I took my kids out for ice cream, the other day. It was a local specialty ice cream stand with homemade waffle cones and “revolutionary” takes on ice cream classics.
And though most ice cream shops’ flavors are usually just variations on a theme, I have to say, this place really did have some unique takes.
I totes fell for it. The “So Beyond S’Mores” really was so beyond mere S’mores.
But our experience occupied me for hours as I over-thought one flavor: “Girl talk.”
“Girl talk” comprised vanilla ice cream dyed pink and mixed with a swirl of chocolate, marshmallows and rainbow sprinkles.
Also? Vanilla dyed pink?
My child ordered it. Because of course she did.
My non-binary child who self-identifies with she/her pronouns has calmed her knee-jerk fetish for all things sparkly and Pinkalicious. For years we wrung our hands thinking we needed to protect her by trying to focus her away from dresses and princesses. We fretted over how other people would judge her which we ultimately realized was fear of judging us. Thankfully, we pulled our heads out of our asses and just let her be her. Then, when we chilled out, she slowed her roll on tutus and dresses. In fact, she barely wears dresses anymore.
Classic parenting lessons: parents stop controlling the kids, the kids stop fighting back.
So she ordered “girl talk” and I turned to the other dad with me and said, “That sounds tasty, but I’m annoyed by the binary nature of that ice cream name.”
So much to unpack about this ice cream. This of course created a spiral of over-thinking for me. Cuz that’s how I roll.
- Can boys have “girl talk”?
- Is it named that just because it’s pink?
- Why must pink ice cream be binary?
- Lots of boys love strawberry.
- Lots of boys love pink.
- Who doesn’t love strawberry ice cream?
- Why do I even care what the ice cream is named?
- Does this matter? Should I say something?
- Am I over-thinking it? Isn’t it just fun and should be enjoyed?
- Etc, etc, etc.
I didn’t know whether to roll my eyes at myself or the name.
The fact is, many, many girls do love pink – whether society tells them to love pink or it is in their nature, I don’t entirely know. I’m sure it’s a combination. And who knows how many boys would love pink if society didn’t steer them away from it – regardless of the level of testosterone in their DNA.
But the “girl talk” ice cream is I’m certain a huge seller among the feminine set.
Is this chicken or egg?
But wait, NO! By “girl talk” it’s implying that girls, well…talk differently, right? And conjures up the notion of giggling in corners and gossiping and talking about pink tutus and ruffles. And that’s a negative connotation.
But wait, girls really do communicate differently than boys, and even though it’s stigmatized and named dismissively as “girl talk”, at the same time we all know women are much healthier communicators than men and consequently have stronger relationships, bonds and metal health precisely because of what we label “girl talk”. (I’m not even going to cite that. It’s a fact.)
Maybe we should lean into this. Force the boys to eat more “girl talk” to foster stronger communication and friendship bonds.
Plus – it’s pink. And pink is a happy color, isn’t it? A lovely color conjuring sweet flavors of ice cream on a hot summer day?
Ugh. I exhaust myself. But seriously: can we move past binary gender?
P.S. While composing this piece, I asked my kiddo to remind me what was in the ice cream. After listing off the ingredients without hesitation, she added “I don’t like that they dyed it pink assuming all girls love pink. Because that’s not always true.”