are accused of ignoring the terrible comments that Trump made twenty years ago but they absolutely ignore the felonies that Hillary committed and was not prosecuted for because she was a Clinton. Talk about sexist, if Hillary was a man she would have been prosecuted.
      I love this blog Stephanie, I love the books you’ve written, I support your patterns and classes, I tell other knitters to check you out, go to your classes and to buy your books. What you said about boys and girls is cool with me. But please please please stay out of politics especially American politics.
      I am a mother of three girls and a son and grandmother of two grandsons. Please keep your politics to yourself and stick with wool and knitting and our shared love of family and knitting and life. Thank you

      • “Keep your politics to yourself and stick with wool and knitting … and family” ?!? Where well–behaved womenfolk belong? Do you even hear how much this sounds like a sexist man wrote it…. in 1951?

        I LOVED it. Read it to my husbeast. We and our 16 month d daughter- who is asleep in her cousins hand me down favourite pirate bulldog pyjamas- thank you Stephanie. I hope she is dreaming of being strong and brave and curious… not a pretty plaything for any man.

        • Fair enough, I didn’t mean it that way tho. I meant that I go to knitting blogs for knitting and I go to political blogs for politics. I have a political blog, and I’m a woman, so I certainly didn’t mean that women shouldn’t have political views. I guess I worded it poorly tho and sorry for that.

          • Not too New, I’ve come for a few years. Having three daughters roughly the same age always made me feel connected to Stephanie. I didn’t comment too often when it turned political, I guess it was just the weird connection between gender roles and president elect Trump that irked me. I am a strong women with a masters degree and I’ve always allowed my kids to be exactly what they wanted to be when they wanted to be. While my husband was defending our country in the armed forces my daughter who was four at the time, chose to dress like a boy for about a year. And I supported her 100%. That’s just one tiny example but I’ve got no issues with the gender role thing. The connection between that and USA politics was clumsy and forced I thought. And almost an excuse to slam a man who hasn’t even had a chance to be President yet. So yeah, it’s my choice to come here, to buy Stephanie’s books, to sign up for classes, nobody is forcing me, I guess I just wish I could come here and read about wool and knitting because that’s what I love about this blog.

      • What Felonies? If Hillary was a man she would have been elected President. she didn’t smile enough, she smiled too much, she wasn’t warm enough, she spoke too softly, she was too strident…. Wow, sorry you were deluded by a racist, homophobic liar. And sorry you believe that the rest of the world isn’t impacted by Trump and his frightening ideas. Too many people stayed out of politics and that’s why the cult of ignorance won.

        • So true, what felonies?. A previous writer quoted “the tabloids” as having all the Clintons indicted. Since when did intelligent people believe what they sell? The popular vote was in favor of Hillary and not the ‘Dump’. I will have to accept him as my president once inaugurated but who is to say he won’t commit actual crimes and continue to tell untruths in order to profit himself? It is hard for the leopard to change his spots.

      • No. Just no. What anyone else has done in their life has ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with what Donald Trump has done with his, or the actions he chooses to represent himself with every single day. Resorting to attacking someone else because you can’t defend who you’re supporting on their own merits is simply a fault in logic. It may make you feel better, but it has nothing to do with the person Donald Trump is or rather (since I don’t know the man personally) who he presents himself to be on the public stage.

        I will also add that I believe that even people outside of the US has a right to an opinion here. They very much have as much at stake here as US citizens do. Possibly more depending on where they live…how is their economy tied to ours, are they living in a war zone or other unstable part of the world? The next US president could have enormous impact on their life and insisting that they should not voice their concerns and “stay out of our business” is just blindly arrogant.

        Granted, the effects in our dear Harlot’s case hopefully don’t have the potential to be so severe, but do not for a second minimize the impact of denigrating whole cultures or openly expressing misogynistic sentiments or excusing sexually assualting women from a position of power. These things have impact coming from anyone’s mouth, and much more from one with a global stage and the responsibility to represent a nation.

        I work very hard to teach my children that their words matter, that their actions have meaning, that taking the high ground is always the right choice…but I’m having a much harder time explaining how so many could turn a blind eye to the actions and statements of this man, excusing them away as the lesser of 2 evils. So, please write on Steph, you’re giving me hope and one more bit of light to share with my children.

        • This is the best reply I have read. Like Stephanie, am Canadian and as a nation, Canada has no idea how your president will impact us and we had no choice in his election, just had to sit and watch in horror. The world needs to pull together as one to fight for what is true and right for all. Banging away at the perceived or perhaps real, indiscretions of somebody else’s husband is a waste of time and energy that can be better used in the struggle to keep the world moving forward – not backwards -in the quest for social justice for all.

          • Fellow Canadian watching on in horror as well. Very well said. Watching this car crash happen from across the border is just not far enough away in my opinion. I fear for the females, the disabled, the poor and the sick in the US., you have a frightening road ahead of you, as does the rest of the world that will feel the ripples of this Presidency.

          • Ditto from Australia. Serious trade and security impacts for us – especially if US China relationships unravel.

        • Dawn – thank you for writing about the fallacy of Bill Clinton’s behavior having anything to do with who Trump is (except perhaps the connection between the two when Trump hosted Bill at many of his NYC parties). It drives me crazy when Trump defenders go to “But Bill Clinton!”
          And given that Canada is one of our strongest relationships and closest allies, who we elect and how our Congress runs our country has a huge impact on many other countries.
          I do think that the polarization that we see in the US is a reflection of our country’s transition from one of production and manufacturing to a country’s whose biggest export is innovation.

      • This is Steph’s blog. She has complete freedom to write about whatever she wants to, just as we all have complete freedom to read her posts…or not.

      • Surely, you understand that American politics affect the rest of the world! It seems ridiculous to me that some of my fellow Americans think that only WE should have opinions regarding politics here. Goodness knows we don’t seem to have trouble imposing our beliefs on the rest of the world…forcefully. Seems, at the very least, we could listen to what people, who don’t happen to live in the U.S., think. (Of course, we don’t seem to listen to each other all that well, so maybe I’m just being silly)

      • One of the things that has been lost recently in the US (my country) is our ability to disagree with someone and still be respectlful to each other. No it seems that if we disagree, we demonize each other–my way or the highway. I respect your right to disagree with other posters’ political views, but this is Stephanie’s blog and she can say what she wants, political or not. If you can’t enjoy it unless she restricts herself to wool and knittiing, perhaps you should check out some of the other knitting blogs to find one that’s a better fit. I myself have enjoyed the lively discourse this post has created, and I think that politics has a very direct connection to the main point she addressed.

      • I’m sorry, but exactly why is the fact that Bill cheated on Hillary something to be held against HER?! This is one comment I am heartily sick of hearing. It’s comparing apples and oranges. Bill cheated; Hillary didn’t. Donald himself admitted to cheating on his first two wives. That’s on HIM. Let’s not hold Hillary accountable for something her HUSBAND did, for cripe’s sake. It has no bearing on HER character or morals. I’m not even getting into the felony comment. Hillary has been under the microscope for 25 years, and has never actually been convicted of anything. Enough said (also, note that I do not love her, but thought she was a much better choice than Trump, who himself did and said abhorrent things, refused to release his taxes, lied and continues to lie, has his press secretary lie, has yet to extricate himself from his business activities, etc. etc. etc. The list goes ON). But, back to it: please, quit blaming the woman for her husband’s actions and decisions. It’s akin to blaming the rape victim for being raped.

      • Yes Diane. Very interesting how when Bill Clinton was doing things in the White House to young women, not one woman marched in DC to protest. Yet Trump said a foul word in 2005 and they use that as an excuse to go out and march? Where was everybody when we had Clinton in office abusing women? Honestly it’s more about dems whining about a loss than women’s rights. And btw, I’m an independent. I feel both parties are liars.

    • You have made a rather large assumption there, stating that the person on the subway was “obviously a very traditional older lady”. Stephanie merely said “a nice lady”. Why was she obviously older? Because her ideas are old and outdated? The argument of Trump vs Clinton is moot. Trump has been elected so it is Trump’s words and actions that will be scrutinised. Rightly so, just as Clinton’s would have been if she had been elected. You live in a democracy. That means you get to vote for whoever you choose. But the other advantage of a democracy is that you have the right to say you don’t agree with the elected leader.

    • And the problem, Marilyn, when people find it a positive thing when their children conform to their gender norms, is that those same people usually find it a negative thing when they don’t.

      As for the emails, if you’re really interested in informing yourself on the subject, there’s a very good podcast called Opening Arguments that addresses it. Including the difference between the emails on the private server and the others, and inlcuding actual case law on similar issues. Not of course including Clintons (Republican) predecessors who did the same thing and ask will not be brought to charges because they aren’t warranted.

      • I’m with you, Donna. I’ll be marching in DC this Saturday, and I will wear my pussy hat with pride, as well as the label of “nasty woman.” The original comment said Steph doesn’t understand what’s going on in the U.S. right now, I’d have to disagree with that and say that Steph expressed my feelings very well. And she has every right to have an opinion on American politics.

        I am on the fourth pair of rainbow socks, this one for myself. They will not be ready for Saturday, but I will wear them with pride when they are done. And I pledge to have at least one rainbow colored project on the needles for the next four years.

        • Reading this four days later, so you might not see it, but I LOVE the idea of always having a rainbow something on the needles for the next four years! I have WAY ramped up my citizen action, as I hope many US citizens will, but I’ll never NOT be a knitter, so this is just one more way to protest. Love it!

    • There is no “worse” (re: which is worse, above). Bad behavior is not acceptable. Period! Rainbow booties for everyone!

    • I really do wish that folks would quit using /Bill Clinton’s alleged crimes against Hillary. SHE has not sexually assaulted anyone. BILL has neither publicly bragged about assaulting a woman nor has he been charged with the crime. (I’m not saying he didn’t do such things; I’m saying no one knows for sure). Therefore, please for crying out loud stop with the “Well, Bill Clinton did bad things so they’re Hillary’s deeds also” line of defense. Sexual assault is too serious a crime to be muddying the issue in this way.

    • Just to pick up on one of your points, I think one of the ways that sexism gets unconsciously perpetuated is by dividing qualities into ones for men and ones for women. I don’t have a problem with women liking things that are traditionally feminine (pink, shoes, babies, whatever), but I do have a problem with women being limited to or by those traditional definitions: no woman is lessened if she wears blue, hates shoe shopping and isn’t interested in children. I can hardly even bring myself to do a list of character opposites: why should only men be strong, proud, honourable – can’t they also be loving, modest, gentle, sensitive – in fact, anything that their hearts, consciences and souls tell them to be?

      • Very well put! My favourite photo of my daughter is her playing with her Barbie and her dolls house, whilst wearing her favourite royal blue dinosaur pajamas. We’ve never imposed any style or preference options on them, and I’m loving their choices! In contrast, my friends’ three boys had dolls, prams, toy kitchens etc and her youngests favourite outfit for a while was a bright purple tutu.
        Whilst our kids have settled into more traditional gender styles as they’ve grown, they’ve also embraced a lot of untraditional things along the way and don’t get hung up on what is for boys and what is for girls – they just go with what they like.
        Makes me feel like I’ve done at least one thing right as a parent!

      • Awfulknitter, I agree wholeheartedly, especially with “I do have a problem with women being limited to or by those traditional definitions,” and I want to call out that it goes both ways. Girls and women usually aren’t punished for borrowing from the “male only” column in the same way that boys and men are punished for borrowing from the “female only” column. I can wear jeans with impunity, but if my husband wore a skirt? Or if a baby boy wears rainbows? Sexism robs things of value and respect if they’re “girly.”
        That’s why wearing pink hats will make such a statement this weekend. There is NOTHING wrong with pink.

    • American politics aside, something that is traditional — a thought, an idea, a behaviour — isn’t right simply because it’s traditional. It isn’t necessarily wrong either. Perhaps having the open-mindedness or willingness to look at ideas and be thoughtful about them is the important thing. Times change, mainly due to the fact that we as a society learn more and more with each generation.

      My brothers are in their 40s and I would happily dress them up in all the rainbow knitwear I could make. And they’d wear it, whether they looked manly or not, because those things would be made with love.

      • My husband passed away in 2014, and his last Christmas, he picked a sparkly pink Santa hat to wear with his choir for their Christmas performance. He was very conservative as a teenager, but seeing the difference in how he and I were treated at work caused him to become a bigger feminist than me. I treasure that pink sparkly Santa hat, because it was his statement that there is no shame in girly things, because there is no shame in being a woman. Traditional things are fine, so long as people are flexible and understand they are preferences, not requirements. But worry that someone will mistake a boy for a girl to me smacks of it being bad to be a girl in some way. I dream of a better world, where it doesn’t matter to anyone whether a baby is a boy or a girl, instead rather, is the baby loved, do they have health care, enough to eat, a roof over their head, and the same opportunity as all other babies?

    • Thank you for having the grace and courage to point out a dissenting view to Stephanie. I too voted for Trump. I don’t necessarily agree with everything he has said, but I cannot support a woman who, simply put, is a criminal, and corrupt to her core. In my book, actions speak louder than words.

    • Marilynr–has it occurred to you yet that ‘tradition’ varies widely by culture and is taught, not innate? Patriarchical beliefs are not something humans are born with, they are learned. Neither is fashion set in stone–nor attitudes toward color–nor what is or isn’t appropriate for someone to like, to want to do, or whom to love. It’s obvious that there are outside observers of American culture and politics who have an astute grasp of that is going on, including Steph, that escapes those who are so caught up in current events as you. It remains to be seen whether it will be the Clintons who end up being charged, or he who has manifested such criminal behavior his whole life that it speaks volumes as to the power of wealth to avoid accountability. Suffice it to say that if anyone has been inappropriate here in discussing politics, it is you.

    • Hi Marylynr – No. She wasn’t an older lady, not that that has anything to do with it. I know closed and open minded people of all ages, and try not to stereotype them. As to the rest of your comments, I respect your right to say as you please, but will note this: All parties have been investigated. Nobody has been charged with anything. Not the Clintons, not Trump. No felonies for any of them, despite the best efforts of all their enemies. In the debate, I will note that I find it difficult to accept the idea of charging a woman with her husbands crimes or the other way around, and that in the absence of charges, I’ll go with the great rule “innocent, until proven guilty.” Nobody has been proven guilty, not even Mr Trump… but that’s only because admitting that you abuse your power to assault women is legal. Apparently. I absolutely respect your right to differ with me, though I disagree with your idea that it’s none of my business. Mr Trump will be in charge of managing the largest trade relationship on earth, the one between the US and Canada. Where I live. Dude’s totally relevant to us. All the best.

      • Thanks for being gracious and strong in your reply, as usual, Stephanie.
        I will only note that I love the booties, and I love that your grandson will have a strong, articulate, and clear-eyed grandmother to support him.
        I remember all the times that my daughter was mistaken for a baby boy (even when dressed in a handknit lace cardigan!) and each time I simply smiled politely. Who cares? It says more about the adult’s assumptions than about my baby!

        • My daughter was taken for a boy until she started to grow hair (around age 2). When people would ask my husband his “sons” name he would say Johnny as a joke (her name is Ali! :). While I’m your commuter lady didn’t mean anything by the comment, it just further proves how our society still promotes the inequality between the sexes.

      • Oh, Stephanie, you are SUCH a Canadian – sticking to facts and not political rhetoric! Our southern (American) neighbours are certainly living in interesting times; those of us (the rest of the free world), alas, will pay the price of their descent into radical populism. But I despair of the Canadian woman on the subway – obviously a victim of false consciousness! And I save my one rant for the use of the word “tradition” – “tradition” has a temporal quality that is enduring and well beyond current history. The post-war anti-feminist sexism of the 1950s is an unfortunate phenomenon, but it is not “traditional”. Absolutely LOVE the booties; one can never have too much colour.
        Mahsi cho!

      • Steph: Nicely done, and responded, with grace and dignity. I may not agree with Marylyn – or most comments on both sides – but would hope that readers share the same respect and courtesy as if in your living room. Quoting a dear friend from Scotland, is this the best we could do? One world – say a prayer for us all.

      • Well said. I’m English and take a very keen interest in world politics, particularly in the machinations of the most powerful; I would certainly say that the USA comes into that category, and when the US intelligence agencies unanimously conclude that the Russians have systematically hacked and corrupted what should have been a fair and democratic process, then either Mr Trump and his acolytes are guilty of treason and the election result is not therefore valid, or those agencies have demonstrated a monstrous lack of judgement and competence. I certainly know what I think, and while I would not once suggest that any agency is infallible, the track record of that man speaks for itself, and unfortunately for the decent people in this world will continue to do so.

    • The idea that Clinton had 92 email leaks and hence committed 92 felonies is not true. The “leaked emails” were emails sent to and from John Podesta, and were *campaign emails* nothing to do with her work when she was Sec. of State. In her role as Sec. of State, she sent emails over a private server but none of those were hacked or leaked. Her private server was actually secure. If she had committed 92 felonies, the FBI wouldn’t have said that she committed no crime! It is really disturbing that people voted for president base don entirely false information!

    • I too am an American, so I would be within my rights to find Mr. Trump’s remarks offensive to my ethics; even as I hold his future office in highest regard and do as I can to support his successful term as our president. Stephanie’s vent wasn’t really about our politics, nor any country’s politics specifically. I understand her frustration with her fellow commuter, and perhaps they are both correct, each in her own views. That typed, I much prefer a world where each individual is allowed to be loved and valued without categorizing every blasted portion of his or her actions. As my son schooled me several years ago in an argument over infinity scarves, in which I originally sounded a good deal as you do in your post, “Mom, it’s different now than it was when you are a kid. We just don’t worry about boy-stuff and girl-stuff. We like what we like and we are all okay with it.” Wisdom of a then 6-year-old; allow yourself to consider the truth of it as I once did. The kids get it, maybe we should too.

    • I’m sorry but I think you have missed the point of this blog post, if all you took was your assumption of an isnult lobbed at YOUR next president then I think you need to reread it. Placing labels on anyone is not OK, I believe what was being pointed out here is that justifying sexism right from the start you are saying that females are not as qualify, important as men, completely wrong. Setting the stage for all of the situations Stephanie pointed out, wages, less power, control over their own bodies. You are erasing years of forward work and struggles by women. As you stated “but many MEN IN THE REST OF THE WORLD do” is unacceptable. Many men in the rest of the world get away with degradation, mutilation, raped, forced marriage….the list goes on. Is this the world you want? Is the the world, country you are advocating for?
      Let’s start with your comment of “most voters”, I would like to remind you that he lost the popular vote, meaning MOST people did not vote for him, he won by an outdate system, The Electoral College. Using your president elect as an example is current, justified and important. The soon to be President of the United States made disgusting remarks about women, your mother, your sister, your daughter. He raised his voice and by that he gave a voice saying it is ok for people to say and do as they please. By standing up for this you are giving a green light to people to be able to say as they please. That is not OK. Its not OK for men or women to make these remarks. Your country is going through a large change. You can count on that. The change unfortunately is backwards by about 70 years. Where a person’s gender, race, religion is how they will be judged. That is not OK

    • As the mother of a son who was recently called “a girl” by a grown man because he likes to wear nail polish, I think these traditional societal norms that you propose are perfectly acceptable need changing. My son (who is very much male in sex and gender despite liking nail polish) was devastated because another adult was saying that who he what he wants and likes isn’t acceptable. OVER NAILPOLISH. And maybe that’s just the point – rainbows should be fine for WHOEVER wears them however old they may be. Those changes need to happen, and they happen when people stand up and say, “I think your subtle statements about gender are wrong.”

      And I really appreciate the political opinions shared on this blog. Thank you for sharing them, Stephanie.

      • A certain nail wrap company has a lot of male employees. They are all converts to nail decoration – not because they have to for work, but because they realised how fun it is!

      • I am sooooo making a pussy hat in your name. It will be worn with pride to represent the women and other marginalized people that are bullied by the small minded, entitled, and ignorant.

          • Wow. Knitters and women should be nice to each everyone. To say that you are spitefully knitting hats in the name of those who disagree with you is sad.

          • Wow. To spitefully knit a hat because someone disagrees with you is sad. Knitters used to be nice. Shame on you.

        • This used to be a friendly blog about knitting. I think some people writing blogs are purposely bringing up the subject to get many comments and more attention to their blog. Not only this one but a few others that I’ve seen and have now stopped reading. Just saying. Lots of spiteful comments going on. Women should be strong, but respectful. of .each other

    • If, by “most”, you mean the larger number of, than most American voters did not want the current, incoming administration at all. Most Americans voted for Mrs Clinton. Most Americans are worried, anxious or afraud of the next 4 years and what will become of this country.
      Perhaps you need to stop reading tabloids, and start getting your current events information from factual news sources.

    • First off, tell your beloved President-elect to stop getting so wound up about everything, because he’s not going to last the four years of his presidency making everything said about him a global statement. I think he has bigger things to worry about then tweeting about his portrayal on Saturday Night Live, a COMEDY sketch show. He seriously needs to pick his battles. Oh, and focus on his JOB. Second, Hillary lost. Move on. Its time for Trump supporters to start holding him accountable, instead of gaslighting with “….but Hillary, but Bill…..”. Nope sorry, we are talking about Trump now. Trump and his actions, his words, his deeds. Third, talk about not undestanding what is going on here….92 felonies??? Hahaha where do you even come up with such things? Sad!

    • Oh dear! Please don’t put your political ideas on Steph’s blog – that’s what your blog is designed to handle. Remember you DON’T speak for most American voters, since your candidate lost by almost 3 million votes! Check your facts somewhere reliable, like NBC, CBS, CNN or ABC.

      I love the rainbow booties, and know for a fact that what color booties or shirts or even what toys we play with makes no difference at all to babies and children, and even to adults.

      I would make a pussyhat in your name, but the 5 I’ve made are all spoken for.

      • I agree with Marilyn and by the way Diann, the fact that you suggest getting reliable news from NBC, CBS, CNN or ABC explains everything!

        • Where do you get your news? I suggest you look at some sources such as the CBC and CTV or BBC. In Canada at least there are rules against lying to the public on newscasts, sources such as Breitbart and Fox news have made great use of the “free speech” clause in your constitution, resulting in the cult of ignorance.

    • What is wrong with being kind and going along with tradition? Why do so many ladies fill the need to be vulgar to prove they are women? What happened to respect for our leaders? I too love the knitting pictures, projects and stories in this blog. It use to be funny and inspiring, not everything has to have an agenda.

      • “being kind and going along with tradition” means that nothing changes. Nothing improves. Nice if you’re a white male at the top of the pile, not so good for everyone else.

        (PS. my captcha says “Click or touch the MAN”. Weird or what?)

      • Hi Judy,
        “What’s wrong with being kind and going along with tradition,” is that tradition (even if well-intentioned) is not always kind.

    • Asside from all else that Hillary did, she enabled Bill’s repeated sexual assaults on sevrral (that we know of) women over the years. At the very least, the imbalance of power in the relationship with Monica Lewinsky would have had him court martialed in the military. Trump won because he was the least distasteful choice. It is my hope that he does well as a rising tide lifts all boats.

      • Bill Clinton wasn’t IN the military – so really that is an absurd statement. And saying Hillary ‘enabled’ her husband’s affair – do you have any idea of exactly what ‘enabling’ means?

      • You do realise that if the Republicans follow through on their promise to repeal the ACA act, at the very least 20 million people will lose their health care? And how many of those people will die, because they are unable to access health care? You do realise that Trump’s plans for taxes will benefit the uber wealthy and increase the deficit? You do realise the jobs that have been lost that he is trying to say he will restore have been lost due to other reasons than jobs moving to countries to with lower wages? Coal is being eliminated because it costs more to run electric plants than natural gas. Manufacturing jobs have been lost due to increased use of industrial robots and the increase in efficiencies as a result. The US needs to increase its investment in education, not make the cuts that have hindered the ability of the poor to make changes in their socio economic levels.

        In short, everything the Republicans and Trump are promising will benefit the rich and privileged and do nothing but hurt the marginilised and poor.

    • I’m an American and I feel like you missed the point completely. Stephanie, and the majority of Canada’s opinion right now, is 100% correct. That man is an odious tyrant, and nothing anyone says can change that. If you voted for him then I’m sad for you that you were so easily manipulated. No woman in her right mind had a single solitary reason to vote for him, and there is not one thing you, or anyone else, can say that would make it ok. A vote for him was a vote for sexism and hate, plain and simple. He didn’t just SAY awful things, he DID many, many horrible things in the name of being a rich entitled white guy. He treats women like shit, and he has proven it time and again. Think about that for a minute while you meditate on your traditional values. Please pay closer attention before you vote again.

      • I agree! I feel my blood pressure rising as I read this comments but I refuse to engage with people who have swallowed the lies; it will do no good. I just hope the USA survives this horrible time.

        • Every person I’ve known who’s voted for him never went beyond the sound bites. When I ask them anything in detail not one can come up with an answer. They bought into the hype, did no reading or investigating to find out the “real” story. They say they wanted “change” but none of them understand or care about the price we’ll pay or the terrible changes we could face. It makes me literally nauseous to think that our great country could elect such a horrible person.

          • That was my experience as well. I kept asking, over and over for them to please give me specifics, and no one would answer with more than generalities…

          • That’s sad. I have my masters degree in political science and am a professor. I am a proud, strong woman who has three daughters. I voted for Trump as did my mother, two sisters and three daughters. I am very well informed on all the aspects of this election and each candidates views. It’s just as sexist to say all Trump voters are ill informed. And did you hear that pro life groups have been blocked from the woman’s march?

          • Sorry, but you’re ignorance regarding professional qualifications alone (you say you have a Master’s, but call yourself a Professor? Umm. Nope.) betray the truth: you’re as self-righteous and ignorant as you are desperately trying to pretend you aren’t; you’re a tragedy. Do us all a favor and go speak where no one has to hear you.

        • Why should anti choice groups be permitted to join? They want the antithesis of what the march is for. If you want to not have an abortion, don’t have one. If you want to control someone else’s choice, mind your own business.

    • I feel very sorry for women like Marilyn who fight for this man. What kind of life have you had that makes him okay with you? I will be wearing a pussy hat to our local protest, as well as knitting some for those lucky enough to be in Washington, and I will wear mine for Marilyn and women like her.

      And Steph, as always, thank you for allowing these conversations. I really am surprised anyone would have trouble with rainbows on boys… the booties are so darn cute!

    • Knitting my pink hat as I read your post (as my 24 year old niece is marching) and my blood pressure rises. How can anyone think he is ok in any sense? Thank you, Stephanie, for seeing our country so much more clearly than anyone who voted for that man.

    • 1 persons wrongs don’t excuse another’s. Trumps wrongs weren’t just things he said but things he did. 3 million more US voters voted for hilary Clinton. Our system of democracy still let trump stand as president. So be it. He will serve. I will pray-for him & for us all. This is as I would for any president.
      As far as colors & genders: IMHO rainbows look great on all of us. BTW men in pink shirts with grey suits & silver hair look smashing. Find a rainbow to go dance in like my dad & I did as a child. Great fun. We looked great too.

    • Our president elect is and idiot. An embarrassment. I hope he will soon be impeached.
      I sent a pink pussy hat because I will not be there to protest In person.
      Steph is correct.

    • In Belgium they always guess boy no matter what they where for fear of causing offence. It is a terrible state of affairs if we think one baby gender is worst when bot are capable of beautiful and amazing things. Love the booties!

    • I think the point is that there is something wrong with the traditions. My son loves bright colors, climbing, and dancing in his tutu. He doesn’t know or care that it was intended to be a piece of girl’s clothing, he just likes the way it moves when he dances.

      Perhaps the lady was older, traditional, and didn’t think through what she was saying because she was embarrassed. And I know that I am not always as thoughtful in the things I say as I would like to be, so perhaps I should just forgive her. That doesn’t mean that I will ever accept the culture that made her. Traditions were made, and they can be changed.

      As for Clinton? Trump says he doesn’t care. If you still do, look into the facts of the case and the others involved.

    • NOT American politics, my friend. First, our friend, Stephanie here is an American, a North American, as we are. Second, our politics affect the entire world. Third, her blog, she can talk about what she likes.
      Thank you, Stephanie, for speaking out for girls and boys being allowed to be people first.

          • Dianna, Sorry, but we are Canadian and not American. To go to the US, we go through US Customs at Border crossings with required Passports. Yes, we are North American. I have been a Canadian for nearly 71 years and yes, I do have family in the US and Canada.

          • Pat L you just said it-US Customs not American customs. We here in the US of A are often arrogant and forget we don’t own America

    • Making a hat and marching on Saturday in DC because I do aspire to the “utopia” that women and men and others are and should be equal.

    • Several years ago, I took part in a training course conducted by the local Air Force personnel based on the Blue Eyes/Brown Eyes experiment. It was a powerful lesson in dominant/subordinate psychology. The trainers used blonde jokes as an example of how words are used as the first step in subordinating a person; i.e. if it’s OK to laugh at a generic blonde woman, then it’s OK to laugh at the specific blonde woman the next desk. If it’s OK to laugh at her, why would you promote her? If you can’t promote her, why would you pay her the same as a man? Little steps lead to great consequences.

      Stephanie took a little step in explaining a different world view to the traditional woman, a world view in which it doesn’t matter if a baby is a boy or a girl and it doesn’t matter if your president is a man or a woman. What matters is their value as a person, how they value themselves and how we value each other.

      We’re seeing this writ large on our political stage and learning, to our dismay, that much (not a majority) of the US voting population lives in a world view of fear and anger that leaves no room for valuing people. Do we give up? Absolutely not. We raise our children and influence our grandchildren to be loving, empathetic, empowered and active.

      I’ve tasted and deleted from my feed several blogs that embedded a political or religious agenda. I don’t agree with their perspective so stopped reading them. Why on earth would you spend your time blasting the blogger on your way out the door? Or stranger yet, keep reading what annoys you?

      Stephanie writes a blog that speaks to me at many levels. I learn to be a better knitter and I’m inspired to be a better person. Thanks, Stephanie, for sharing your life, skills and thoughts with us.

    • Hmmm…”obviously a very traditional older lady…” Did you see her? Or are you just making assumptions here?

      Also, if you’re going to get your hackles up this much over true statements about our soon to be dictator, you’re going to be very frustrated over the next 0-4 years.

    • Oh yes Stephanie understands what’s going on here AND she is speaking truth about it. I will knit another pink had in your name too!

    • Steph, Thank you for your SPOT ON assessment, and this is from an American who likes being a woman enjoys feminine things.

      I am also a sexual abuse survivor, the mother of daughters, and a grandmother. I don’t want them to live in a society that accepts mysogynistic behavior as “boys just being boys.” I don’t want them to live in a society that treats women who stand up against such behavior like they are “exaggerating,” and then try to Gaslight them.

      Steph, your view is absolutely correct. The insult was to refer to the current situation as a gut-level reality, as if it is something that we should just shut up and go along with. Not in my America. Not in the world I want to live in.

      Marilyn, no one, whether in America or not, should have to keep their mouth shut so people like you can be more comfortable.

    • Sigh… Maybe I should just knit pink hats until I gather with my family and friends in Washington on Saturday, but there is one important (at least to me) comment in your post that I need to correct. You can have your opinion and desires for the US … it is our right as a democratic society. But please do not claim that “like most American voters”… The use of the word most implies majority. Mr Trump has less votes than Senator Clinton and has no right to claim a plurality. Not that facts have stood in his way of making a claim in the past. Steps off soap box and resumes knitting.

    • It’s very sad for this Canadian to see the divisiveness among Americans, not to mention their rage when someone challenges their choice.
      As for the incident on the subway with the boottees: I’ve met younger women with the same bias.


      • I will knit hats in your honour. I’m sorry the opinion of someone stating that sexism in any way is wrong affronts your sensibilities to the extent that you won’t listen to them further. So you are saying it’s okay for Trump to spew racist, misogynistic, homophobic statements unchallenged? Is that because you agree with him? If so it’s good to know your character.

    • I’m simply interjecting to point out that your new president has been accused of by several women of sexual assault NOT just talking about it. Perhaps your tabloids haven’t made an issue of it. You need also to understand and accept that everyone on the planet will be affected by your new president’s actions, and therefore everyone has a right to an opinion about US politics.

    • This kind of ignorance is what led to Trump getting (not fairly, see: RUSSIA and losing the popular vote) elected.

      Yes, Trump has never done anything illegal in his life. Oooo-kayyyy. You really think he’s hiding his tax returns for no reason? And Clinton actually just chose to use a server set up when her husband left office that was MORE secure than the existing one. You know George Bush lost or deleted 22 MILLION emails, right? Including all the ones elucidating why we got involved in Iraq. (I won’t even get into how many jobs Trump could create – many of them blue collar – in areas where he owns property if he didn’t keep unfairly decreasing his property taxes.)

      Enjoy the last few days of America being great. It’s all downhill from here. The rich will get richer (because THAT’S what deregulation does – please read some current economic studies before you attempt to disagree) and the blue-collar people of America who voted for Trump will probably find themselves in another recession or at least even poorer than before.

    • When someone criticises Donald Trump on specifics, many of his followers respond, “but Hillary….”

      That’s entirely inadequate, especially given that he won the election. My negative feelings about Mr. Trump concern him as an individual, and nothing that someone else has done makes him any prettier to me.

    • MarilynR, you are not alone in defending Trump. Too many people are reacting emotionally instead of rationally. We survived 8 years of Obama without all this protest and going off the deep end. A majority of us believe that the country could not have withstood the problems that would have come along with a Clinton presidency. Many, many Americans now have hope that we can root out corruption in the government and turn the country around. Too many of us are out of jobs and basically have no real access to healthcare, and something serious needs to be done. I won’t be wearing a pussy hat.

    • Please stop reading the tabloids thinking that it is news. I encourage you to pick up a variety of news sources, but please Lord don’t take the tabloids as being news.

    • While I disagree with so much of what you wrote, I do respect your right to voice this opinion, however disagreeable and false I find your “facts”. Let me just say that the office of Prime Minister or President does deserve respect – the person who occupies that office has to earn it. Mr. Trump is President-elect – and if he wants the respect and admiration of Americans and others around the world, then he has to earn it. Here is just part of something my husband (Canadian and American) wrote that speaks nicely to what Mr. Trump could aspire to be now that he’s about to become president.

      “I’m concerned about the adversaries the president-elect of the United States is choosing. At a time when the country and the world could use a true hero to lead and inspire the world, the president-elect chooses to waste time by taking on A- and B-list celebrities. During and after the campaign this person has chosen to publicly spar with Rosie O’Donnell, the cast of “Hamilton,” a former beauty queen, and —most recently—an actress (a very good, award-winning actress, but really?). Defining these people as personal antagonists only diminishes you, Mr. Trump. In no way does it increase your stature. Even if you were to come out on top in every skirmish—questionable results at best—you do nothing to enhance your reputation as a hero.
      It is embarrassing that at a time when the US and the world needs a strong, wise leader, the president-elect chooses to waste time trying to appear to best such relatively unimportant people.
      What if the next president chose to struggle with real, heroic challenges? How can a leader help the country (and the world) make a smooth transition away from fossil fuels to more sustainable energy sources? What can be done to insure a climate that does not degrade the lives of people, animals, and plants? Taking on these types of challenges would elevate you to legendary hero status.
      President Kennedy became a hero by publicly declaring a huge challenge, get a human to the moon by the end of the decade. That heroic vision captured the imagination of the world. How about setting a timeline to cure and/or prevent various illnesses? Instead of having to backtrack about ridiculous statements concerning a wall between the U.S. and Mexico, how will history treat you if you pursued—and succeeded at—an agenda that would change the economic situation between the two countries so that more bridges would be needed—to help the flow of legal goods and people between the countries—instead of walls?”

    • I’m going to wear my Pussy Hat for as long as it takes for folks to realize it is not okay to assault women. Our President is supposed to be a role model, and representative to America and the world. His bragging & Tweets are obnoxious! He better shape up into a reputable statesman fast and start working on what he promised in his campaign. I’m American and I voted.

    • I’d have to disagree and say you don’t have clue about reality – Clinton has been checked out and gee, she’s still free! Check all of the fake news and lies that come out of Trump’s mouth every day… please take the Rose coloured glasses off and wake up. What is going on here, is you’ve been fed a diet of misinformation and lies for so long you can’t tell between truth and fiction.

  3. Yes this. A thousand times this. As a writer- words matter. This isn’t about slamming someone who was overall wishing well- but about recognizing the impact those words can have.

    And also your blog, means you are entitled to your opinion on all things from yarn to politics. Knit on!

  4. Great booties Steph, and thanks for the thought provoking post. Please don’t take all the comments to heart today, it’s not worth it.

  5. Steph, you don’t need to apologise. I think you spoke the words that many people feel. What a lucky little boy your grandson is!!

  6. Wow. Bravo. Imagine what the world would be like if we didn’t have a gender binary.

    And as for our next President, sigh.

  7. I proudly put both my sons in the very pink sweaters my mother handknit….because my mother handknit them. I also gave them baby dolls to play with. They both grew up just fine, are great dads and the younger could be accurately described as a feminist.

    You knit whatever you damn well please for impending grandson.

  8. I think the ladies’ issue became about being a little upset at her own misconceptions, and then continuing to misperceive. The booties will be wonderful for any child.
    And say whatever you like that’s truthful about our President. Truth matters.

  9. Sometimes, you just have to let things go. This very small incident really doesn’t deserve the negative energy put forth in your blog. She didn’t mean to insult you and your allowing this to take up far too much of your time. Listen to Elsa . Sometimes you have to let it go.

    • I respectfully disagree. Small things, small changes, all add up to large things and large changes. If this issues doesn’t matter to you, let it go. If it does, then put as much energy into it as you wish!

      • Life is in the details. It is a writer’s knack to point out details that catch their attention. Stephanie worded her thoughts beautifully, and she was kind enough to share them with us. For you to suggest she act like a Disney Princess … less than thoughtful. You’re squelching her opinion because? Because what women think doesn’t count? Hm, that’s really the crux of it, isn’t it?

    • “Listen to Elsa . Sometimes you have to let it go.”
      Have you actually listened to Elsa? That whole song is about the danger of repressing your emotions and thoughts, the necessity of letting them out into the world even if it means some visibility or even maybe some damage. If something’s bothering you, all the “should” in the world isn’t gonna fix that. Let it go, let it out where it can be examined and acknowledged and eventually actually dealt with. Like, I dunno, maybe in a blog post? It’s a lot less harmful than a giant icy blast.

  10. My five year old son’s favorite color is rainbow, and his favorite toy in the whole entire world is a purple whale he picked out himself.

    My three year old son’s favorite color is blue, but his best loved toy is a pink bear he has named… pink bear.

    Colors are for everyone, and our part of the world is slowly coming to realize that again. I am certain your grandson will love his booties. Especially if they still fit when he finds his toes. They’re bright and cheerful and everything any baby could want within their developing vision.

    • Agree. Have never understood how colors or color combinations can be assigned to specific genders, although this still seems to be common enough to be noteworthy.

      • We should remember that before the first world war, in the US, it was not appropriate to dress girls in red. Red was a hot color and only suitable for boys. Blue was a calming color and the choice for girls.

  11. Here, here! Thank you Stephanie for this (and where are the freaking pockets in my dress pants?).

    Love the bootees.

  12. I loved your post. And the booties are quiete wonderful! It always made me so angry and sad when I realised that it was ok for my little girl to be mistaken for a boy but quite different for the little boys at kindergarten playing dressing up. As if it was a lesser thing to be a girl. As perhaps some of the parents thought. And still think. And I am quiete sorry for the littel boys who are only allowed to wear blue, mud and grey in the way of colours. A rainbow is so much nicer and almost every kid prefers it. Especially if they are little. I hoped so much that it would not mater if I looked like a “typical” woman or not growing up. But somethimes it seems everything is even more separated into boy and girl now then when I was a kid. Hopefully for my 9 year old and your grandchild it will be no big thing what colour they like to wear. Thank you again for your post. I can relate, even if I live on the other side of this world.

    • I so agree with you about things being more separated than ever into boy/girl. My children are in their late 20’s, and since they were babies, nearly all clothes and toys are gender specific now. This is a sad change.

      The booties are so precious, but not as precious as the little toes that will soon be in them.

  13. Having lived through the Grateful Dead era. my first thought is that the baby’s parents must be hippies. The other thing that came to mind from your interesting blog entry was that I do believe the sexual assault rate among boys and men is probably much higher than anyone knows, it being something boys and men cannot admit to having undergone.
    What a dark thought – sorry to be such a downer, but just as the murder rate is far higher for males than females and no one discusses it, I have always thought that a lot more teenage boys (and little boys) must be raped than is ever acknowledged.

    • Unfortunately true. When I was expecting my son (and feeling that he’d be safer than if he had different plumbing) I heard a report on public radio. Don’t remember the exact numbers heard more than 15 years ago, but convicted pedophiles that preyed on girls had, on average, 20-30 victims. Convicted pedophiles that preyed on boys had an average of 200-300 victims! That made me a much more vigilant mom than I might have been.

    • I also think that the rate of male rape/assault can be linked back to the division of gender roles. It’s seen as a way to emasculate someone, therefore a way to gain power over them.
      Assault on anyone is not acceptable.

  14. Fantastic booties for a wonderful little human being who will soon be here. My daughter wore every colour in the rainbow which sometimes caused confusion about her gender but I didn’t care as all the clothes were made with love by her grandparents/me. Your blog=your right to voice your opinion, Stephanie. Catriona

  15. Standing up and applauding loudly! Thank you, Stephanie. Thank you for standing up for someone who wanted to limit the world for your grandson before he was even an outside baby. And thank you for sharing it with us.

    Perhaps the detractors will note, the lady in question was sexist in a harmful way not because she worried that Steph’s grandson may be mistaken for a girl, but because being mistaken for a girl would be a BAD thing. Language is powerful and shapes perceptions, our own and for others. Use it wisely.

    • Exactly.

      Geez, I had to touch the woman, the woman in a skirt, but, maybe it’s a Scot, or a guy wearing a skirt because he likes them.

      • If it wasn’t seen as a bad thing, why would people need to be ‘corrected’ if they guessed he was a girl? Why would the speaker have been concerned that being labeled a girl would be upsetting, and something we must actively prevent against? The only plausible answe is: if being a girl is somehow viewed as ‘less than’.

      • Steph never said it was a bad thing, but a different thing. The overarching theme is “why do we treat girls and boys differently before they even know they are boys or girls?”

  16. Thanks for this post. Loved it! Hope the woman got off the subway rethinking her assumptions. A little education is good for everyone.

    Cute booties.

  17. One day we were out shopping in town and I happened to notice that my 4 year old son was wearing a pair of pink shoes? ‘Where did you find those?’ I asked.

    ‘In the hall closet, they fit’ he resposed.

    Fast forward 20 years later, the roommate upstairs is having trouble with her freindship bracelet. That same boy goes into his room and finds a button and thread to mend the bracelt. He is an engineering student who plays hockey, his sister can operate a skid steer loader and a concert saw.

    Wear whatever you want, just be nice people!

  18. You are absolutely spot on. My niece puts one of those headbands with a flower on her daughter. Why? I knit only gender neutral colors for babies because while parents don’t really care what color a girl’s gift is, they are downright grumpy if the boy’s gift is not “manly” enough.

  19. When I was pregnant with my first child, my husband and I were purchasing a wee coat in blue fleece. The cashier said “Congrats on having a boy”. My husband said we don’t know the sex of our baby, it could be a girl. The cashier got all flustered and said “But, its blue… you will have to return it if you have a girl.” My husband looked the cashier up and down (she was wearing blue) and looked me up and down (I was wearing a blue coat of the same shade as the coat we were purchasing) and said “Who says girls can’t wear blue?”. The cashier didn’t say anything else.

    • About 35 years ago, I made a beautiful smocked dress for my 5 month old daughter. It was a very pretty blue floral print with pink smocking. An older gentleman came up to me in the grocery store to tell me what a nice looking boy she was, then lectured me on not dressing a girl in blue when I corrected his assumption. It was a dress!! With flowers!!! With pink embroidery!!!!

  20. I love your thought-provoking, intelligent and intelligible rants (if such a calm, well-worded piece of writing can even be called a ‘rant’). You make me think, and you make me more conscious and aware, and that can only make me a better person.

    To anyone saying ‘let it go — it doesn’t matter’, the more we ‘let it go’, the more ingrained the beliefs become. You can’t change a habit, or an attitude, that you don’t first confront, examine and question.

    Gorgeous booties!

  21. Love the rainbow booties, Steph! Wish I had rainbow yarn to make a pair for my soon to be born great-nephew. Might have to hunt some down.

  22. Too true. The colours of clothes are only the start of it! It’s the toys that get me: when you walk into a toyshop and the ‘Imagination and creativity’ section is all pink, as if having a Y chromosome means that somebody doesn’t have those things! Or that Lego kits try to attract girls by being pink and having cute animals. I feel such a rant coming on whenever I notice one of these things.

  23. I have to share this anecdote from my child. When one of my sons was 5, he loved pink (he has red hair, so it looked very good on him). We were in a shoe store and he gravitated to a pink pair of sneakers. The salesman started to say “but those shoes are for…”. I had to stomp on his foot to get him to shut up, whereupon I said “for children who like pink shoes”. He looked shocked, but apparently he wanted the sale enough to not comment further :-). We bought the pink shoes (sadly, my child eventually learned that sometimes clothing choices do not make you more popular) and now this boy is an adult, who owns a few pink dress shirts plays ice hockey, skis down slopes that scare me to death, and has plenty of girlfriends (though if this had been an early sign of him being gay, I would have been fine with that). Sometimes a color is just something pretty, whether it’s chosen by the child or the grandma. And these things do matter. You say this isn’t direct sexism, but I could draw you a line from comments like this to women making less money with very few steps.

  24. Fantastic bootees! Lucky baby boy! My son, now age 18, wore nothing but bright tie-dyed tee shirts and blue jeans all through 4th grade and into middle school. He had hair halfway down his back. Except for two brief forays into short hair in high school he’s had long hair pretty much since he was 9 years old. He got taken for a girl quite a bit. If it was a situation in which he cared, he’d tell people his name, which is Thomas, and that seemed to help folks get that he has XY chromosomes. Lots of times he didn’t care. Neither did we.

    The world is changing. It has changed a lot. Masculinity and femininity are being redefined. I get that that makes some folks uncomfortable or nostalgic. I really don’t like that th7young person who served me a sandwich today had five facial piercings, either, which younger people have told me is just something I need to get used to because, at age 50, I’m behind the trend on that one.

    We all face stuff in the world that makes us unhappy. We all have a right to say we’re unhappy. Especially on our very own blogs. Even if commenting about someone else’s politics. Period.

  25. Brilliant. Simply brilliant. I had no idea that I felt these things too until you put these thoughts of ypurs out in to the world here. You have awaked a part of my brain that was slumbering. Thank you..

  26. Those are the most perfect booties ever, Stephanie. Babies need color, all the living color we can possibly put into their lives where they can see them.

    I had a conversation just yesterday with my daughter about the blue/green afghan coming along for her baby boy who’s coming along in there. And I realized I was making it in boy colors not to be in any way sexist, but to relieve her of the pain of dealing with people who are should he (hopefully) latch onto that as his very most favorite blankie that has to go everywhere with him.

    On the other hand, they have a Saint Bernard and two cats so the afghan might not last the week. But the love that went into it will.

  27. Pretty bootees.
    Pretty interesting comments – when a woman is held responsible for what her husband did – I think we need more bootees.

  28. In the first place, I think “rainbow” is the perfect colorway for any and every baby! Plus, it’s beautiful!
    Second, thank you for this post. Speaking up, speaking out-our only hope for change!

  29. I was in a men’s clothing store on Saturday and those booties are sort of plain compared to some of the socks being marketed today for adult men. . That said, I loved you post and the booties

  30. Thank you for a most eloquent response to the subway lady’s comment. The bootees are brilliant and any little one would be lucky to wear such beautiful colors.

  31. Aaaawwwwww…love the bootees, and your blog reminded me of when our Big Man son used to wear his little red velvet dress.
    As for Canadians commenting on the American doofus, we must all keep this top of people’s minds and keep close watch. There was a time when silence cost millions their lives. I must stop now or my hair will catch fire.

  32. This isn’t about clothes exactly-tho I have pictures of every one of my sons in dresses (they couldn’t care less)-but when my oldest son was about six he was sick. After the dr visit I stopped at the store down the street. He wanted a toy and picked out a little bunny wearing a pink dress. He carried that toy til he wore it out. FYI he is a chemical engineer who just gifted me my first grandchild and he’s an amazing father. I couldn’t be prouder. So suck it haters that gave me crap for buying my son a ‘girls doll’. I love the rainbow booties.

  33. I can’t remember the title, but when my daughter was young, one of our favorite books was about parents having a child and refusing to tell anyone whether said child was a boy or a girl so that gender stereotypes could not be applied. We talked and agreed that would be hard in real life, but it made us both aware of those pernicious attitudes and prompted many talks.
    I agree with others about your right to say what you want on your blog. I also agree with what you said.
    As for rainbows, hippies brought the wearing of rainbows to everyone, and I’m glad to see the joy continue.

    • Was it one of Louise Penny’s books? And was the child called Storm? I read that one, and was intrigued by the possibility of doing that. Of course, after about 13 years of age, gender will generally reveal itself.

    • My favorite story in Ms. magazine in the 70’s was called “Baby X” about a couple who refused to tell anyone the gender of their child, even in First grade. It sure pointed out how we tend to make assumptions really early, even when we don’t mean to.

  34. Hurrah for rainbows! As the mother of a little girl I try to call out gender inequality wherever I see it. It’s not perfect, and I’m not perfect but gender inequality is very real and it *starts* with different treatment for little girls and little boys. That’s how little people learn it’s ‘ok’ for girls and boys to be treated differently. So yes, it’s a small thing and yes, it matters. And yes people (of any age and gender) should have their thinking challenged.

    As for Trump, he’s plainly a despicable person. I’m frankly astounded that so many people thought he was suitable to be in charge, and justify his actions by saying other people do bad things too. I don’t care if Hilary is the very devil incarnate it doesn’t make it ok for anyone else to conduct themselves so poorly. Two wrongs don’t make a right.

    Also, anyone can have an opinion on anything. But in something as big as American politics, people are bound to weigh in, because America is a world power, so the American Government affects us all, unfortunately.

  35. Some of this is putting me completely off my wine and popcorn. It’s Steph’s (virtual) living room, and we are invited FOR FREE to hang out.

    Let’s respect our hostess and talk about how much yarn got chopped up in relation to how much yarn made it into the wee pom-poms.

    • I don’t think that having a discussion, even a slightly heated one, with differences of opinion, disrespectful or abusive of hospitality. As long as the discussion is respectful of everyone’s right to state their opinion. And truthfully, Stephanie started it. And we don’t all have to agree with her. I do agree with her, and applaud her views on this topic, but I don’t think we all have to. It’s much more interesting to hear other points of view than a chorus of agreement.

      • “Stephanie started it.” I don’t know what you meant by that, but it gave me a flashback to when my girls were small and I got lots of “but she started it” .
        And Presbytera stated her opinion. And now here’s mine.
        I LOVE those rainbow booties.
        I have an opinion on American politics also, but don’t have the energy to say more than Trunp IS NOT the President UNTIL the Inauguration. Sadly many people here in the US don’t seem to understand that.

      • I agree, and I know what Presbytera means (as I almost always do.) As long as everyone is polite, I’m down with dissent. To each their own. (I think that Our Lady of the Comments is speaking of the very few that aren’t open to others.

  36. Love those booties and love this post. Thank you. I am marching with my female in-laws in indianapolis this coming weekend to show our support for feminism and women and men and humans in the U.S. <3

    • Another Indy reader here, and I’ll be marching with Grandgirl, 15. Her sign is going to say something like “I’ll vote in 2020.” And our pussy hats are ready and waiting.
      Thanks, Steph — for being politely firm with the subway lady, for reminding Americans that the whole world is watching, and for letting even the sadly mistaken state their views.
      And I LOVE the booties! Babies see primary colors long before pastels.
      I’m supposed to touch the World, but it’s you, Stephanie, who truly DOES touch the World.

  37. It is a heart heavy year to be raising my four year old daughter and expecting another baby girl a little after your new grandson. I am trying to hold hope that we will dig our way out of this mess and leave them a world I’m not afraid for them to live in…in the meantime, I Knit On like Elizabeth told me to.

  38. Well, I’m a little bummed because my name is “marilyn r” as well. However my politics are approximately 180 degrees from the marilyn r above. I’m embarrassed that the United States elected Trump. If his lips are moving, he’s lying. Frankly, the alleged “golden showers” are the least of his sins. At least those prostitutes probably got paid, unlike all the contractors he’s stiffed over the years. Hillary Clinton has worked for the rights of women and children for 30 years. Don’t even mention Benghazi to me unless you’re ready to talk about the dozens of people who have died in U.S. embassies around the world under Republican administrations. The world is a dangerous place, and Trump is not making it a bit safer. I could go on and on, but I won’t. I am joining the League of Women Voters, re-upped my American Civil Liberties Union membership, and though I was reared a Lutheran, I will be as close to the front of the line as possible if there is a Muslim registry.

    Love you, Steph! Keep knitting rainbows!! The world needs more rainbows.

    • Hi!

      Out of ALL the comments, there was only one dissenting opinion, (which Steph would be the first to say she has the right to have) and she has gotten plenty of dissenting opinions on her dissenting opinion (including mine, which I have a right to have :-))

      I’m glad you see the current circumstances as a call to action. Me too.

    • …and very educational! We’ve already joined our local peace council, the Sierra Club and a few others. Now I’ll be looking into LWV and ACLU…

  39. My daughter went through a time that she preferred wearing boys clothing, it was just more comfortable. She also happens to wear her hair short. There were many, many, many times that she was mistaken for a boy. And I truly believe it was gender stereotypes that seem to be ingrained. Short hair, t shirt, cargo shorts = boy. I’m proud that she always handled it with grace.

  40. With the vibrant rainbow colors, some people would assume the child’s parent(s) were gay! I love the bootees for anybody: girl or boy, GLBT. Sorry you elicited some defensive, judgmental responses.
    What was the yarn? I gave a grandson who could use some socks!

  41. Love the blog, love the bootees, love the Pom poms, but most of all, I love the thoughtful, intelligent, truthful and eloquent opinions that are being expressed by Stephanie. We are watching a dark time in history unfold, and the only way we will get through it is to realize that the danger is real and that ignoring or excusing the behavior of our future president can only make the situation worse. With great power will always come great responsibility, and part of that responsibility includes not joking about violent assault perpetrated on over half the world’s population. Don’t apologize for one word of this spectacular post. I’m knitting my third pussy hat, and I’m forcing myself to remember that being a part of the solution means speaking up and putting my money where my mouth is. Cheers to you!

  42. Several of my co-workers mentioned avoiding rainbow colors because they did not want to “encourage that sort of thing”. This despite our employer being uber supportive of diversity. (mumbled obscenity)

  43. And this is why you are so fantastic. I love hearing your views, and I think being political is important, and you inspire me every day. Thank you!

  44. Yes, indeed, it really does start early, doesn’t it? I had a discussion recently with my children (boys and girls, ages 6-12) about gender roles and the “rules” that go along with them, and the social costs of opting out of aspects of those roles.

    I was surprised, though I should not have been, that even the 6 year old knew exactly what I meant, and could provide clear, copious, and insightful examples of how boys and girls are supposed to be different, and what happens if they aren’t. Because she has heard it, seen it, breathed it in, since she was a tiny baby and the colour of her clothing that day determined how she was treated.

  45. Funny thing happened today. I took my granddaughter to get a flu shot. A little girl came in with a Simba (Lion King) stuffed animal. She dropped her hair bow on the ground and I suggested she put it on Simba. She thought that was just grand and Simba looked great!!! When we got outside I said to my granddaughter, ” well we just put a big white frilly bow on a male lion.” Her response, “it just doesn’t matter.” So right!!!

  46. Have finished knitting a number of pussyhats, am starting to build my sign for Saturday, carefully following the rules re: size and materials, and listing as many of the reasons I’ll be marching as will fit.
    I need no apology from you, dear Harlot, because your post was eloquent, gentle, and heartfelt. I do offer an apology from any of my countrywomen who felt compelled to suggest that your opinion is not wanted. I personally value your opinion, and understand that our current situation is relevant to anyone living on this big blue marble. A tyrannical child is about to be given way too much power; we are all endangered by his lack of experience and knowledge.
    I will march Saturday with my husband and thousands of others to express my hopes for the country and the world; for choice, equality, justice, the environment, education, inclusion, healthcare, and kindness – FOR ALL.

  47. Well said, Stephanie. It is sad that many American males limit their color selection to such a smal range rather than risk being thought effeminate. In nature, deep colors announce a male’s vigor.

    My husband wears anything that is black or navy; my son wears a lot of colors. My son has also gotten teased for wearing said colors. To be a man is defined by color choice?

    Your sex is who you are, not what you wear.

    • My stepfather was a traditional kind of guy. When I was 24 I bought him a bright pink shirt with a candy striped pink and white tie to go with his light blue sport coat and his white hair. My mother didn’t think he would wear it (“too girly”). He wore it often and I realized he actually cared about me because he treated my gift with honor. He’s been gone nearly thirty years, I wish I could let him know how much I appreciated him.

  48. Love this. Beautifully stated. My daughters have shown no interest in knitting, up until the need for pussyhats for the March this weekend…first completed project, made with passion. They’ve worn whatever darn color they liked, done sports or not as desired, excelled in math and language, and will follow their own pathway in life, not one someone else limits for them. Keep up the rainbows, my friend.

  49. I agree – this is the kind of marrow-deep insidious bigotry that doesn’t reveal itself in overt acts of hate or injustice but rather that informs every day words and thoughts. We are all afflicted by some type of “ism” to some degree and the best we can do is try to be vigilant and and control it. I like to think that each generation gets better. I see in my own teenaged children and their friends a far lesser focus on race and gender than in my own generation. Your grandson will be even farther ahead. The booties are fabulous!

  50. I have found that most people are very superficial. Children have a place and should look a certain way. Deviation from” norm” is not acceptable.

    My daughter has had short hair for four years. She gets called a” handsome young man” when decked out in a sparkly poodle skirt type dress and tiara! Yet is also told how beautiful she is wearing the tiara with her overalls.

    Teaching your child to be true to themselves is the greatest gift we can give them. Carrying a big verbal stick helps too! Knowing Mom and Dad have your back can take a lot of the sting out of other’s words.

  51. Beautiful booties!
    I agree it’s still a disadvantage in many ways to be female. I do nor respect out president elect as a person. As to crime, he’s the one who’s settled many lawsuits out of court – indicating damages. Hillary is nit tainted by her husband’s actions & she’s never been tried for a felony. As to being protected by being a Clinton, he was impeached. I’m marching too & hoping our government system can protect us from what I fear is coming. Peace Yarn Harlot! Love your writing

  52. I’m currently reading through this month’s National Geographic, completely devoted to the issues around/about gender and how children define it. Your post is serendipitous in its timing. Last year, I took over managing the kids camp for our guild, and noted on our application form for parents to fill out that we still asked for the gender of the child. We decided to remove that question as it was irrelevant. Things are channging and sometimes our brains have trouble keeping up. Keeping an open mind and having compassion is what it is all about.

  53. Maybe somebody said it (way to many responses) but maybe she thought it might be annoying to correct people assuming he is a girl . In the same way people assume I am my Dad’s wife because Dad and I have the same last name – just annoying.. Agenda free.

    Practice 14 reasons. Come up with 14 reasons why what you think someone said really had nothing to do with what you thought it did.

    • But why should we need to coŕrect people thinking he’s a girl? Why is that wrong? Or thinking a female infant is male? For what practical reason would I need a stranger to be aware of my child’s gender? The only reason anyone other than a doctor would need to know a baby’s sex is if you were planning on treating them differently based on it. That is the problem.

      Also, I had to touch the Music Note. That is actually a Treble Clef. Close though.

      • My 6’2″ (189 cm), baritone-voiced, 16 year old son is often assumed to be female because he has long hair. I find this amusing and I _always_ correct the person, not because I am annoyed or offended, but because I want to challenge stereotypes.

        I also comment when I hear someone make a racist, homophobic, or Islamaphobic statement. I think it is important to do this with love _every time_. These attitudes are so ingrained and often unconscious, how will we become aware of our biases if they are not lovingly pointed out when we voice them? We must first become aware that we are participating in the problem behavior before we can choose a new way.

        I’m on a mission to raise awareness in my own little corner of the world. I think I will have a lot of work to do in the next four years.

  54. I had my 1st kid in 2015 and very specifically wanted gender-neutral clothes, toys, etc., because, especially when people are very small, I think gender is absolutely immaterial. It totally drives me up a wall when I see stuff like a blue baby onesie that says “Here I come, ladies!” or nonsense like that. Like, really? We’re ascribing post-puberty thoughts to infants? Why??

  55. Love this! My 3 year old son loves pink, purple and orange. He needed new bowls for snacks and he picked pink (red, blue and green were the other options). And he proudly wears a rainbow hat to preschool, that I knit him, because that is the yarn he picked from my stash. Some might consider it a “girly” hat but he loves it, and that’s all that matters.

  56. I was unaware that anyone considered anything rainbow-striped as only appropriate for girls. I always thought of rainbows as a bright, cheerful pattern that was great for all children. My sons had rainbow sheets on their beds, and I dressed them in bright colors when they were small, as I think children should wear happy colors.
    Love the rainbow booties!

    (As for American politics, you’re spot on. Thank you. )

  57. Oh good Lord. I’m gobsmacked (I think I learned that word from you), that someone would determine the recipient is female based on those colors. There’s much more, green, blue, yellow and orange in them than pink (the traditional color for the female gender. Rainbow colors are totally unisex to me. I could be wrong, but in my mind that woman has to be elderly. I guess I’m stereotyping there aren’t I? Anyway, I think those booties are absolutely fantastic for either sex and I love them!! And I want a pair for myself!

    • Stereotype away. Our four years of experience. Has found that about 75% are mom’s from the 1970’s who cut their own daughters hair in pixie, Dorothy Hamel or that awful Carol Brady shag/mullet. About 20% are other mom’s of children my daughter’s age (usually more viscous) . Rest usually aren’t really paying attention, just see short hair and say” well hello young fell..young lady”.

  58. My little brother was often taken as a girl when we were about 2 and 4 up in Saskatoon in the late 60’s. We both had pixie haircuts, and had proper embroidered parkas (his dark green, mine bright red), and it was always, “Oh, what lovely girls!” He was most miffed at the time “I not a girl.” However, he has since successfully grown up into a wonderful and open minded man now with two children of his own who are just as open minded as he and his wife are. I’d say being frequently taken as a girl when he was just a lad did not scar him at all (or others around him)!

  59. As a 66-year old grandmother of 5, I say: YOU GO GIRL! I’m proud to say I’m a faithful reader of your blog and your books.

    Jill F

  60. Steph, I’ve read you for years but this is my first comment. Your post was perfect, please apologize for nothing! I absolutely love the booties, and love your response to the subway rider.

    And as a neighbor to your south by only a couple of hours, I appreciate that you have a vested interest in our politics, just as I do yours (love that part of my evening news-watching includes the CBC, and my husband and I also enjoy the RMR )!

  61. As a queer, knitting, short-haired cis-woman who loves all the colors in the men’s section, and none of the colors in the women’s section… as someone who loves having big muscles, and also loves earrings and skirts and my Captain America t-shirt… as a whole, complicated, and unique human being, I thank you, Steph, for making the world a safer, better place for all of us whole, complicated, and unique human beings, especially your grandson, who will be so lucky to have you as his Grandma.

  62. 1. It is your blog, Steph. Say whatever you want.
    2. Trump may not be to everyone’s taste( he certainly isn’t mine) but he is the elected president and since we pride ourselves on a smooth transition of our democracy, let’s let it proceed with some grace. He is his own worst enemy – we should be above the fray.
    3. I’m a little surprised that rainbow booties indicate a gender….I would have said they were very gender neutral.
    4. Not sure the subway lady meant any harm- benefit of the doubt maybe?
    5. The booties are wonderful and the black Pom poms really make the rainbow colors pop! Lucky baby.

    • I wish I could agree with you about being “above the fray” but my concern is that being above the fray during the presidential race is what brought us to this point. You’re definitely right that Trump is his own worst enemy, and I sure won’t be surprised when he gets himself impeached, but then we’ll have President Pence! Who knows exactly what he is doing and who is working very hard to tear away the rights of everyone who isn’t a white Christian man.

      So the question is, how do we remain “above” all of this while still working to fight the appointments of people like Betsy Devos?

  63. When my daughter was 2 years old she asked for (and received) a bright red metal toy pick-up truck complete with working tailgate. It never occurred to me at the time, nor does it now that I was breaking some kind of gender-specific toy rule. It made her happy, which was my intent and that was all that mattered. Rainbow booties? Yes!

  64. Thank you as always for your beautiful blend of yarn and serious thought. As for babies, I don’t care what their gender is unless I’m changing their diapers. And that’s because little boys tend to spray.

  65. Thanks for a wonderful post, Stephanie. My grandson, now 4, had knitting needles placed in his hands when he was less than a day old. He is now an expert at setting up my ball winder and winding his own yarn. No, he isn’t knitting yet, but he has his own needles and when he’s patient enough and wants to do it, I know he’ll be knitting. When he wanted a new winter hat, he requested that it be in “all of the colors, Nana” and I let him pick out the yarn. He has mittens to match and gets nothing but compliments on his winter wear.

    I’m totally in agreement with you on the train wreck that is about to hit the White House. Discussion is fine as long as it doesn’t point fingers and become corrosive. Gentle, dear hearts, we will deal with this as it comes.

    Love to you, to your family and wishing you many blessings.

    • Ball winder -that’s a great idea! My niece who’s about to turn 4 has been asking for knitting lessons for more than 2 years but isn’t quite ready yet when we try.

  66. We can be open-minded overall, but it is the micro-bigotry that continues to damage others. Thanks for pointing this micro-bigotry out.

    It seems to me we get in trouble when we see life in black and white. We need all the colors and shades of the rainbow, just as we needs all the shades of grey.

    I really must knit myself a pair of rainbow socks. They will look great with my pink pussy hat next Saturday.

  67. Oh, brother! Nothing like stirring the pot.
    I must have missed the comments when your own leader spewed words of praise for a visciuos leader who killed thousands of his own people by firing squad and caused nearly 20% of Cubans to exile themselves.
    Pretty booties!

    • When a world leader dies it is customary for other world leaders to comment. If you read Trudeau’s comments without the prejudice of Faux news colouring your views, one can not discount its veracity. Trudeau calls him larger than life, how is that not true? He talks of two areas where Castro improved the lives of Cubans, again true. When you write a letter of condolence to a family do you say “he was an alcoholic asshole that beat his children” or do you say something complimentary such as” he made the best chilli”. Revisit your interpretation. How would saying that Castro was a tyrant help the relationship between Canada and Cuba?

  68. You are so wonderfully articulate and sensitive both in your initial statement and in your responses to a very diverse set of comments. And you do it without giving up on your thesis. Canadians rock! Thank you

  69. Wow, an amazing post! May everyone read it as a gentle discussion of the sublle but sad dynamic of sexism that affects us all

  70. Trying for the second time as my post while I was working out didn’t come through…

    I saw these and thought about how cute it will be when your future grandson is wearing them and not only trying to grab them on his feet, but also getting his foot into his mouth.

    What happens when you don’t place gender restrictions on boys? From my own experience (I have 2 sons…. my sons are now 18 and 16), they become kind, caring, self sufficient young men. I taught mine to knit (the 16 year old has stuck with it), crochet (the 18 year old, 16 yo decided knitting was easier), cook, clean, do their laundry, change diapers, etc. Their favorite colors are purple and green… They also have girlfriends (nice girls, the 18 yo’s girlfriend has been forbidden by her father to break up with him) that they are polite and respectful to (holding doors, etc… both girls can take care of themselves, but are treated like ladies) and have been seen on more than one occasion helping someone out (cleaning the snow off their cars, helping the neighbor’s mother get the car unstuck from the mud, etc) and they still do “manly” things (boxing, football, soccer, yardwork, help their grandpa out putting plastic on the windows and doing home maintenance). They also particiate in Jazz and Concert band (18 year old, he is also the audio tech for Color Guard) and choir (the 16 year old, he has also been to all county music festival as well). They are well rounded young men who, quite frankly, are too good for any girl out there 🙂

    The idea of “gender roles” is seriously outdated. Kids these days have a LOT more to worry about than what colors they wore as babies and kids!

  71. I was told that gender specific clothing and merchandise was a relatively modern practice – a very successful marketing strategy to sell more – parents totally sucked into it and bought blue AND pink when formerly hand-me-downs of any color would have been the norm. As knitters, restoring color to the world is part of our job description!
    I wish I was not so “polarized” in my politics and then I listen to the words coming out of that awful man and I am determined to stay vigilant against worse to come. I am proud of Stephanie for being such a courageous person – equally as important as being a knitting genius . Please continue on, we obviously need all the help we can get in explaining just what’s so wrong about him.

    • My grandfather was born in 1907. They had one set of baby clothes. White and frilly dresses! They all wore them until boys were deemed old enough to graduate to short-pants. And as he said “we have pictures to prove it.”

      • Ditto. My father was born in 1905 and the old sepia photo shows him in a wide-pleated dress and high-top shoes standing on a large velvet cushion with one hand resting on a small Greek column studio prop. It’s one of my treasures.

        • Just happened upon this blog, recommended by a YouTube video…I’m trying to learn to knit. I had read several posts and then came to this one. I’m American…from the Deep South. Sad to say, I have Canadian friends who are better versed in US politics than I am. That said, I met a Canadian man not long ago. Upon hearing where I am from, his first words to me were “why are you a racist”? I’m still speechless. (I chose NOT to ask him why he is gay) I’m a senior citizen who prays God will get us through this difficult transition period. As far as Trump and his language/behavior in the past, I, a female, said vile things about men that would compete with his comments in my younger days. Thank God I wasn’t judged the day I became a mother or grandmother about the things in my past. We are all stupid at one time or another. Some of us got over it. Why don’t we give Trump more than 2 days to prove himself?
          As far as the booties, I’m envious! They are adorable for any gender. I hope I will be able to knit something, anything, in time.
          Take care!

  72. The booties are lovely. I need to make rainbow socks for myself. That would be a cheery winter knit.

    And cheer, as well as community, will be key to surviving the next four years down here. I am appalled, frightened, and angered to see not only him, but his appointees.

    I remember the 50s and it wasn’t a glorious time. I also remember Jim Crow, burning crosses, blatant discrimination,and all the horrors that were visited on anyone a little different in any way.

    Thank you, Steph. You are a beckon of light in the ensuing darkness.

  73. Too bad Hillary Clinton had more scandals than Donald Trump. People in most states don’t like her. Looks like the Democrats nominated the wrong candidate ! They should have let Bernie Sanders run instead of pushing for Hillary. Maybe more people would be a lot happier.

    • Yes, Bernie was truly the right choice for working people and the middle class. Too bad the DNC cheated to push Hillary in as the nominee.

    • If you believe Donald Trump got more votes than Hillary Clinton, you are mistaken by about 2.9 million votes. Sadly, the Electoral College (invented so the South could count each slave as 3/5 of a person, while giving them no rights) did not reflect the will of a large majority of American voters.

  74. Too bad Hillary Clinton had more scandals than Donald Trump. People in most states don’t like her. Looks like the Democrats nominated the wrong candidate ! They should have let Bernie Sanders run instead of pushing for Hillary. Maybe more people would be a lot happier.

    • I believe the most primary votes were won by Clinton, not Bernie. And Hillary had more “scandals” because they were made up by the Republicans. If we count actual illegal, unethical actions, Orange Twitler is way ahead.

    • Do you think posting the same message (exactly) twice under different ideas will make knitters/crafters think there are more of you?

  75. Please do not apologize. Right now, we desperately need to push back – gently and lovingly where civilized persons are concerned but a push back nonetheless. I will be marching in my city on Saturday with my husband and younger daughter. I am normally not a marching sort of person but desperate times call for us all to leave our comfort zones.
    BTW, it never would have occurred to me that rainbow socks had a gender association. Did you know that pink used to be a color for baby boys and not girls? As a derivative of red, it was considered too strong and warlike for girls but perfect for boys!

  76. Just notified that we’re expecting our first great grandson. Told my grandson and his wife not to expect pastels. Have knitted a teal variegated sweater with matching hat and socks. Other colors bought are red, purple and rainbow. Just getting started.

  77. Steph,
    I raised 3 boys, now young men. One was enamored of pink and purple, one bedecked himself will all manner of sparkly jewels and treasure; one loved current fashions and styles (changed clothes at least twice a day). All are polite, kind, generous guys that make me proud every day. Pink and purple guy is a chemist who builds and programs robots. Sparkly guy is a computer scientist with a penchant for geology (he likes minerals and gems), style guy is a kayak tour guide who lives in t-shirts and never wears shoes. I think it is funny that it is perfectly ok for little girls to be ‘tomboys’ and dress in jeans and t-shirts, but never ok for little boys to wear dresses (or pink!). Why on earth would it matter? I love your booties for your grandson. I keep an eye out for Koigu ppm in rainbow colors for booties- my sons call them “Happy Crazy Baby Feet”. I think all babies need these-may they always embrace their crazy, unique and beautiful selves!

  78. It’s funny how the concept of how boys and girls should be dressed is different now to say the Victorian era, the portraits of that time, and before, are all of babies dressed in dresses, boys and girls were all dressed the same, there was no distinction while they were babes. Carrie Fisher had an awesome gallery of artworks specifically of children, mostly boys, dressed in frocks, she thought it was hilarious that some of them looked like her friends but in child form, but they were all dressed alike. What happened that we had to make blue a boy colour and pink a girls colour? My kids just used to grab whatever shirt they felt like wearing, they both wore nail polish and both played with each other’s toys, one a girl and one a boy, there was no difference until someone made a comment one day about boys wearing nail polish, my son never wore it again because he had been told it was not a “boy thing”. In this day and age with the amount of hate, bigotry, religious and political division maybe caring what kids wear is the last thing we should really care about and just remembering to be a decent human being is the only thing we should encourage our children to be.

    • I made a rainbow pussy hat because I don’t like pink, but I loved the double entendre that ‘rainbow’ might send politically.

  79. Thank you. My daughter and I are joining the Women’s March on Washington the day after the inauguration. Because I am not a woman of color or Muslim or LGBT or an immigrant, I have had a hard time explaining to my friends why this is important. Your blog post gives me strength to stand up against behavior that too many people are excusing.

    • The white majority is exactly who should be championing our minority peers. It is our unfair system, we should not encourage it’s upkeep, and should actually be the ones to make it better for everyone. Otherwise it is too easy to label the minorities as whiners.

  80. Don’t even get me started. This is exactly why I want to have a baby and not tell anyone its sex until the kid reveals its own damn gender.

    What bugs me most is the implication, however subtle and unintended, that those lovely booties are good for a girl, but not good *enough* for a boy. Most people would no longer balk at a little girl dressing up as a firefighter or doctor or superhero, nor should they. But that’s no sort of equality until we equally embrace little boys who want to dress up as a ballerina or tote a baby doll around and take pride in them becoming nurses or teachers (universally, of course, many of us are already here). Because until that happens, its still just hierarchical—men, then women. As in, everyone can aspire to be masculine, but the feminine is still reserved for those of us in the second-class majority. You want to empower your daughter? Then don’t discourage her brother away from traditionally feminine things. Because otherwise all you’re telling her is that what’s good for the goose is not good enough for the gander.

  81. Haven’t read all the comments, but I did just finish knitting my daughter a pink hat with kittycat ears, and I am so happy that so many in the knitting world are doing the same, with all that implies. Thank you for using your voice.

  82. This evening is the first time I’ve ever read every comment after a post. And thanks to everyone – even the people I disagree with politically – for the comments. Everything is going into the stew in my brain, to fathom how to think about and move forward from the U.S. presidential election result. I ‘specially want to thank one writer for her comment “if his lips are moving, he’s lying”.
    I understand how you – Stephanie – could come home after your subway conversation, and think and think and have to write out some of the ideas and complexities. I’ve been thinking on gender “issues” a lot lately because of the ideas of some young people I know, which are broadening my own already pretty broad but ideas.
    Coming to gender and feminism, and back to that inauguration … I’m still in the negative zone about those pussy hats. I understand wanting to reclaim the word “pussy”, get it back from the grabber. Reclaiming/revising words often takes a lot of words and explanation … altho’ in this situation, amongst the wearers, it’s a fast move. And there seems to be a serious, older part of me (which, at nearly 62 I’ll admit to) that believes fuzzy ears of any colour may not get ideas taken seriously. Being a cat lover, I’ll be o.k. being proven wrong.
    Wow. I didn’t mean to go on for so long!
    Thanks for speaking out on so many things Stephanie. When the young people in my life start having babies – which I hope they do sometime – I’ll happily knit your beautiful, cheerful rainbow booties which the babies may leave on, chew, or kick off as they will.
    Very best wishes!

  83. When I raised my babies in the seventies, there were discussions about raising children with all the experiences that we could. These discussions included making sure our boys played with dolls, and our girls played with trucks and Legos. We wanted them to be both good parents and have work opportunities that were equal. Some parents I knew were giving their baby girls names that could either be boy or girl because they wanted them to have an equal chance when an employer looked at a resume. I think at that time, gender specific colors for kids were diminishing. To say that I am disappointed is a vast understatement. on the same topic, I was a little dismayed that pink hats have become a symbol for the women’s marches. I would have thought that white for the sufferage movement would have made a stronger statement.
    When I saw the booties, my thought was ‘ Cute, they will match whatever the baby is wearing.’.

    Many of us (the majority )in the US are approaching inauguration with trepidation.

    • I seem to recall a lot of that being true about my own childhood in the 80s as well (though certainly with ‘gender-neutral’ leaning towards so-called ‘boy’ things for everyone). I suspect the difference comes from the fact that most people find out what genitals their baby will have in advance these days, and thus all of the prep can be gendered accordingly, combined with clever marketing. Personally, I still find it strange to get a gender announcement before the birth from anyone I’m not especially close with even though that seems to have become the norm.

  84. Oh, my daughter REFUSES to wear those frickin clothes that have no real pockets. Loved this post. And noe i want to knit some rainbow hats. 🙂

  85. I am a school teacher in my second job. One year I had a little fellow in class who loved cooking and the color pink. When I passed out construction paper I always let the kids choose the color they wanted. He always chose pink. One of the other boys started making fun of him for choosing pink one day – so when I got to the other little boy, I didn’t give him a color choice. I gave him pink and made him use it!

      • I’ll tell her you said that! 🙂
        I hate to disappoint you, but she really has normal cat ears. She just heard a sound and flexed them about the time I took the picture!
        At least I think they are normal. Maybe I’m just used to them . . .

  86. If I could only express the complete and utter horror many American women feel about our president elect and his treatment or women and people of color. My grandma was Canadian…I think she made a horrible mistake…do you think they’d let me back in??

  87. Yes and yes.
    The booties are perfect, and damn the establishment that says otherwise!
    Trump will never be my president. People on here are going to say things because they haven’t been paying attention. Don’t take it personally, Stephanie. Those of us who have been paying attention stand right there with you.

  88. Very beautifully (if a bit unfortunately) put. We should greet each new life with equal love and acceptance, and spare them judgement and classification.

  89. Excellent, thoughtful post, Steph, thank you. I love that you try so hard (and succeed) in looking deeply into so many facets of life, and find meaning and ideas and topics for important conversations there.

    I saw the lady-on-the-subway’s comments a little differently on first pass. My daughter wore lots of so-called boy colours as a baby and toddler as I am very keen on hand-me-downs as an environmentally (and financially) friendly option. Some people were worried that she’d be mistaken for a boy, and saw this as a problem. I read into your experience and mine that while we do have many subtle and unsubtle sexisms, we also feel a strong need to clearly categorise: male or female. Having taught a transgender high school student, I cannot help but feel that we do harm to the small but potentially sensitive group of people for whom sex and gender are deeply ambiguous issues. I ask myself, how might we be a community less hung up on categories and more affirming of people and their passions/needs/gifts/contributions, etc?

  90. Sadly, I had this argument (is it all right for boys to wear pink and play with dolls) with my (male) , psychology prof in grad school in 1975!! Shouldn’t we have been through with this by now? (It should be clear from that date that I am an “older lady” , but the opinion expressed by the woman on the bus were not the values of my generation either, at least not those of the women I knew.

    I just finished another pussy hat to mail to a friend (yep, another older woman) in time for Saturday. And FWIW, I welcome the political opinion. Its important to be reminded how others see us, we are not alone in this world!

  91. This is what microagressions are. The small things that don’t generally have a negative intent, but they make you wonder if they’re rooted in negative stereotypes (“You’re so well-spoken,” is it because I’m not white?, “You don’t want him mistaken for a girl,” is it because female=bad or you’ll treat them differently?) and they can pile up like mosquito bites (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hDd3bzA7450) until you crack and everyone wonders why you’re going off on the nice person who was just trying to give you a (backhanded) compliment.

    Parentheses aside, thank you for pointing out one of those small insidious things that many take for granted or don’t take issue with and probably should. I recall you speaking in Indiana and how talking about gay marriage didn’t really go over so well – I think you’re amazing for sharing your opinions on these topics and hope you’re reaching some who haven’t yet met anyone they look up to who has such beliefs.

    Thank you for being awesome, with yarn and with words.

    • Sarah, thank you for the shout out – What items do you like on our site? We’re excited to bring more styles that people want. Let us know how we can meet your pocket needs 🙂 @pocheposh on twitter/insta/facebook

    • Wow! I just started reviewing clothes for the quality of their pockets because I too hate to wear clothes without pockets and want to make it easier for us to find pockets. I am going to go drool over all the amazing pockets. We aren’t just decorative scenery! Functional pockets rule!

      P.s. please don’t apologize, Stephanie, that was a beautiful essay.

  92. I loved your wonderful post. I sent it to a friend for whom it has a lot of meaning. She called me to thank me. About the other thing. I have no words. Honestly, something is wrong with the world when a man like this becomes the president. We have to speak out for truth.

  93. For those of you who think things like this don’t matter, I could write a novel about being a girl given a traditionally male name and what I have dealt with pretty much every damn day of my 35 years. Gender issues crop up DAILY, even in 2017. Rock on with the rainbow socks, Steph.

    And for those of you trying to get people to quit talking about Trump, I suggest you buttercups buckle up. If you think the intelligent women of the world are going to sit quietly by, you’re in for a big disappointment.

  94. Wow. This post struck a nerve. I loved it.
    All I wanted to say is that – the men’s shops I shop at sell some pretty vibrant socks – including rainbow coloured socks.

    • I have knitted all kinds of rainbow socks for years. They are very sought after by men and women alike. Aspecially my son in law asks for them. His work unit are most interested in every new colour scheme. They want them also, but have to buy them!!

  95. Disagreeing politely here, even though I am not Canadian: when I was 5 and had a pixie haircut, I used to be upset when I was mistaken for a boy. I wasn’t treated differently, as these were merely passing interactions; it was just disturbing, people not knowing who/what I was, at that age. So maybe that is all the woman meant: that the boy would be disturbed at being mistaken for something he felt, at the core of his being, that he wasn’t. It’s a very uncomfortable feeling.

    Now, you could argue that it is wrong to consider rainbow colors only suitable for girls, and I would have to agree with you there. Colors are for everyone, and you do touch on that a bit at the end. So maybe I am misunderstanding your point – always a possibility.

    • By 5 (and really, much younger), a child can have clearly expressed preferences, and allowing them to express those preferences (whether the preferences are gender-normative or not) seems like a good thing to me. 5 year olds can also be taught stories and tools to cope if their presentation and identity don’t line up.

  96. I knit Martian Rainbow hats and mittens for my two 4-year-old great-nephews this winter, and they both love them, and so do their parents.

  97. Perfect post and reply, Stephanie.

    I found the vast majority of comments discussing politics completely depressing, however—-many were written with gross factual inaccuracies (“92 felonies”) or contained unsubstantiated sniping. It’s looking like it will be a very long four years to go (surely no more than four!). We are all going to have to get a grip and stick to the REAL facts. Otherwise we will have to start awarding Pinocchios to comments with tall tales. Pinnocchio could at the very least be drawn with a hand knit sweater on!

  98. The way I see it, a baby is a baby. The most important thing in a baby’s life is figuring out what its hands and feet are for. Gender (and gender politics) is completely irrelevant. That grandchild of yours is not even going to know he ever wore rainbow coloured booties until he sees the photos later in life. His parents, however, will (almost certainly) love them. Their opinion is the only opinion that really matters.

  99. Reading through today’s comment section was disheartening. So much misinformation thrown out as fact. I don’t expect to see equality in my lifetime but keep fighting for it anyway. Hopefully, someday gender won’t matter.

  100. Wow. Lovely booties but . Everything else is just too much. So much crap and people attacking others for their beliefs. Ironic, really.

  101. This is very interesting! I am about to have a new granddaughter in about 3 weeks in fact! my son wanted a boy but then , well its a girl! I know a 1 in 2 chance lol! Anyway saw this darling wee All Blacks (as in NZ rugby) onesee for a NB. Its black with the offical logo and has a cute black tule skirt with silver spots. So have brought it and knittted black “All Black” socks with whilte stripes and a little white jacket trimmed in black and currently working on a Elizabeth Zimmerman heart hat in black and white sized for an infant. I guess tho the skirt will be a give away that it is a girl! So black and white for a girl, a girl born in Australia to! Haha would love to see the expressions when she goes out.

    Love the booties by the way. My son was a beautiful child with copper ringlets much too long and was always been taking for a girl much to his great grandmothers disgust “its a boy!!” Wonder if his girl will be a red head as well.

    Enjoy being a grandmother so special.

    Beverley in NZ

  102. I agree with your statement generally, but personally have found that it’s the parents of the children who get bent out of shape for the first few years.

    A friend if mine got terribly upset that her son was mistaken for a girl because he had long curly ringlets. She took to social media with her offense held high and many were quick to assure her how only an idiot would mistake her child for a girl because he was so clearly a boy.

    Except children are androgynous. That’s why people dress them in blue or pink since it is frowned upon to display their genitals in public.

    My child has little to no hair and I dress her from both sides of the aisle (because I like dragons and dinosaurs which are apparently ‘boy’) when people say how cute my baby is, I smile and thank them. I am not offended, but their embarrassment is large when they feel/realize my dragon baby is a girl. I realize that my baby does not give out clues of her gender and her clothing isn’t a certain indication either.

    The thing that is most ironic is that my friend who was so offended by her son being mistaken for a girl is one of the first in my social network to call out sexism and patriarchy. I’m not even sure if she realized the irony of her response.

  103. I’m from Europe and so maybe our situation is not the same here, but I just don’t understand the sense behind the whole gender ideology. I mean, of course it was a very bad thing that girls were treated as less worth than boys, but do you have to draw the conclusions that there mustn’t be any differences at all between girls and boys? Biologists have made studies that show that these differences exist and that it’s more than just some outer body parts. So why can’t we just say “yes, girls and boys are different, but of course that doesn’t mean girls are worth less than boys or boys are worth less than girls?”.
    Why should everybody be the same? How boring…

    • Exactly. Because what really lies behind “male and female are just the same” is “the male is normative.” Even for feminists. Especially for feminists.

      When the distinctly feminine is valued, not as the secondary method of being human, but simply as human, that will be equality. Insisting that there is no such thing as “feminine” or “masculine” works against that equality.

      • Yes, but the problem is that the annulment of the differences between “feminine” and “masculine” is actually at the core of the gender-ideology. That girls shouldn’t just wear pink and boys blue is a consequence of the thinking that lies behind it… And when you go to the roots of the gender-ideology, it just doesn’t make sense, I’m afraid. In my opinion, far better than to follow such an ideology is that women show appreciation for men and men for women. Let’s value our differences!

  104. My first ever comment, despite reading every post you write. I agree. 100%. 1. I think rainbow socks are about as unisex as you can get, 2. it just doesn’t matter.

  105. Thank you. It is so often the little things that are easy to dismiss as insignificant that are actually telling of the underlying assumptions and attitudes that lead to the bigger issues.

  106. I don’t usually reply, but I had to add something here. 🙂 I have a pigeon pair, my oldest is a boy and because he had beautiful long eyelashes as a baby people thought he was a girl. My little was a wee bit bald, and everyone always thought that meant she was a boy. Go figure.

    But neither got raised to be boyish or girly, so my son had dollies because his Batcave didn’t have enough people. And my daughter, by her own (4-year-old) description is a “Pirate-Princess-Zombie-Fairie” that runs around with a Hedgehog that is called Monkey and in general being happy.

    The world needs more rainbow booties…wish I had thought of making some while I was pregnant. But, then, pregnancy brain probably would have flubbed it. 😀

    Congratulations on the wee addition to your family. 🙂

  107. Firstly can I say I love the booties and the matchiness thereof. Rainbow is my favourite colour for small people.
    Secondly I am fascinated by how many of the supportive comments are along the lines of ‘when my son was little he wore pink/ had a doll/wore a dress AND HE TURNED OUT ALL RIGHT’ – which is kind of not the point.
    Just chucking it out there!

    • As one of those commentors, the point I was going for was, if they are not axe murderers, how could they not be all right? And that ‘gender norms’ other than in the strictly medical sense are irrelevant. Babies hatch as individual little people; what they wear is not what they are, and does not determine what they will be. I meant it more in the “true, true and unrelated” category. 🙂


    Thank you for saying this. I dressed my daughter in blue a lot when she was an infant because I like the color and she looked good in it (she still had steel blue eyes at that stage). Everyone assumed she was a boy. Why does the color a baby wear have to signal a gender? And why is gender so darn important? I think if we treated all people the same — with kindness, empathy, and understanding — it wouldn’t matter what a baby wears.

  109. I applaud you making rainbow booties for your grandson. I dressed my son in all sorts of rainbows, orange pants, red shoes etc. I just thought he deserved all the colors as he was the light of my life. Colors shouldn’t be separated as boy and girl. Colors are for everyone.

  110. You DO understand exactly what it going on here. Bless you for it. I dressed my oldest (now 34) in a pink and brown onesie because it was a hand me down from a good friend who happened to have a girl about 6 months before I had my son. You ROCK – don’t stop. I can’t bring myself to comment on the state of our politics (so I won’t). Oh and you are going to be one Hell of a Grandmother. Hugs!

  111. You have a more important point here, but I can assure that lady rainbow booties won’t matter. His hair will determine the gender ascribed to him in infancy. My two daughters have had wispy hair until about two, and in anything short of a ruffled dress have been referred to as “he” more often than not. My nephew had luxurious curls, and was often referred to as “she” while wearing a blue shirt and overalls. As it’s only a matter of pronouns, neither my brother-in-law (the at home parent) nor I care to do more than wave off the resulting embarrassment if further conversation makes the mistake evident, but I wonder about this a lot. How is it people routinely assume gender based on hair?

    Also, why would rainbows be girly? Is it that bright colors are girly? How sad that would be.

    • I agree. It’s all about the hair. My girl had very wispy blond hair until she was almost 2 yrs old. I remember taking her to the mall when she was a couple of months old. We had a grey/taupe (neutral coloured) stroller. She was dressed in pink & purple and covered in a pink blanket (1st grandchild on both sides so both grandmothers went a bit overboard). And more than one person complimented me on my handsome boy and asked what his name was. I just said Simon and kept going.

  112. Love the booties, love the rainbow yarn, love the sentiments! Thank you for writing about your feelings on gender perception and not just talking about the knitting (though we love that too). When I have children, and perhaps grandchildren, they will wear whatever they want and they will grow up to be whoever they are.

  113. This is a sad commentary about us ( people) as a society. I work in a hospital and get called to the nursery almost daily. Yes I look at the card. Is the ID card pink or blue. This is how life begins. I go into the rooms and the color of the flowers sent tell the story, pink or blue. The outfits the baby leaves the hospital in, is of course pink or blue. I just turned 61 years old and do not think that I will ever see a society of people that will embrace gender neutral colors for babies. That being said, there are children born with ambiguous genitalia. Imagine the heart ache of the families that do not know if their child is a boy or a girl. How do you raise a child with this genetic disorder? How do you figure out how to give them the opportunity to choose the gender that they feel comfortable in. So I am sorry for the lady on the subway. But she is just representing most of society in general. AND it starts at birth with pink and blue cards. Rainbow booties and rainbow bear are a fabulous was to change the way people think, one little person at a time. Hugs!

  114. So much love! I’m having word combining problems this morning, but this speaks exactly to the kind of “low level” sexism that people experience and perpetuate every day. Thank you for sharing this.

  115. And as a mother who made rainbow legwarmers for her newborn son — HEAR, HEAR! And thank you for saying this. I can’t believe it even still needs to be said, but yet here we are.

  116. Absolutely no need to be apologetic!! And thank you for so eloquently stating was many of us feel–be who you are; wear what you want. Gender shouldn’t matter in terms of clothing choices—or preferences for anything else for that matter.

  117. Don’t apologize for that post! Pussy hats have been knitted and sent.
    Casting on for a rainbow booties now.
    Good thing it wasn’t me because the Irish sarcasm would have slipped out of my mouth…something along the lines of just wanted him to know from birth that it is ok if he’s gay.

  118. Maybe she was color blind, and thought they were pink? (I’m trying to be kind, which I’m often not, at least in my head.)

    And I love the booties, which are a great color to be passed on to a younger sibling, or cousin, or another grandchild or great-grandchild, regardless of gender.

    And have you seen this cartoon? http://lunaticoutpost.com/thread-727214.html

    And that thing below that wants me to prove I’m a human doesn’t know the difference between a music note and a clef, but I do.

  119. Dear Steph,
    I too make baby booties to sell at our local toy shop. As much as I try to stay away from “traditional” colours for each sex, I was surprise how deeply rooted the desire for these colours was. Like yours, mine are funky, bright and fun. I try to make them as gender neutral as possible but still the requests come in for ones like Grandma makes ( growl!) So in the end, I will make some custom made ones if customers request but never in pastels, I won’t stoop that far. 🙂
    With much love,

  120. All I could think of when I saw the booties was “how wonderful when the baby discovers feet there will be rainbows dancing in front of his eyes!”

  121. Dear Steph,

    Do not ever apologize, not matter what cranky people in the comments say.
    (Unless you accidentally hurt somebody. But I think that goes without saying.)

    Stay gold.

  122. Sing it sister! Despite the rudeness of that woman, you cracked me up saying “and girls have to wear girl clothes (and live with the fact that there are no goddamn pockets in the garb of the latter)”. This is so true and I bitch about it to my husband every time he buys a new coat and he has multiple cool pockets! Kaaaahhhhnnnn!!

  123. I love the rainbow bootees! I am currently knitting rainbow socks for my husband who is definitely male.
    He also wears pink shirts – as do all my sons and grandsons. So What? Rainbows are for everyone.
    Re the American politics – keep on talking about that – it all sounds pretty horrific from the UK.

  124. Perfect. Why can’t more people think like us? 😉

    They are lovely – and may he always have and wear whatever colors he wants! Cheers!

  125. As an American who’s terrified for the future and for my daughter’s future, thank you. Every little bit of support helps right now.

  126. Thank you Ms. Pearl-McPhee, (we’ve only just met and it seems diarespectful to use your given name). I appreciate that you handled the conversation with your fellow traveller with grace and dignity. I am also a ponderer and often learn important lessons from conversations that, at first glance, seem insignificant. Thank you for sharing the insights you gained, it caused me to ponder further and recognize a small prejudice I have but didn’t realize. More introspection to come as I root out this flaw.

    Thank you for being thoughtful and encouraging your readers to think as well.

    • These sorts of things are quite insidious. They hide and pop out when you least expect them and didn’t even know they were there. Thank you for being a person who is willing to examine these bits of baggage and make changes accordingly.
      Happy knitting, too!

  127. There are already over 300 comments, and this is too complicated a discussion to have in a forum like this, but it has to be said: No, it is not sexist to think the sexes are not identical. It is sexist to insist that they are.

    • I love this comment, Pat! Maybe that’s what I’ve been trying to say. I hate the idea of women not being able to do anything a man can do just because of her gender (since we can often times do it better), but you know what? I’m proud of being a woman, and a big believer of “if you’ve got it, flaunt it,” for both sexes. Why can’t we love our differences as well as our similarities?

    • I agree…I dislike this post for soooo many reasons..I disagree with The Yarn Harlot on this subject which is of course, not really about knitting and yarn..the sexes are different in so many ways

    • I think that is missing the point here. While your gender is an identifying feature, the point is that you shouldn’t make assumptions about ability based on that feature. And people do. Constantly. You don’t have to go very far to find studies showing that a resume with the exact same qualifications (word for word identical) is better received if the name at the top is male rather than female. Fighting against sexism isn’t about erasing the male or female identification (I’m female, just like I’m tall – it is an accurate descriptor), but about using gender as the sole measure of a person’s worth or skill. Obviously there are differences between the sexes. I imagine we will have a very hard time getting my husband pregnant, for example, but sexism is carrying that identifier too far. Saying that sexes should be treated equally and saying they are identical is not the same thing at all.

      • I couldn’t agree more! Of course we’re different; biologically, it’s a no-brainer. The issue is clearly that of equity, i.e., respect for others without rating respective differences as better/worse, more/less valuable, etc. Which is the point I think Stephanie was making. Having a son and having dealt with strangers’ discomfort at not knowing his gender as a baby, I get it: the responses are gender-specific. And that is how it starts!

        • And in my opinion it’s ok if the responses are gender-specific! Why not? That they are gender-specific doesn’t mean that girls are rated less valuable!

          • It certainly does mean that girls are less valuable when it’s ok if a girl is accidentally assumed to be a boy, but if a boy is assumed to be a girl, OH THE HORROR!! then there is a calamity. And that was what happened on the subway. You don’t want him assumed to be a GIRL do you!?!?! Like it’s the worst thing that could happen.

  128. I don’t get it. How are rainbows girly? I make rainbow baby stuff when I am TRYING to be gender neutral. Every color is represented, so rainbows are by their nature cover everyone. Both my boys love rainbows colored things. And camo, because they are both half redneck (on their father’s side), and love guns and hunting.

  129. Those aren’t girly, anyway, they are glorious and colourful, and pretty much Canadian in Winter! (Quite apart from the whole gender thing.)

  130. I hear what you’re saying and agree with you in general. I’ll admit though, when I have a son, he won’t be wearing pink unless he specifically requests it. 🙂 Rainbow booties are a silly thing to get specific about though, I think.

    Of course, as a little girl, I hated pink too.

  131. Speak up and speak out! I love it. It is hard when strangers do this, and harder when your family does it! My dad stated something along the lines of “pink? isn’t that a girl color?” to my three-year-old nephew, prompting me to have to say “don’t be silly, grandpa! Pink is for everyone!” Call it a factor of their (and not current) times, but how can you not catch on these days? grrr.

  132. What escapes many people who have strong political feelings is that the issue that is vital to you and how you vote may not be the issue that rules my vote. That is a democracy, the right to choose. I won’t be bullied.

    • No one is trying to bully you. People are expressing their own opinions, and if they contradict yours, that is not bullying. That is disagreeing, which everyone is allowed to do. Just as you are disagreeing with people with your post.

  133. What a simple yet powerful act you’re doing with those bootees. When I was little, I was given a book called “X: A Fabulous Child’s Story” by my mom. Published in 1978 it’s out of print now, but if you Google it, you can at least find the text online. It’s about an experiment to raise a child without influencing their opinion on gender stereotypes, and how this is perceived by others in the community, and it’s just wonderful. Sure, it’s through a 1978 lens, but it was definitely ahead of its time. I encourage you to look up the text online (because the prices for the book used are astronomical), you might enjoy it. And if you’re wondering, I still have and cherish this book. 🙂

  134. I agree with your sentiments about your lovely booties and your soon to be sweet little grandson; however, WHY on God’s green earth did you have to bring American politics into it? I’m a little baffled by it.

  135. You got a lot of comments on this one! All I’ll say is this: my grandson (5) asked me to make some mittens for him, and he saw some yarn in my stash that was very rainbow, with a lot of pink, and he wanted that yarn. I knew if I made them out of that, his mother would never let him wear them, so I took him to the store and let him pick out some other yarn (I told him the other yarn wouldn’t work for the mittens.) It makes me sad…but he’s happy with them, and doesn’t know the difference.

  136. I wouldn’t have thought rainbow had any baby gender connotation, but then sadly I also thought early on that Trump running was a big ol’ joke and a guaranteed win for whoever the opposing candidate turned out to be. Normally I’m not overly concerned about being proved wrong in life, but I’ve been simply poleaxed that I was so far off in this case, underestimating both him and especially the number of supporters he rallied. The vast amount of divisiveness and hate happening in our country makes me very, very sad (and unlike the Canadians we, as Americans, generally suck at disagreeing in public with dignity, humanity, and respect). So thank you for this post and thank you for inviting us all into your living room where, for the most part, the comments are thoughtful and people can agree or disagree without being hateful about it. I think that gets us all a little further along.

    On a side note, I do marvel a bit at the irony of the posts that utilize “my little boy wore pink and he turned out alright” as evidence in the fight against sexism.

    Love you, Steph, and please keep using that beautiful voice of yours to shine a light on all the things.

  137. Sent my pussyhat contributions and a letter indexing some specifics of why this movement took hold in the 60’s, the progress (such as it is) and witnessing from my personal experience how much worse it was than is often described. Knowledge is power and women’s rights are human rights. Thank you for saying it out loud and helping to drown out those messages.

  138. Regardless of the woman’s intentions, I’m glad that your grandson will grow up in a family that will love him no matter what he likes to wear or who he loves.

    Also those booties are adorable!

  139. No need to apologize! When I tell people I am rather addicted to a particular “knitting blog”, I’m sure they think it is all about yarn, needles, and patterns, and while that would probably be enough for me, we all know that this blog is about much more than that. I love that this blog (we, The Blog) is about big issues at least some of the time. Knitting is how we deal with times when we don’t want to think about what’s going on in the world, and it is also what we do when we need to think about what’s going on in the world. It’s a time to contemplate and be alone with our thoughts, and sometimes, an excuse to get together with others with whom we feel comfortable discussing those thoughts and issues. That’s not all knitting is about, of course, but it is all connected, and I’m glad you connect it for me and share your thoughts with me. Thank you. BTW, the booties are perfect.

  140. One last thing, as many comments as have been generated here, we’re still not even close to the numbers generated in The Great Lace Debate.

  141. I had the same type of thing happen to me when my son was little. He was running around the front yard in his Teenage mutant ninja turtle costume in Spring. One of my neighbors came out and yelled us “it is not Halloween, don’t you think he should stop wearing his costume”. All the while, her daughter is standing behind her in a princess dress. Apparently it is ok for girls to place dress up but not boys.

    I never responded to her and he still goes out playing in different things depending on what he is playing.

    some people just need to think before they speak.

    • That is a strange way of thinking. Kids are young for such a short while, why not let both genders have fun playing pretend.
      My middle child loved his Sonic the Hedgehog Halloween costume so much, he wore it off and on for weeks, zooming around the house. It was hilarious and gave us all wonderful memories. And we really got our money’s worth out of that costume!

  142. This is something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately. I’m due with my first child (a girl) in a few months, and already there are times when I feel overwhelmed with the weight of other people’s expectations of her. Why should anyone care whether she ends up liking pink? Or whether she would rather do martial arts than dance? Or whether she is an artist or an engineer or a lawyer? As long as she becomes a good, thoughtful person who is kind to others, why should any of these things matter? I hate the implication that if she doesn’t do certain things, she is less of a girl (and therefore less of a person) than if she did. Why do we tie so many things to gender that shouldn’t have anything to do with gender?

    I have no answers. I just wanted to say, Steph, that I share your frustrations. I want the world to be one where your grandson can love ballet and dolls and my daughter can love dinosaurs and heavy machinery (if that’s what they’re into), and no one thinks any less of either of them for it. And where they can wear whatever colors they want.

  143. I love this post. I’m expecting my first child in 2 weeks, a little girl, and I worry so much about her future in this society. It’s amazing how hard people try to classify her already. Over the weekend I was at Vogue Knitting in NYC and grabbed some yarn to make a sweater for next winter for my baby. I told the lovely woman selling it that the yarn was for my baby and she immediately responded, “oh! it’s a boy!,” because I was holding some lovely teal blue yarn. Sigh.

    Likewise, I tried to register for clothes of all colors and found myself at my baby shower covered in pink. I’m grateful for the gifts people gave me, but it was astonishing to me how everyone seemed to agree that she needs to have all of these pink frilly outfits. And upon commenting on that to a male co-worker, he noted, “well I mean it’s important because in the beginning, no one can tell what the baby is.” My DH and I had the same reaction to that statement, “who cares what gender other people think our child is?” It doesn’t matter one iota.

  144. I think I need to cast on some rainbow booties right this minute and take them out to knit in public! You hit everything on the nailhead. Thank you.

  145. This post makes me both hopeful and heartbroken. Hopeful as a woman working in a male dominated field (science) that we are moving towards a day when gender doesn’t instantly put you into different categories and determine how much value people do (or don’t) place in your skills. Thank you for standing up for that in some small way. Heartbroken because I live in a country where outright lies are spouted like they are truth, while actual facts are ignored when they rankle someone’s sense of how the world is. I know it is unfair to lay all of the blame for that at the feet of Mr. Trump (never president for me…never), but he and his campaign of lies and mis-truths have made it so, so much worse. He represents the worst parts of our country, and it hurts my heart that he is the face of America. But I take hope in the voices that rise against him and his litany of hatred and outright lies. And I hope that those of you watching from the outside know that the vast majority of Americans did not want that man and will continue to stand against him.

  146. Oh, my dear, never apologize for telling important truths! Your bootees are wonderful! Besides, babies respond best to bright colors and high contrast. Your future grandson will gurgle with glee when his oh-so-beautiful mommy puts them on him. I can only think your traveling companion was perhaps of a different generation?

  147. Beautiful post. Thank you! I’ve been having somewhat of a similar discussion with my mom for the last few years but have never been able to articulate myself as well as you have.

  148. Thank you Steph! I couldn’t agree more!! My little boy loves the color purple. It’s nigh onto impossible to find purple things for boys. Does he have some “girl” stuff, absolutely, including a pair of shoes that he loves. It doesn’t matter to him nor should it matter to anyone else. Because he loves purple, I knit him a hat in purple, which he loves. However, now he wants me to knit one in a rainbow because he loves rainbows too. Is he going to get a rainbow hat, even with all it’s connotations, absolutely!! I love that my son loves rainbows and I think it’s totally fine for him to wear a rainbow and I love that it is a show of support for many people who are also marginalized and discriminated against. He also wants a rainbow sweater so I guess I have some colorful knitting to do! 🙂 And they’ll be great hand-me-downs for my younger daughter, love it!

  149. What you said, lol. And besides, baby boys deserve beautiful things, too. Why not sweet, whimsical floral quilts and soft fluffy jackets and bright colourful booties for boys and girls equally? They’re babies, lady in the subway…babies.

  150. I love this post. I struggle with my three little ones and how they are regularly confused for the opposite gender (which I don’t care about at all). The idea that there are ‘boy clothes’ and ‘girl clothes’ etc. bothers me and I had an awkward conversation of the same nature at a dinner party just last weekend. All you can do (as a Canadian I suppose) is politely disagree.

  151. Those are adorable booties. And the lady was right. He won’t like being taken for a girl. It will be important to him that people know who and what he is. It’s I
    Portent to all of that people get us right and whether we’re boys or girls is a big piece of that. That’s why Megan and Alex and his wonderful wise Nana will teach him, when anyone is confused or mistaken, to politely set them straight

    • Just my opinion! It matters whether it’s a girl or a boy not because one is worth more than the other, but because that’s an important part of the childs identity.

  152. Brava!! I’m printing this, PDFing it, delivering it and sending this post everywhere I can. We need to speak up as often as possible.

  153. BRAVO!!! if we don’t continue to talk about it, we can’t ever change the discussion, and if we can’t change the discussion, we can’t change the world. and it needs to change. yes, men and women (or girls and boys) are different. that’s a truth we can’t escape. but we should not be discriminating. all babies are lovely, and deserve to be told such.

  154. Standing ovation here in U.K., everyone has a right to an opinion! A basic human right to an opinion and to express it. No one has the righ to abuse women and not only get away with it but boast about it. Trump is a shining symbol of all that is wrong with the world, I understand some people voted for ‘ a change from the norm’ but they voted in a mysoganist, racist, ignorant child. And I have the right to that opinion

  155. Thank you for this. Some 35 years ago I was sitting in Emergency with my 3 children. One of whom had done a face plant off her bicycle. Her face was a mess and we were waiting for stitches. An older woman came over to me and told me that I should be ashamed of myself for dressing my little four year old girl (not the injured one) like a boy. She was wearing a hand me down t-shirt from her brother and a pair of coveralls. I was speechless both from the situation and a woman thinking it was any of her business. So little has changed. I think there is even more pressure now for girls to be girls and boys to be boys. And it is worth fighting for that to change. Let children be what they are meant to be and accept each other as we are. And bully on those people who want to shut you down. You be who you’re meant to be even if that is a knitter who speaks her mind.

  156. My 13 year-old has fairly long hair, beautiful blue as and eyelashes to die for. He gets mis-gendered often and is on a crusade of gender equality. His response to subway lady would have been “Did you just assume his gender? Why is it important?”

  157. As the mom of a transgender child, I just want to say YES and thank you!!! Why does it matter what color your baby wears? Gender reveal parties make me giggle now. I silently watch them and think, “sure… reveal that you’re having a girl, until 15 years from now that child comes to you and says they’re a boy, or non-binary, or whatever! Why must be celebrate gender when it’s something that divides??? Okay, you got off your soapbox so I’ll get off mine. Just know I am so grateful for your words and actions!!! <3

  158. Stephanie this is my first comment on your blog and it comes all the way from Scotland . Love those bootees my expected little nephew is going to get a pair . However the real reason for this post is to compliment you on your beautiful manners , it would have been easy to give the sexist lady a telling off and to respond in kind to the extremely intemperate and incendiary political comments which were designed to provoke .
    We were never allowed gender specific toys mum and dad considered that they limit people’s potential . . Ps what wool were the bootees in I must buy some

  159. Hi Steph,
    Thank you so much for this post. I don’t understand the gendering of baby clothes, at all. I was upset by the people who gave me baby football jerseys when my son was born- I hate football, my husband hates football, no one in my immediate family ever watches football, but he was a boy, so…football. To me, that was making just as sexist an assumption about the kind of masculinity we would want him to value and enact. Lots of people thought he was a girl when he was a baby, no matter what he was wearing, and it didn’t matter in the least little bit. Babies just look like babies.
    The booties are beautiful, and you are going to be an amazing grandma to a lucky little boy.

  160. Having just sent off the last of the pussyhats made for my family who will be marching on Washington on Sunday, this post is perfect for this exact time (and this exact me).
    I come from a family of strong women and my daughter is the first girl in her generation. I shudder to think of the first presidential memories she could have. I pray we only have four years of Trump or Pence to worry about.
    Keep strong ladies. I need to cast on a hug now.

  161. I’m of two minds on this — no, there is nothing wrong with being “taken” for one or the other gender. I have spent most of my life in a struggle against it.

    But at the same time, you have to name the problem and stare it in the face before you can topple it. “As long as he’s not taken for a girl” could very easily have meant, “As long as he’s not taken for a girl and gets his ass kicked in school because of it.” It’s not the taken for a girl part that’s the problem. It’s the ass-kicking that’s the problem — and it’s not bad or wrong to name it. In face, naming it is necessary in order to fix the problem. You can’t fix problems by just walking around in a daze insisting that they shouldn’t exist.

    And yes, I’ve been called out on that by well-meaning people who seem to think that this is how it works. No, I shouldn’t have to worry about walking to my car alone at night. But at the same time, you’re damned straight I’m going to park under a streetlight. I don’t consider myself a victim, but I don’t want to get taken for a victim by someone else who doesn’t think the way I do.

  162. ABSOLUTELY! Thank you for another beautifully stated reflection. a couple years ago, I made rainbow booties for a new infant boy and rainbow socks for his 3-year-old big-brother. They became family favorites.

    I pray that we are at the beginning on a cultural shift to recognize broader, more flexible, less defined gender roles and attitudes. Until then, all the little girls in the world will be better off if more of the little boys grow up wearing rainbow booties and whatever cheerful color makes them happy and kind.

  163. Oh and I made a rainbowy jacket for my youngest when he was a newborn. Fortunately the only comment i got was from the nurse who pricked his heel for a blood test. She was a knitter and correctly guessed that it was Zauberball yarn (I was impressed). A couple of years later the leftovers were made into a hat that both boys have been wearing (and loving).

  164. I’m staying out of the politics (as much as for my own sanity as anything else) and just saying that those are the most awesome booties I have ever seen!

  165. Oh Stephanie, please tell me that you are not one of those hypocrites who practices selective outrage. Please tell me you were equally outraged and vocal when democrat president Bill Clinton didn’t just talk about grabbing woman’s genitals, but actually DID grab female genitals, and not just one but an entire list – Monica Lewinsky, Juanita Broaddrick, Paula Jones, Jennifer Flowers, Bobbie Ann Williams, the under-aged girls on Pedophile Island, to name only a few documented outrages. Maybe if outrage had been expressed in Bill Clinton’s day, we wouldn’t be where we are today.

    • Weren’t you THERE? There was! He was nearly impeached because of it! Didn’t you see the televised hearings?

      I’m a registered and devoted Democrat, and I will tell you that there was PLENTY of outrage.

      I also was just as disgusted and outraged at Anthony Wiener, and so were plenty others, trust me.

    • To be clear – if you believe that Clinton did all he was accused of (I’m not saying I don’t), then you should also believe that Trump has done all HE is accused of…and his list is MUCH longer. I’m so tired of hearing about how Trump just “talked” about it. He didn’t just talk…he bragged, after DOING. And there are dozens of women standing up to corroborate his bragging.

  166. Been enjoying your blog going on five years. Enjoyed your talk and “grok the sock” class in Dec. 2013 when you visited us in Chapel Hill, NC. Read and own all of your books. Please keep being you, with no apologies!

    I am so looking forward to posts about your grandchild(ren) as they come along, and any color of knitting you feel like making for them, too!

    As for American politics, I live here and I don’t get it either, but I am very concerned about it all. I hope to see love win over hate, compassion and humanity win too. But it’s a struggle we all need to keep paying attention to. Cheers! And thanks for your wonderful blog!

  167. We didn’t find out what we were having for any of our kids, as a result all of the the baby clothes were had for when our first was new were pretty neutral. Everyone assumed he was a boy 100% of a time, with one exception: when he wore the blue outfit his grandmother got him so he’d have something blue. When he wore that 100% of people guessed girl. People are odd.

  168. Exactly this. Oh NO, we wouldn’t want anyone thinking your grandson was a GIRL, how terrible. FYI, being a girl rocks… random, subway lady, rein it in.

    As to that terrible thing that will happen here on Friday, I honestly just feel like making the entire rest of the world a batch of brownies and writing a deep felt and sincere note of apology. Hopefully our other populist tradition of protest and civil disobedience will keep him in check, but I am spending a lot of time in Mexico these days. Where, by the way, my Mexican friends are the soul of graciousness, as always. Humiliating.

    And I have enormous respect for someone who yes, obviously likes blogging, but also has a blog as part of her public persona, has it directly affect her means of making a living, and says whatever in the hell she wants to say anyway. Good job, you. Keep the Faith! We’re not all crazy.

  169. My MOTHER has a very serious issue with “pink for girls only. While she has no problem with “blue” for girls, it is the NO “pink” for boys that throws me. I just think “as-colorful-as-I-can-make” (whatever I’m making) is better for babies for the stimulation needed for their brains!

    • MY mother was weirded out that I bought a Bronco jersey onesie (my favorite football team) for my sister when she was expecting. My sister chose to not learn the baby’s sex ahead of time and my mom just couldn’t fathom a football jersey as a unisex item of clothing. The thing is, she considers herself a feminist, but no amount of discussion changed her mind.

  170. I love this. You’ve articulated how I’ve felt about this issue for a long time, far better than I could have done. I will be saving this piece to refer back to in the not too distant future when I plan on having kids so I can explain such things as why I don’t intend to find out the sex of the baby before birth (they’ll have the rest of their life surrounded by people trying to tell them what box they should fit into based on their plumbing, I’d like to forestall it just a bit if I can).

  171. Cracking up over this post. My 7-year-old grandson has great, shoulder-length hair. He decided at quite a young age that his favorite superhero is Thor, and as a blonde himself he wanted to go for the look. At age 7 his face is still quite gender-neutral, and he gets “taken for a girl” from time to time. He thinks it’s funny, and he thinks the people who do it are stupid. And he wears rainbow knitwear gladly.

  172. I love you so much for this post, Harlot. And I tried not to read the comments when they started getting political… thanks to my fellow knitters down here in the US. (Forgive us, please – we are just so confused and divided right now, and some are beside ourselves with worry, and all of us don’t know what to expect.) But that doesn’t take away from what you said and the beauty of those rainbow booties. Thank you!!

  173. Fantastic! You certainly know how to sum it all up. Congrats again on the baby to be! You’re going to be an awesome grandma!

  174. When my son was about 2 and hadn’t yet had a haircut and carried around a doll, I got very tired of people saying, “What a sweet little girl you have.” Then explaining he was a boy and getting ‘the look’. Now that was 45 years ago, but still……. Eventually I cut his hair shorter, not short but enough to not have it look girlish. I did not take away his doll. He loved that doll.

    I also remember reading about a study where they randomly put pink or blue hats on babies and then watched what people said and did when they were picked up. Inevitably the pink hatted babies were cooed at and cuddled and treated gently. The blue hatted babies were jostled and talked to differently. Interesting study. Glad to see those rainbow booties, which IMHO, look very gender neutral to moi.
    Actually I was expecting that woman to ask if the baby was gay. LOL

  175. Maybe it’s a generational thing…I mean, I’m “kinda” old (50) and wouldn’t think twice about putting those adorable bootees on a boy or girl. They are everything clothing for a baby should be- cute, cheerful and made with lots of love

  176. I’ll be wearing a rainbow Pride pussyhat in DC on Saturday and bringing ~50 other pink and rainbow hats to share with other protesters. My daughter will march alongside me, wearing a pink pussyhat and carrying a rainbow flag. We’ll both wear our protest banners on our backs, as superhero capes. Thanks for always defending equal rights and raising strong, capable humans of the next generations.

    • p.s. I wouldn’t have thought twice about the rainbow aspect of those adorable booties, but I’d be impressed as heck by the matchiness. Well done, with love!

  177. I’ve always loved how this quote shows us how much gender is a social construct… still biased, but social construct.
    A Ladies’ Home Journal article in June 1918 said, “The generally accepted rule is pink for the boys, and blue for the girls. The reason is that pink, being a more decided and stronger color, is more suitable for the boy, while blue, which is more delicate and dainty, is prettier for the girl.”


  178. I love you, Steph, and your post was spot on! I think that rainbow socks may well be my next project, after I finish the pussy hat I will be wearing this weekend. (I will be marching as a member of an ethnic group long discriminated against for our religion, as the granddaughter of immigrants, the mother of daughters, the mother-in-law of immigrants, and a woman who has been on the receiving end of sexual harrassment and unwanted sexual attention).

  179. The boy I used to babysit is now 16. He has a deep basso profundo voice (I remember when he sang Rolf in the middle school production of The Sound of Music, and he had the sweetest soprano). When he was four, his favourite colours were “purple, and pink, and rainbow with sparkles.”

    I still like thinking about that

  180. Love the booties, love the post, and love you Stephanie. I so appreciate your blog for your knitting and humor of course, but also for your thoughts in general.
    Thank you for hanging in there with it, and for sharing all that you do.

  181. Perfect shoes for a great grandchild. He’s lucky to be getting a wonderful family who will love and support the person he finds himself to be!

  182. Minutes before my grandmother’s funeral, a distant cousin referred to my rainbow-haired teenaged son as a f-gg-t. My son was about to play a piano piece in front of a church full of people in honour of his beloved great-grandma. I am so grateful my son didn’t hear the comment, and my reply to this cousin was, “It’s just hair. What you think it says about him is your own problem, not his.” Then I turned away and willed myself not to cry. I’ve been asked regularly why I “allow” my son to have dyed hair. What I allow my son to do is express his individuality in ways that suit him, as long as those ways are respectful of other people, and, because he’s still a minor, not permanent. Some people (especially men) seem to really be upset and angry that his hair may mean he’s gender non-conforming and/or gay, and don’t understand why this doesn’t bother me. It doesn’t bother me because my son’s worth is not in his perceived manliness, but in his character. And he really is a wonderful, kind, creative character of whom I’m immensely proud.

  183. Steph- thank you for being the awesome, amazing person that you are. You and others like you restore my faith in humanity. In these uncertain times, the world needs more rainbows.
    (P.S. I had to click or touch the “woman” for this post.)

  184. I have not left a comment in years in spite of being a reader since 2004, or was it 2005…
    This post was the best I have ever read on the issue of gendered colors. You stated your thoughts so succinctly and gently. Thank you.
    We all await with anticipation the birth of your grand baby and hopefully more inspired posts.

  185. Ah, it’s like the good old days. Food fight!

    I wouldn’t touch this one with a barge pole. Nobody’s listening, anyway. Just hoping to ride out the nightmare, ridiculing all the way.

  186. Quite. And no apologies needed. They’re awesome booties, and there’s no colours that should be offlimits to anyone let alone babies. And for what it’s worth, if you have a little boy after two big sisters who are their grandparents only grandchildren you’re favourite colour will be pink and you will have flowers and bows on your vests when you’re two!

  187. Which is why it drove me mad when my pregnant ladies needed a sonogram to tell them what to get for the baby. Do we really need to start gender stereotyping at 16 weeks gestation? My brother who followed four sisters had a head-banging snit when Dad took three year old bro to the store to get big boy shoes…and offered him brown lace-ups rather than red patent leather Mary Jane’s. To his credit, Dad brought bro home and let him wear hand me down red patent leather for as long as he wanted.

  188. My dearly departed MIL insisted my son have a baby doll as one of his toys. (This was over 30 yrs ago). When I asked why out of curiosity, she said it will teach him compassion and gentleness. While he didn’t get a baby doll as my then husband hit the roof, he got a rainbow clown whom he adored. Like Linus’ banklet, it was faceless soon from so many kisses and squished into weird shapes as he slept with it. When his sister arrived 29 wks early, 7 yrs later, he couldn’t have been more gentle and sweet with her.
    And yes when she got to playing with toys all toys were fair game, including his. Both wore jeans as it’s the universal ‘get down in the dirt’ clothes

  189. A good and challenging airing of thoughts. I hope people can still listen without doubling down. So many thoughts on .. gender, equality, Trump, and an interaction between two people on a subway. (Isn’t dialogue amazing the places it can go.) But sometimes those interactions just don’t scale. And let’s not forget, that fellow-commuter had an interaction too, and now has food for thought! She engaged and felt free to reveal an honest reaction. Maybe that was the first time she’d encountered someone outside of her way of thinking. That’s how change happens.

  190. As someone who isn’t particularly girly and works as a scientist (male dominated job), I have this to say: unless you work something with your genitals, it’s not a boy or girl anything. It’s a person thing. We’d be better if we remember that.

    • As an HR Director, I told many hiring supervisors that unless their job opening required the use of a penis or a vagina, they couldn’t limit their applicants to males or females. I made an exception for theater dressing room attendants.

  191. Hoo boy the comments! My contribution. Colors for boys and girls did not exist until the late 1800’s. Children of that time were dressed identically until they were 3 or 4. And yet, gender identification was not issue. Clothes do not matter!!! Having successfully raised 2 young men and a young woman, what matters is YOU! The example you set, your expectations are what matter. For the record, my very manly husband can be very caring and sensitive. I have my domineering, ( I say bossy moments). AS for us Yanks, we celebrate a peaceful transfer of power on Friday, but disrespect to over half our population will not be tolerated.

  192. This post and most of the comments made me sad. That woman said what she thought face to face with you. You did not have the courtesy to disagree with her face to face. You were a coward and attacked her on your very popular blog. I don’t think that was very “nice” of you. Even if I agreed with you-I think that you did the wrong thing. What if someone that she knows reads your blog and shows it to her? All of this hatefulness directed at her. That is uncalled for. You should not say things behind a person’s back that you would not say to their face. As long as I agree with Stephanie and most of you I will get an atta girl. Heaven help the ones who write their own opinions. I don’t like the political posts. I should be able to voice my opinion just like you all do. But, I’m sure that I will be attacked. How is that different than what you say you believe? I see more rudeness and hatefulness here than is good for anyone. Ya’ll knit up lots of pink hats for me-just make sure you use American made yarn-ok? Jump on that ole hate wagon! As for me-I send you all blessings not cursings. I don’t need this in my life. Bye-ya’ll!

    • I disagree that Steph did not challenge the issue face-to-face: she simply put a boundary on it in a public place, which seems appropriate enough.

      I noticed this happened a few days ago and now we have the blog about it (which I image has been much thought about in the intervening days) so possibly Steph’s own thoughts were not ready to articulate fully at the time?

      There certainly has been a lot of strong feeling, mostly fairly restrained in the way it has been shared. I have been so aware of love and support reading these rather than hate. I guess one focuses on what is important to oneself. I find myself moved by some of the thoughtful posts and stories here.

      But it is clear you feel very strongly about this, if you are going to boycott the blog because of it: which in an odd way I admire… Your loss, though.

    • If you were to reread Stephanie’s post, you would see that she did ‘have the courtesy to disagree with her face to face’. I see no ‘attacks’ on the woman ‘behind her back’, merely Stephanie’s comments on the status of females in our society. And my disagreement with your comments is not an attack on you, it is simply me disagreeing with you.

  193. Atta girl, Stephanie. Loved (and believed and supported every word! And BTW, the booties are the cutest thing I’ve ever seen. Don’t ever think for a minute that you shouldn’t keep giving out your well thought out opinions.

  194. I am a mom two boys. My youngest (8) wants to be a ninja when he grows up. He is loud and constantly moving and all those stereotypical boy things.

    He also adores the color purple. He would love if everything he owns were purple.

    He also has the most beautiful curly blond hair that he wears rather long. He LOVES his curls.

    I have had “well meaning” people inform me that if I don’t cut his hair and/or forbid him from wearing purple, he might be mistaken for a girl. So what?? He boldly corrects anyone who calls him a girl. Other people’s opinions don’t bother him. I love that he is so fiercely himself.

    If these well meaning people bothered to study history, they would discover that for a large part of human history, men wore clothes that, today, we would describe as dresses. They had long hair, even curls. And purple was a color reserved for royalty and worn with pride.

    I wish for my sons and your grandson, a world in which one’s character is more important than one’s appearance.